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Ripple's 37,000% rise has made its co-founder one of the world's richest people

  • Chris Larsen, the co-founder and former CEO of Ripple owns 5.19 billion XRP, Forbes reported Tuesday.
  • That stash, plus a 17% stake in the company, means he could be worth $US37.3 billion.

XRP, a cryptocurrency for international money transfers by the fintech company Ripple, has been on a tear this winter, 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% stake in the company, citing sources inside the firm, bringing his total net worth to $US37.3 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% 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.

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