Ripple’s XRP cryptocurrency shot up by over 8% this morning after an injection of heavy trading volume between 10:00 and 11:00 am EST. The sudden increase is the second this month, following similar gains made this weekend. The growth means XRP has gained 36% in value this year alone, rising from around $0.18 per coin to current levels above $0.25. So what’s driving the upward trend?

Out of step

Not only is the growth good for XRP, but it also means the coin appears to have uncoupled from common patterns experienced by other cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin (BTC), along with the majority of major altcoins, are trading down today with between 1-3% losses. In fact, Ripple (XRP) is currently the only top 10 coin in the green, with 5% gains.

BitMEX Perpetual Swap

An XRP/USD perpetual swap trading option with 50x leverage was recently confirmed to be added to popular trading platform BitMEX. The platform’s CEO Arthur Hayes announced the addition in a controversial tweet, stating:

“Is it called Ripple, XRP, or dogshit? Who knows, who cares. It’s worth more than zero so it’s time to trade the USD pair on BitMEX. Boo-Yaka-sha!”

The wording appears to be a play on persisting confusion between Ripple the company and XRP the currency, as well as the many detractors who believe the coin is not a worthwhile investment. However, a continuation of this week’s movements will threaten to prove them wrong and Hayes’ ‘insult’ was clearly designed to just bring further attention to the news.

With the launch happening in about 4 hours, we could see some wild volatility for XRP today. BitMEX is well known for being one of the busiest crypto exchanges in the world, with extremely risky leverage options.

Ripple Escrow

Ripple recently moved 900 million XRP tokens worth approximately $228 million to three individual Ripple wallets as part of their monthly escrow procedures. Twitter’s Whale Alert account picked up two separate movements of 200 million XRP and one of 500 million XRP yesterday.

The company has been reducing its monthly sales of XRP following criticism last year that suggested the sales were damaging the value of XRP. However, Ripple denied the allegations, blaming a timeline issue and stating that it has been reducing sales throughout late 2019.

Whatever the reason for the recent gains, upcoming XRP sales combined with the XRP/USD perpetual swap launch means we are likely to see even more volatility for XRP as the day goes on.