Jed McCaleb is an American programmer and entrepreneur. Born in 1975, McCaleb is well-known for creating one of the first bitcoin exchanges, the now defunct bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox., which he eventually sold. He notably later co-founded blockchain companies Ripple and Stellar.

McCaleb launched Mt. Gox in 2010 with the intent of it becoming the largest bitcoin-to-dollar exchange. At its highest peak, Mt. Gox handled upwards of 80 percent of the global trading volume for cryptocurrencies becoming one of the most popular exchanges in the world. On February 7th, 2014, Mt. Gox was hacked and lost approximately 850,000 bitcoin (worth roughly $700 million at the time), leading to its eventual demise. In 2011, McCaleb sold the exchange to Mark Karpeles.

After selling Mt. Gox in 2011, Jed McCaleb turned his attention to Ripple Labs. Originally named OpenCoin, Ripple Labs is a San Francisco based company that was founded in 2012 by McCaleb and Chris Larsen. The company created the ripple protocol and the ripple payment network, which aim to improve cross-border payments and make transfers cheaper and more efficient.

McCaleb left Ripple in 2013 to focus on a new project, Stellar, that launched in 2014. The stellar platform, an open-source and decentralized payment protocol, is intended to facilitate the fast and cheap transfer of cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies.

Stellar’s native cryptocurrency, lumens (XLM) helps power the stellar network similarly to how ether (ETH) powers the ethereum blockchain.

In 2014, McCaleb took to an XRP Talk forum to announce that he planned to sell his 9 billion XRP tokens. His controversial announcement corresponded with caused a 40 percent drop in XRP’s price overnight. Ripple Labs subsequently worked with McCaleb to reach an agreement to prevent him from selling all 9 billion XRP at once.

The terms of the plan gave McCaleb the option to sell $10,000 worth of tokens a week for the first year and $20,000 a week the second, third and fourth years. 

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Authored by John Metais. Photo by Brady Dale for CoinDesk.