It’s been a wild week for cryptocurrencies, and it got even wilder when the creator of a major alternative to bitcoins sold his entire stake.
Trying to avoid any appearance of conflict of interest, Litecoin creator Charlie Lee announced in a Reddit post that he has sold all his holdings of the popular cryptocurrency. He also announced that he donated all the proceeds of the sale to charity.
Lee, who has worked in the past for both Google and bitcoin exchange Coinbase, launched Litecoin in 2011. It has been marketed as a more efficient alternative to bitcoin, and is right now the fifth largest digital currency, with a market value of more than $17 billion.
Lee didn’t reveal in the Reddit post just how many Litecoins he sold, nor will he say in the future, but he did mention that he has kept a few physical Litecoins as collectibles. He also didn’t reveal the total amount of proceeds from the sale or the name of the charity to which he donated the proceeds. Though he did insist that the sale did not affect the price of Litecoins.
The price of Litecoins did fall 6% against the dollar in the wake of Lee’s announcement, but it’s not clear whether the drop had anything to do with the announcement, as Litecoins — and most other cryptocurrencies — had been falling prior to the announcement, and they continued to fall after it.
Lee stated that he sold his holdings because of the oversized influence he has on prices. He often posts on social media, in particular Twitter, and, although he says that he has always avoided buying or selling Litecoins before or after a major tweet, he wanted to make clear that such posts aren’t intended as a means to further enrich himself. He says that many people have accused him in the past of self-enrichment whenever he’s posted the latest price of Litecoin on Twitter, or even posted news about the digital currency. Some people have further accused him of shorting the cryptocurrency after he’s posted negative news about Litecoin.
He went on to say in his Reddit post that he has already done very well financially because of Litecoins and no longer needs to receive monetary benefits from its success. He also indicated that he not only wasn’t quitting Litecoin, but planned on being actively involved in Litecoin’s development in the future, as well as being involved in cryptocurrencies in general. In fact, he insists that he will spend all his available time being involved with the cryptocurrency, and that when it succeeds he will be rewarded in many ways unrelated to financial gain.
On Reddit, Lee’s announcement was not, for the most part, received well, with many holders of Litecoin saying that his statement caused far more harm than it did good.
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