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As the title asked - what is the largest transaction by value to date?

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1  
Due to how Bitcoins operate (in order to spend Bitcoins you need to make an operation on all of your Bitcoins), this question is closely related to this - bitcoin.stackexchange.com/questions/1524/… –  ThePiachu Mar 26 '12 at 20:49
    
"in order to spend Bitcoins you need to make an operation on all of your Bitcoins" isn't right. You don't even have to touch all the coins in a single address you control. I think you must have a misunderstanding somewhere. You can't partially use a single transaction output; you have to use the whole output as an input to your new transaction - maybe that's what you're thinking of. But it would be possible for the biggest transaction to be bigger than the biggest balance at any address. And vice versa. i.e. they're really distinct questions. –  Chris Moore Mar 27 '12 at 0:43

2 Answers 2

Probably this one, 550,000 BTC transferred at one time.

Now the question, was it a transfer from one person to another, or was it a transfer simply to, for example, another wallet once the passphrase encryption feature was made available.

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That was MtGox trying to consolidate 10 50k coins into a single large 500k coin. The extra 50k was added by some code in the official client that is a little too careful to avoid sub-cent change. –  Chris Moore Mar 26 '12 at 21:47
    
50k thrown in by over-careful code for good measure. :-) –  Thilo Mar 27 '12 at 3:11
    
Does that meant that extra 50k BTCs were generated out of thin air? –  Kozuch Dec 2 '13 at 15:38

As of block 173016, on Mar 26 2012, these are the record breaking (and equalling) transactions:

Jan 12 2009 - block    170, transaction f4184fc5 spends     50.00000000
Jan 14 2009 - block    496, transaction a3b0e9e7 spends     61.00000000
Jan 15 2009 - block    586, transaction 4d6edbeb spends    250.00000000
Jan 19 2009 - block   1055, transaction 8897ea9c spends    500.00000000
Jan 22 2009 - block   1296, transaction 59bf8acb spends    500.00000000
Jan 24 2009 - block   1586, transaction 3a5c037f spends    500.00000000
Jan 26 2009 - block   1945, transaction 5559270f spends   1000.00000000
Jan 31 2009 - block   2518, transaction 2ccc3f59 spends   1000.00000000
Feb 08 2009 - block   3510, transaction 92f55c2c spends   1000.00000000
Feb 09 2009 - block   3645, transaction cec658ac spends   2200.00000000
Mar 16 2009 - block   7677, transaction e6f00fa6 spends   2400.00000000
Apr 20 2009 - block  11666, transaction eebd343e spends   3500.00000000
Jul 20 2009 - block  19863, transaction 123a3968 spends   6049.67000000
Oct 16 2009 - block  25095, transaction 4aa98b18 spends   9700.00000000
Oct 22 2009 - block  25618, transaction 1aae9d58 spends  11950.00000000
Oct 24 2009 - block  25788, transaction 5d793270 spends  12250.00000000
Oct 27 2009 - block  25969, transaction 3cd9410f spends  13000.00000000
Nov 04 2009 - block  26402, transaction 6029e51c spends  15500.00000000
Nov 11 2009 - block  26814, transaction 1043eb5c spends  15500.00000000
Nov 19 2009 - block  27525, transaction f2e5fdd3 spends  21850.00000000
Nov 19 2009 - block  27528, transaction 67fc73c7 spends  22500.00000000
Mar 06 2010 - block  44006, transaction 23709241 spends  23247.39000000
Jul 12 2010 - block  65566, transaction ba62e528 spends  35000.00000000
Jul 26 2010 - block  70527, transaction b9d69463 spends  46754.31000000
Jul 28 2010 - block  70870, transaction 73ac0fdc spends  50000.95000000
Nov 06 2010 - block  90003, transaction 70dab592 spends  55000.00000000
Nov 08 2010 - block  90505, transaction 1ec28eee spends  96999.00000000
Jan 27 2011 - block 104770, transaction 8f821069 spends 400000.33000000
Jun 12 2011 - block 130281, transaction a09ac44c spends 432110.10745232
Jun 23 2011 - block 132749, transaction 3a1b9e33 spends 442000.00000000
Nov 16 2011 - block 153509, transaction 29a3efd3 spends 550000.00000000
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