XRP, a cryptocurrency for international money transfers by the fintech company Ripple, has been on a tear over the past month, skyrocketing to the No. 2 cryptocurrency by market cap.
That astronomical rise to $US2.47 a coin – up from $US0.25 in mid-December – has made the co-founder and former CEO of the company one of the world's richest people.
Chris Larsen, who founded Ripple Labs – now known as just Ripple – in 2012, owns 5.19 billion of its XRP cryptocurrency, Forbes reports. At Tuesday's exchange rate, that gives his holdings a value of $US12.82 billion.
Forbes also reports that Larsen owns a 17 per cent stake in the company, citing sources inside the firm, bringing his total net worth to $US37.3 billion ($47.6 billion). That would make him the 21st richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg's Billionaire Index – just behind Indian business magnate Mukesh Ambani.
The 57-year-old stepped down as CEO of Ripple in November 2016, turning over the reigns to current CEO Brad Garlinghouse, who owns a 6.3 per cent stake in the company, Forbes reports. Larsen currently serves as chairman.
XRP was easily the best performing cryptocurrency of 2017, rising 37,900% from $US0.0065 per token in January 2017, to $US2.47 by the end of the year. The cryptocurrency now has a market cap of $US94 billion, according to CoinMarketCap.com, placing it behind only bitcoin in total value.