The Story of Jed McCaleb

The Story of Jed McCaleb

By Zenthereum | Zenthereum | 14 Jun 2020

Most of us know the name Jed McCaleb as he is the founder and current CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of Stellar. Besides Stellar he has a very interesting Curriculum which most people don't know about and will be surprised to find out.
No, he is not Satoshi, he does not use double space!

Somehow it was hard to find a decent picture of him on the web. I almost caught a virus on my first effort, and Coindesk has removed the one they had on his profile. There is no picture on his Wikipedia and twitter page and just a few on google images. I was expecting to find way more but I will post just the best ones I've found.


Jed McCaleb (source)

Jed McCaleb was born in 1975 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and went to the Berkeley University of California. He dropped out colleague to proceed with his programming and entrepreneurship career. Lately, when he is in the news, this will usually be for the wrong reasons. There are valid accusations of Ripple fans for dumping his XRP which McCaleb is accepting as monthly payments for the settlement agreement after his dismissal from Ripple Labs in 2014 and a possible collapse in the IBM partnership of 2017.

His career so far has been quite impressive and I have to explain at this point that there are not so many entrepreneurs that have accomplished so much in their lives as Jed McCaleb has done, and he is still in his 40s. I have to admit that I admire him for his success so far. I will explain his career and some important details in chronological order, starting with eDonkey!


Yes, it was Jed McCaleb that created eDonkey. I didn't know this and I was very surprised to find out a few weeks ago. He founded eDonkey along with Sam Yagan (who is also the co-founder of OkCupid !!). 


eDonkey (source)

eDonkey was a decentralized file-sharing platform that became a direct competitor to the infamous Napster P2P file-sharing network. They've became a dominant file-sharing platform soon after their release and had millions of active users. Only Bittorrent managed to surpass them close to their end in 2007. The eDonkey company had many legal issues as the RIAA was hunting and shutting down all file-sharing platforms and had already filed a lawsuit against eDonkey as well. An agreement between both sides was reached and eDonkey was officially over, along with paying $30 million for copyright infringement damages to remove the lawsuits against them.

Mt. Gox (Magic The Gathering Online Exchange)

Yes, this is what Mt.Gox actually stands for and Jed McCaleb was the creator of (the now-defunct exchange) Mt.Gox as well, but he didn't stay for long. In a previous article (The Story of Mt.Gox), I explain in chronological order all the events that led to the demise of this legendary exchange.


Mt. Gox

Jed McCaleb created the Mt.Gox website (and registered the domain in 2007) as a marketplace for the popular online fantasy card game "Magic: The Gathering". The service did run for just three months unsuccessfully and McCaleb didn't proceed with further developing the Mt.Gox marketplace. Three years later though, he was one of the many people that became interested in Bitcoin after reading the famous Slashdot article (the first-ever article about Bitcoin on a tech forum) and begun redevelopment of into a Bitcoin exchange. The exchange was released on July 18, 2010, under the name Mt.Gox using the same domain name (

Jed McCaleb introduced the exchange to bitcointalk with this post and by March 2011 the exchange was sold to Mark Karpelès. The last post of Jedd McCaleb with the bitcointalk username mtgox was this:

"Hello Everyone   I created mtgox on a lark after reading about bitcoins last summer. It has been interesting and fun to do. I’m still very confident that bitcoins have a bright future. But to really make mtgox what it has the potential to be would require more time than I have right now. So I’ve decided to pass the torch to someone better able to take the site to the next level. MagicalTux has already contributed a lot to the bitcoin community and in many ways he will be better at running the site than I was. He has much more experience with web programming, system administration and integrating with banks and other payment processors than I do."

He kept posting on bitcointalk with the username: jed and there is an interesting reply of him to a post written by Gavin Andresen.

Jed reply to Gavin

Far too political opinion and it seems to be comparing Bitcoin to PayPal. People change minds easily according to their sources of information, so Stellar was marketed as a "libertarian type" of currency as well. Of course, the plan at that point was Ripple and this quote wasn't a random thought, but a strategic one:

"My point is if you want bitcoin to be as big as it can be and have the biggest chance of "replacing banksyou should downplay this hopeLet them come to you. There is no point in yelling this is a revolution. Just let the revolution quietly happen."

So it was obvious that something was cooking and McCaleb's next stop was Ripple.


Jed McCaleb (Image Source)

Ripple ($XRP)

A centralized bank-oriented corporation that created the XRP cryptocurrency which runs on an open-source distributed ledger. Ripple is antagonizing SWIFT trying to prove to banks that it is a reliable and faster method of cross-border transactions, although Bitcoin was fixing this already (I don't actually like this meme at all, but I couldn't find anything else fitting better on this occasion).


Ripple Labs - XRP (Image source)

Jed McCaleb is also the founder of Ripple. He began working on this digital currency in 2011 right around the above events. Kraken's Ceo Jesse Powell and Roger Ver were early investors in Ripple. McCaleb recruited Chris Larsen (as CEO), David Schwartz (a really cool guy imo), and Arthur Britto as chief strategist and created Opencoin!

Wait, Opencoin? Yeah, Opencoin was the initial name of Ripple Labs-XRP before it was changed at some point at the beginning of 2013.

