If you hadn't heard of Ripple's token XRP before, you probably did this week.
The cryptocurrency exploded -- at its high of $3.84 Thursday, XRP had rallied 67% just since Jan. 1, 2018.
That's good news for former Ripple CEO and co-founder Chris Larsen.
He owns 5.19 billion XRP tokens and a 17% stake in the company, according to a report in Forbes. When XRP peaked at $3.84 Thursday, the former Ripple CEO watched his net worth skyrocket him into the top 10 richest people in the U.S.
His estimated $59.9 billion net worth at XRP's high briefly made him the fifth-wealthiest man in the U.S. He had more to his name at that moment than Oracle Corp.'s (ORCL) - Get Report Larry Ellison or Alphabet Inc.-owned (GOOGL) - Get Report Google's Larry Page.
But XRP, like its crypto peers, is highly volatile. After popular exchange Coinbase said it wouldn't list Ripple's XRP anytime soon, the token shed as much as 14% of its value. That put Larsen's net worth closer to $50 billion, but was enough to keep him in the top 10 wealthiest in the U.S.
The current CEO of Ripple, Brad Garlinghouse, also enjoyed the rally. His 6.3% stake in the company and additional Ripple assets at the token's peak put his net worth at $15.8 billion, according to Cryptovest. That was ahead of Facebook Inc.'s (FB) - Get Report Dustin Moskovitz and even Twenty First Century Fox Inc's (FOXA) - Get Report Rupert Murdoch.
One catch for these billionaires, though -- it's unlikely any coin exchange has the capacity for them to cash in on their holdings. For now, their fortunes are at the will of the volatile Ripple market.
On Jan. 1, 2017, Ripple traded for 0.06 cents. Since then, the token has powered higher 50,000% -- yes, you read that right. Ripple was the best-performing asset in 2017 by a long shot.
Here's to you, Mr. Larsen and Mr. Garlinghouse.
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