The recent Ripple XRP surge could mean a new multi-billionaire is in town. It’s Chris Larsen, the co-creator and former CEO of Ripple — but how high is his position on the global wealth chain really?
Ripple has spent the last two weeks enjoying newfound fame. Recently surpassing ether, Ripple’s currency XRP retook its place as the number two digital currency in market cap rankings. And while Coinbase has decided to leave off Ripple trading for now, things could very well change in the future granted XRP can continue its current trajectory.
XRP has jumped from $0.25 in mid-December to over $3 USD at press time. Larsen allegedly owns about 5.19 billion XRP, which would mean his net worth currently stands beyond the $37 billion mark based on XRP’s present exchange rate.
Additionally, Larsen owns over 15 percent in the company itself and serves as the executive chairman.
According to TIME, there are over 61 billion XRP yet Ripple has only distributed about 38 billion, meaning that 23 billion have yet to enter syndication and the company (along with the price of XRP) is looking to grow even further. Ripple also boasts some major banks as users, including Bank of America and UBS.
The statement surrounding Larsen’s newfound wealth stems from BitFury founder George Kikvadze, who made the claim on Twitter just two days ago. His latest tweet said:
“BREAKING: At RIPPLE’S Implied Market Value of $320Bln – Chris Larsen with his 37 percent stake has become the world’s richest person bypassing @BillGates & @WarrenBuffett !!! @[email protected] @Forbes CONGRATS CHRIS!”
Here’s the issue, however: Kikvadze specifically uses the words “the world’s richest person,” — and as great as that sounds, TIME is stating otherwise.
In December, the publication produced a report suggesting that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos was the wealthiest person in the world. At the time, Bezos’ net worth exceeded $90.6 billion, placing him just slightly ahead of computer tycoon Bill Gates, whose net worth stands at an even $90 billion.
Even if Larsen’s wealth indeed sits at $37 billion, he’s not even close to the number one spot. No doubt he’s one of the world’s richest people, but number one seems like a vast overstatement.
Additionally, the valuation of Ripple the company is deemed “difficult to determine” and “speculative” thanks to its private status and funds coming by way of venture capital, thus making a final number hard to comprehend.
Still, Larsen holds a substantial spot in today’s growing list of billionaires, and Ripple has shot up by approximately 30,000 percent since the beginning of 2017. Debates are raging over whether XRP could potentially overtake bitcoin in 2018 to become the world’s top cryptocurrency (at least by market cap).
Of note, 1 BTC is currently $15,423 and 1 XRP is $3.47. The market cap total is based on the number of each token in circulation, which counts only 16.78 million BTC and 38.74 billion XRP. It does not count either as-yet-unmined bitcoins or Ripple’s unreleased stash of XRP tokens.
Based in San Francisco, Larsen left Ripple in November 2016, passing the torch down to current CEO Brad Garlinghouse. Larsen is currently an advisor to financial modeling company Distilled Analytics.
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Images via Ripple, Pixabay