Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin has moved $1.3 billion worth of ether, almost all of his holdings, from his main public address to a separate wallet.
Buterin disclosed his main ether address in October 2018, and until approximately six hours ago, the wallet held more than 320,000 ether, the blockchain’s native cryptocurrency. Then, at 1:18 PM EST the ethereum inventor transferred 325,001 ether to a separate contract address created approximately 21 hours ago, leaving some $10,000 worth of ETH in his main wallet.
The transaction, which has been overlooked thanks in part to news Buterin donated more than $1 billion worth of a different cryptocurrency to India Covid Relief Fund, appears to be the largest transfer of his ether holdings to date. Right before the transfer, Ethereum’s figurehead also sent 5,000 ether worth $20.5 million to the same address.
That said, while a blockchain can show how money moves, it doesn’t tell you why.
According to Nicholas Gans, director of research and development at Inca Digital, a crypto data and intelligence provider based in Washington, D.C., the new address is “generated via gnosis safe, a platform which allows one to manage assets on the Ethereum blockchain and enables multi-sig transactions.” Other benefits include potential privacy improvement and security, as the contract is formally verified, says Gans.
Vice president of digital asset strategy at New York-based Fundstrat Global Advisors, Leeor Shimron, also confirmed that Buterin moved the vast majority of the ether in his main wallet. This happened several minutes prior to moving a number of little-known cryptocurrencies that were given to him, which were subsequently sold off. Shimron says the purpose of the movement is unclear and could be to increase security or merely upgrade the coin setup.
Additionally, this transfer is not being seen as a bearish move or signal that Buterin is stepping away from Ethereum by cashing out. “I do not expect he has the intention of selling his Ether,” says Shimron. “But it is possible he might want to sell a portion given its recent price appreciation.” Ether is currently worth $4,100, an increase of 91% over the past month.
While merely moving one’s cryptocurrency might not typically constitute breaking news, Buterin’s move is notable as it is among the first times the inventor of Ethereum moved the vast majority of his own stake. The transaction also comes less than two weeks after his assets crossed the billion-dollar milestone, making him the youngest-known crypto billionaire in the world.