Ripple co-founder is now richer than the Google founders on paper


Thanks to one digital currency’s surge in the last few weeks, the co-founder and executive chairman of Ripple is now one of the five richest people in America.

Chris Larsen, co-founder and executive chairman of Ripple, has 5.19 billion of the company’s digital coin XRP and a 17 percent stake in the company, according to Forbes, citing sources at Ripple.

With XRP hitting a high of $3.84 on Thursday, Larsen’s holdings are worth about $59.9 billion. That puts the former Ripple CEO just ahead of Larry Ellison, who ranked fifth on Forbes 400 list with a worth of $58.4 billion. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg ranks fourth, with a worth of $74.4 billion.

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin rank eighth and 10th on the list, respectively.

Ripple did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.

Its XRP coin soared 35,500 percent to $2.30 last year, far outpacing bitcoin’s and ethereum’s gains. The company owns 61.3 billion of the 100 billion XRP coins in existence, giving Ripple a market value of nearly $235.4 billion Thursday.

The San Francisco-based start-up is using blockchain technology to develop a payments network that more than 100 financial institutions are using, according to the company. Ripple’s website also says that the XRP coin has a four-second settlement time, versus more than two minutes for ethereum and over an hour for bitcoin.

Cryptocurrency founders can often hold large amounts of the digital coins they create. The anonymous bitcoin founder known as “Satoshi Nakamoto” has 980,000 bitcoins, or about 4.7 percent of all bitcoins that will ever exist, based on widely accepted analysis by Sergio Demian Lerner.

With bitcoin near $15,000 Thursday, Nakamoto’s share is worth just $14.7 billion.

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