Although the media mostly covers the performance of Bitcoin, digital coins such as Ripple are making waves in the cryptocurrency world.
The price of Ripple (XRP) surged to an all-time peak of $3.84 per coin in early January 2018, instantly propelling Chris Larsen to one of the richest people on earth.
Chris Larsen is the executive chairman and co-founder of Ripple, the company responsible for the digital coin XRP. Ripple had a very successful 2017, having an estimated 35,000 percent increase to $2.30, far exceeding the gains of other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).
Chris Larsen’s surge in wealth can additionally be attributed to XRP’s 1,400 percent increase since December 2017 and the fact that Ripple currently holds 61.3 billion of the 100 billion XRP coins in existence, placing the company at a market value of almost $235.4 billion
Having a personal hold of 5.19 billion of XRP and a 17% stake at Ripple, the surge of XRP’s price has skyrocketed Chris Larsen among the world’s richest people. He is currently richer on paper than other giants such as Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google, who sit at the 8th and 10th positions on the Forbes 400 list.
With an estimated worth of roughly $59.9 billion on paper, Larsen is currently just above Ripple’s former CEO, Larry Ellison. Ellison has recently ranked fifth on the Forbes 400 list with an estimated $58.4 billion worth.
This shift in wealth also places Larsen just below Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, who has a net worth of $74.4 billion. The remaining wealthiest people above them are Microsoft founder Bill Gates, investor Warren Buffet, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
It is not uncommon for cryptocurrency founders to have an enormous amount of wealth. Satoshi Nakamoto, the still unknown founder of Bitcoin, is said to have a personal hold of 980,000 bitcoins which roughly makes up 4.7 percent of the total number of bitcoins that will be created, although these numbers are still mere speculation. The fact that there is a shroud of anonymity over the Bitcoin community is exactly one of the reasons why some people started using it in the first place.
Readers should note that Larsen's near $60 billion of cryptocurrency funds are, for the most part, illiquid. If Larsen does decide to convert the majority of his XRP coins into traditional currency (e.g., U.S dollars), the large injection of so many coins into the market will no doubt substantially decrease the coin's value.