After a 36,018 percent gain in 2017, Ripple, the best-performing cryptocurrency of the year, continued its crazy bull run at the beginning of 2018.
Also known as XRP, the crypto-token hit a high of US$3.84 on Thursday, making the company’s co-founder and executive chairman, Chris Larsen, the fifth richest person in the world.
According to Coinmarketcap.com, Ripple surged 36,018 percent in 2017, and continued to climb to US$3.84 before easing down. As of 1 p.m. Friday (in Hong Kong), it was trading at US$3.17, and its market valuation has surpassed US$122 billion, the second-largest among cryptocurrencies after bitcoin (US$260 billion).
Forbes, citing sources at the company, said Chris Larsen has 5.19 billion of XRP and a 17 percent stake in the company, worth a combined US$59 billion.
With such a fortune on paper, he is ahead of Larry Ellison, chairman of Oracle, and Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, with reference to the Forbes 400 list.
Founded in 2012, Ripple uses blockchain technology to develop a payments network that more than 100 financial institutions are using, the company said.
The token is designed as an institutional cross-border settlement asset with a four-second settlement time. That’s faster than ethereum (over two minutes) and bitcoin (over an hour).
At the beginning of 2018, while bitcoin plummeted to around US$15,000 after reaching its record high, other crypto assets were outpacing its gains.
Ripple has been up over 37 percent, while another cryptocurrency, Stellar, has surged 108 percent. The price of ethereum, the third largest crypto-token by market cap, reached US$1,000 on Thursday for the first time ever after a 32 percent rally last year. Its market cap is now around US$100 billion.
Cryptocurrency fans got an unexpected boost from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who revealed in his 2018 mission statement that he was “studying” cryptocurrencies.
“There are important counter-trends to this – encryption and cryptocurrency – that take power from centralized systems and put it back into people’s hands,” Zuckerberg wrote. “But they come with the risk of being harder to control.
“I’m interested to go deeper and study the positive and negative aspects of these technologies, and how best to use them in our services,” he added.
In December 2017, Facebook’s vice president of messaging products, David Marcus, joined the board of Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges.
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