False rumour sees Bitcoin rival soar in value, then plummet again

More germane to their potential wealth is their level of centralization, reflected both in how transactions are validated (proof-of-work transitioning eventually to proof-of-stake in Ethereum's case; Ripple uses consensus) and in what percentage its founders hold in their respective coins.

But Chris Larsen's place at the very top of the rich list proved to be very brief after Ripple (which is also called XRP) dropped in price and he slipped back down the list again to end up in about 15th place.

While bitcoin, the cryptocurrency king, soared more than 1,200 per cent past year, Ripple rose a whopping 35,000 per cent in the same period.

That, along with its capacity to rapidly settle cross-border transactions, has made it attractive to traditional banks and financial institutions, with more than 100 adopting the technology so far, including Westpac and UBS. It is this above all else which has led to the early prominence of Ripple, and which could play a major part in the development of the cryptocurrency sector. If we exclude bitcoin's market cap from the equation, the aggregate value of every other virtual currency catapulted from $2.24 billion on December 31, 2016, to $374 billion by December 31, 2017.

While Ripple has its own digital token, any currency - including bitcoin - can be traded on RippleNet.

Currently, an global payment may take a few days to complete, and at a high cost. Larsen, a man in his late 50s, has a background in financial startups, and Ripple's other now-departed cofounder Jed McCaleb is known for p2p software like eDonkey as well as being the original owner of Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox.

In anticipation of a listing on Coinbase, ahead-of-the-curve crypto-speculators bought into Ripple through other less accessible exchanges, assuming their superior crypto-literacy would give them a massive headstart on the inevitable Ripple bull run.

The Winklevoss brothers have reportedly become the world's first Bitcoin billionaires. Garlinghouse has also gotten richer with the rise of the XRP tokens. And, as for the most cryptocurrencies, it is practically impossible to get the exact reason of Ethereum rise.

Ripple is pre-mined, with one hundred billion units in existence, twenty billion of which are retained by the creators of the currency. Ripple is similar to bitcoin in that both are decentralised ledger systems created to facilitate transactions across the internet.

How do you buy XRP?

"Whether this is able to last longer-term, however, does still remain to be seen".

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