This article explains most of the history of Opencoin, Ripple, and XRP, but I don't think it is really important anymore. What is important is the fact that by the time Opencoin was created, every cryptocurrency was cloning Bitcoin and all had the word "coin" in their name. Ripple had in mind to switch names from Opencoin from their early days, as they wanted a name that would differentiate them from the competition.

 According to this coindesk article:

"Ripples are also the name for the digital form of money (abbreviation: XRP) that will be among the currencies tradable on the ripple platform."

Back to the story, Jed McCaleb left Ripple after two years (in July 2013) having major differences in the direction Ripple was taking with Chris Larsson which were apparently unresolvable, along with accusations of bringing in the Ripple team his then-girlfriend Joyce Kim (@joyce). Things were too complicated with this move and this basically led to McCaleb's dismissal from Ripple. Kraken's Ceo Jesse Powell was the person that introduced Joyce Kim to McCaleb during some meeting they had. David Schwartz also explains some of the reasons for McCaleb's dismissal on this quora post.

It is worth noting that McCaleb is partially responsible for the selling pressure on XRP, although Ripple is selling way more XRP trying to prove monthly profits to potential investors of their future IPO (Initial Public Offering). Ripple is a fintech company that has a good chance to become publicly listed with a successful IPO and see its stock traded at major stock exchanges of the US. 

Jed McCaleb has reportedly sold more than 1 Billion XRP since 2014 after a settlement agreement with Ripple gave him 8 billion XRP coins in total, which in agreement he receives in small installments every month.

Fun fact about Ripple. They did make a real giveaway (besides the scam giveaways happening in youtube) and on February 13, 2020, they posted their giveaway terms on this bitcointalk post! A little late to register now but someone abused the giveaway and registered in this airdrop twice!

This was user: jed ! Jed himself took part two times in Ripple's original giveaway!


Bitcointalk user jed proof of cheating in giveaway!!


Stellar Lumens ($XLM)

After his departure from Ripple in 2014, Jed McCaleb began work on his next project, Stellar, which is the one that he is still working on until today. With Stellar, McCaleb managed to do things his way.


Stellar Lumens ($XLM)

Stellar Development Foundation was created as a non-profit organization along with co-founder Joyce Kim in 2014. The main concept behind this endevour was the creation of a protocol facilitating cross-border transactions for both fiat and digital currencies. Stellar initially had backing from Stripe ($3 million) and various other investors.

The most important partnership ever announced in the cryptocurrency world is coming from Stellar. The legendary behemoth in computers hardware, software, scientific research & consulting services, IBM (International Business Machines), announced back in October 2017 their partnership with Stellar to connect banks in SE Asia with the Stellar blockchain network, with emphasis on cross-border payments, using the Stellar Lumens coin ($XLM).

This partnership was massive news right at the moment when the adoption of cryptocurrencies was exploding in 2017 and Bitcoin was rallying closer to 10K. I am certain that this news was fundamental for the whole altcoin season that happened between October 2017 and January 2018 and the price of the XLM coin had risen from $0,03 up to $0.93, reaching a total market cap valuation of $16Billion.

It seems that the IBM-Stellar partnership is coming to an end though after a top IBM executive CTO Stanley Yong departed from the company and reports surfaced with the Board of Directors not favoring the continuation of the partnership. As reported by modernconcensus:

"Meanwhile, some within the company, including General Counsel Michelle H. Browdy, were said to be nervous about Stellar’s strong association with gray market ICOs and aspects of Stellar founder Jed McCaleb’s past. McCaleb had at one time owned Mt Gox, which eventually turned into BTC’s biggest-ever fraud and later co-founded Ripple, but was expelled by the board after installing his then-girlfriend, Joyce Kim, as an executive with no clear portfolio."

Mainstream Media Mentions:
  • During the height of the altcoin bubble in January 2018, Jed McCaleb was featured in Forbes richest people in 40th place with a digital wealth of 20 billion USD. 
  • Jed McCaleb was named by the New York Times as one of the 10 influential people leading the blockchain revolution.
Wells Fargo on McCaleb:

It is interesting that after the demise of MtGox the whole banking world became extremely hostile to everything that had to do with crypto. Wells Fargo even froze Ripple Labs company accounts. According to this report from coindesk, Chris Larssen was told that McCaleb was their problem as he was the founder of MtGox.

“The problem is your connection to Mr McCaleb,The guy founded Mt Gox. You’ve got to get that guy out of there or we won’t bank you.” 

McCaleb had already left the company at that point, but he was still holding a board seat.

Final notes:

Jed McCaleb is also an author on coindesk and this is his only article, which he posted this May.

Twitter account:

Seriously though, this guy hates posing for the camera. Here is a picture with Tiffany Hayden that is somehow connected with Ripple, although I didn't do research on her. Still, McCaleb is once again trying to avoid the camera as much as possible. 


Tiffany Hayden and Jed McCaleb (source)

For an epilogue, I just wanted to add that no matter the negatives I've posted about Jed McCaleb and how his past works impacts current developments (since he didn't perform any illegal activities I consider that these false statements could have been avoided, even if someone is an adviser to IBM), the dude did wonders and I'd be glad to ever manage just 1% of his success.

This was it! I hope you enjoyed my article!


Article was reposted on Uptrennd on this link

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