Heading into the New Year, the markets have experienced a huge surge from the crypto economy, which is currently valued above $600 billion. Bitcoin, the current market leader and most established cryptourrency, holds a market cap of nearly $243.0 billion. However, while Bitcoin has succeeded in making thousands of investors rich overnight, it is a new cryptocurrency that has produced a new round of billionaires – Ripple.
With its most recent surge and rampant growth during the past month, Ripple has managed to catapult its founding members to amongst the richest person in the world. The past month has seen Ripple (XRP) soar from just $0.25 to over $3.25 Thursday, a gain of 1,200.0 percent.
According to Forbes, Ripple’s co-founder and former CEO Chris Larsen owns approximately 5.19 billion XRP. At the current trading rates of XRP, Mr. Larsen’s total net worth values $44.16 billion, making him one of the top 20 richest man on the planet, according to the Forbes Billionaires list.
This level of wealth easily surpasses those of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson. Also, according to a recent tweet by blockchain expert George Kikvadze, Mr. Larsen holds a 37.0 percent stake in Ripple, which is a $320 billion firm. This estimation makes him one of the world’s richest people, surpassing the wealth Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.
BREAKING: At RIPPLE'S Implied Market Value of $320Bln – Chris Larsen with his 37% stake has become the world's richest person bypassing @BillGates & @WarrenBuffett !!! @CNBC @business @Forbes CONGRATS CHRIS !
— George Kikvadze (@BitfuryGeorge) January 4, 2018
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But he is not the only cryptocurrency billionaire, or to be more specific, Ripple billionaire. Ripple’s current CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, holds a 6.3 percent stake in Ripple along with an unknown amount of XRP, according to Forbes. This makes his net worth at least $9.5 billion at the time of Forbes report; since then XRP has gained over 38.0 percent.
In November 2016, Larsen stepped down as CEO and currently holds the position of executive chairman of the organization.
What is Ripple?
Unlike Bitcoin, Ripple is a private blockchain. The San Francisco-based firm is working to develop and mould the blockchain technology for the financial sector, especially for the inefficient cross-border payment system. The firm is working with more than 100 partners all over the world, including banks and financial institutions.
Ripple has recently partnered with Korean and Japanese banks to launch a test run of the blockchain-based cross-border payment transfer network between the two countries.
The deep integration of Ripple in the mainstream market also made it immune in the recent crypto crash after the announcement of the South Korean ban. Instead, XRP soared, while others have taken a downturn.
At the beginning of 2017, XRP was trading at $0.006, and it is currently trading at $3.07, as per coinmarketcap.com. The 60,000 percent rise makes it the second biggest coin in terms of market cap, surpassing the longtime silver medalist Ethereum. Currently, XRP holds a market cap of over $117.0 billion.