Rise of Bitcoin Competitor Ripple Creates Wealth to Rival Zuckerberg – The Fresh York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — The virtual currency boom has gotten so heated that it is throwing the list of the world’s richest people into disarray.

Consider what has happened to the founders of an upstart virtual currency known spil Ripple, which has seen its value skyrocket te latest weeks.

At one point on Thursday, Chris Larsen, a Ripple co-founder who is also the largest holder of Ripple tokens, wasgoed worth more than $59 billion, according to figures from Forbes. That would have shortly vaulted Mr. Larsen ahead of Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg into fifth place on the Forbes list of the world’s richest people.

Other top Ripple holders would have also zoomed up that list spil the value of their tokens soared more than 100 procent during the last week — and more than 30,000 procent te the last year. The boom has turned Ripple into the 2nd largest virtual currency, within striking distance of the original behemoth, Bitcoin.

The explosion ter Ripple’s value overheen the past month is the starkest illustration yet of how the mania around Bitcoin has spilled overheen into a broader universe of virtual currencies. Thesis coins — with names like Cardano, Stellar, and Iota — are generally fresh twists on the Bitcoin technology, which uses a decentralized network of volunteer computers to keep a record, known spil a blockchain, of all transactions.

While most of thesis currencies were worth almost nothing a year ago, many are now responsible for creating billionaires — albeit with rapidly fluctuating fortunes. If this is a tulip fever, the fever has spread to chrysanthemums and poppies.

Mr. Larsen’s soaring wealth sparked a few congratulatory messages on Twitter on Thursday, even if the value of Ripple — and his Forbes ranking — dropped straks te the day. But his nipt worth, and the ballooning value of Ripple tokens, mostly drew comments about the irrationality of the virtual currency markets, which emerge to be largely driven thesis days by the fear of missing out, or FOMO.

“This is beyond insane,” said Jeremy Gardner, an investor who previously worked at the virtual currency hedge fund Blockchain Capital, which invested ter Ripple. “There’s absolutely nothing driving this rally except rampant FOMO, misinformation, and speculation.”

Ripple, whose tokens are known spil XRP, is far from the only virtual currency being fueled by the hysteria. Te 2018, there were 29 tokens — including Einsteinium and Byteball — that rose more than Bitcoin’s remarkable 1,600 procent leap, according to OnChainFx, a gegevens provider.

The Fresh York Times Explains.

Almost 40 virtual currencies are worth more than $1 billion — when all the outstanding tokens are counted at their current value — despite many of them not having bot used ter any sort of transaction other than speculative trading.

Against this backdrop, Ripple could be considered a staid institution, tho’ one with a colorful history.

Ripple wasgoed invented ter 2012 by Jed McCaleb, a programmer who had created Mt. Gox, a Bitcoin exchange that zometeen dissolved ter disgrace. Mr. McCaleb designed Ripple spil a swifter and more efficient version of Bitcoin, without the mining process that Bitcoin uses to distribute fresh coins and secure the network.

Mr. Larsen joined Mr. McCaleb early on to create a company, also known spil Ripple. The company helped develop an open source Ripple software that makes it possible to budge money inbetween digital wallets. The Ripple token is one of the currencies that can be transferred with the software.

Mr. McCaleb straks left Ripple te an acrimonious divorce, tho’ he retained a sizable number of Ripple tokens. His holdings were worth around $20 billion at Thursday’s prices, putting him close to 40th on the Forbes list. (The actual list is only published once a year, and no big virtual currency holders have bot officially added.)

Mr. McCaleb has since created a competitor to Ripple, known spil Stellar. Stellar has risen even swifter than Ripple ter latest weeks, with all outstanding Stellar tokens — known spil Lumens — worth around $14 billion on Thursday, making it the seventh largest virtual currency.

Te tegenstelling, all the outstanding Ripple tokens were worth $140 billion on Thursday, while all Bitcoin were worth $250 billion.

Yet the fortunes of Mr. McCaleb and Mr. Larsen are not almost spil durable spil those of other people on the Forbes list given that the value of virtual currencies fluctuates frantically. If Mr. Larsen dreamed to access his wealth by selling Ripple tokens for dollars, it would likely drive down the value of Ripple tokens — and his riches.

Mr. McCaleb and Mr. Larsen did not react to questions about the latest price increases.

Mr. Larsen wasgoed Ripple’s chief executive from 2012 until he stepped down last year to become the company’s executive chairman. During his tenure, Ripple focused on helping banks use its software to shift money inbetween different foreign currencies, something that most banks presently do through a cumbersome process involving separate accounts te every country where they operate.

Ripple has said it has signed up more than 100 banks to use the company’s technology, including American Express and Banco Santander.

But banks do not need to use Ripple tokens for Ripple’s software to transfer dollars, euros and yen. That point shows up to be lost on many petite time investors who are buying Ripple tokens.

Most of the buying and selling of Ripple tokens is happening ter South Korea, according to gegevens providers that track virtual currency exchanges, where ordinary investors have thrown money at a broad array of virtual currencies.

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