Ripple's price surge has made Cofounder one of the world's richest people

400A cryptocurrency mogul is now one of the richest people in the world — at least on paper. Chris Larsen, the cofounder, executive chairman, and former CEO of the cryptocurrency company Ripple, became the world’s fifth wealthiest person as the price of Ripple’s XRP cryptocurrency soared past the $3 mark this week.

Larsen’s holding numbers and valuation as of now are worth about $59.9 billion. That likely puts him ahead of Oracle entrepreneur Larry Ellison, Google pioneer Larry Page, and conservative mega-donors Charles and David Koch, all of whom are in the $50 billion range. In the U.S., only Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg are comfortably ahead of him.

Larsen — who currently serves as Ripple’s executive chairman after stepping down from his previous positions — owns 5.19 billion XRP coins as well as a 17 percent stake in the company, which itself possesses 61.3 billion tokens. Larsen’s net worth is tied to the value of the 15.6 billion XRP tokens he directly or indirectly controls.

Some reports claim his current holdings have made him the “richest man in the world,” but he’s not quite there yet: Jeff Bezos’s net worth is still much higher, at $98.6 billion at the time of writing.

Ripple’s explosive rise came in the past month, and the startup’s cryptocurrency appears to be 2018’s biggest beneficiary of the current crypto momentum that bitcoin launched last year.

XRP’s price has rocketed more than 1,400% since early December. On Thursday, the sum of Larsen’s newfound fortune technically exceeded the fortunes of Ellison ($58.9 billion), the oil tycoon Koch brothers’ ($51 billion apiece), Page ($50.8 billion), media impresario Michael Bloomberg ($49.7 billion), and Brin ($49.3 billion), in the estimation of Forbes’ billionaires list.

Larsen, who cofounded Ripple in 2012 before stepping down as CEO in 2016, has amassed a stunningly large fortune, on paper, despite the youth of his moonshot venture. The company has set its sights on an starry-eyed goal: supplanting the SWIFT interbank money transmission service and angling for XRP to become a global reserve currency held by major financial firms in order to facilitate foreign exchange markets.


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