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  • XRP pump-and-dump adds gasoline to the fire as declines remain unstoppable.
  • A Telegram group is responsible for the pump, but whales took advantage of the spike to offload their XRP.
  • On-chain metrics suggest that large volume holders were ready to dump the token.
  • XRP will invalidate the downtrend if the price closes the day above the 50 SMA on the 4-hour chart.

Ripple recently lifted from rugs to riches, flying the bullish flag high above the cryptocurrency horizon. However, it was sorrowful to see the pumped coin come down crumbling from 2021 highs of around $0.75 to $0.35. The devious pump game could see XRP lose credibility as a reliable asset, as it may well fail to recover.

Pump-and-dump speculators threaten Ripple’s legitimacy

XRP tanked massively to lows of $0.17 in December after the US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against the issuing company Ripple Labs. The lawsuit alleges that Ripple and its top executives sold unregistered security tokens to investors. XRP is also facing another class-action case after a Florida investor sued the company for a nearly 50% drop in his XRP holdings value.

The trading in January was dominated by consolidation, but a symmetrical triangle pattern hinted that a breakout was around the corner. While the technical breakout was long overdue, the pump-and-dump paints an ugly picture for XRP.

Ripple depends on the buyer congestion at $0.35 to recover

XRP is trading at $0.36 following a short-lived rebound from the 50 Simple Moving Average on the 4-hour chart. On the upside, the movement appears to have been capped under $0.4.

On the flip side, the immediate support at $0.3 remains vulnerable to rising selling pressure. Besides, the Relative Strength Index has crossed beneath the midline, suggesting that XRP will explore more of the downhill levels.

XRP/USD price chart

XRP/USD 4-hour chart

What could have caused these massive swings?

A newly-created Telegram group, “PumpXRP,” is said to have been responsible for the pump, as reported on Monday. However, XRP whales were likely prepared to take advantage of the upswing to offload and perhaps come out of the positions they had been stuck in since December. XRP soared by a colossal 168% from the time it opened the week’s trading on Monday to $0.75. From the extreme highs, the cross-border cryptocurrency has lost over 50% of its value.

XRP/USD price chart

XRP/USD 4-hour chart

On-chain data illustrate a perfect pump-and–dump scenario

On-chain data provided by Santiment shows clearly that XRP whales offloaded their bags as the price shot up. For instance, addresses having between 100,000 and 1 million XRP dropped from roughly 17,700 on January 30 to nearly 16,800 on February 2.

Simultaneously, whales holding between 1 million and 10 million XRP shrunk from roughly 11,200 to approximately 1,130 in the same period. This exodus increased overhead pressure, which could explain the massive price drop.

XRP holder distribution by Santiment

XRP holder distribution by Santiment

The selloff is also reflected by the Mean Coin Age and Mean Dollar Invested plotted against XRP price. The Mean Coin Age highlights the average days the entire supply of XRP has maintained its current addresses. A sharp slope such as the one seen on the chart shows an increase in the XRP tokens that have exchanged wallets.

XRP Mean Coin Age

XRP/USD Mean Coin Age/Mean Dollar Invested

The age consumed metric, which measures the movement of XRP tokens that have been dormant for a long time, surged incredibly. A spike in the metric as observed below illustrates previously idle XRP tokens exchanged hands. The age consumed can explain the significant decrease in the number of XRP whales.

XRP age consumed metric

XRP age consumed metric

Looking at the other side of the picture

It is worth keeping in mind that Ripple will resume the uptrend if the price can hold above the 50 SMA, if not $0.35. On the upside, closing the day past $0.4 would call for more buy orders, increasing the tailwind force for gains heading toward $0.75.