While 2017 was a big year for cryptocurrencies, Ripple seems to have flown under the radar to a certain extent. Certainly, the digital currency has its share of investors and enthusiasts. As of this writing, with a global market cap of more than $43 billion (according to coinmarketcap.com), it remains the fourth-largest virtual currency in the world.

Earlier in December, it surged in price over a single day so much that it briefly surpassed bitcoin cash to claim the No. 3 spot according to market cap. (See more: Ripple Briefly Topped Bitcoin Cash To Be 3rd Largest Cryptocurrency.) But while bitcoin has repeatedly set new price records throughout the year, XRP has seen massive growth primarily toward the end of the year.

January 1: $0.0063

Ripple has been in existence for several years, but the beginning of 2017 saw the cryptocurrency floating at a low rate per token. (See also: Ripple Is Back: Here's Why.) As of January 1, one Ripple token could be purchased for a meager $0.0063, according to coingecko.com.

The price of XRP didn't really take off until midway through the year; after a brief jump to just over $0.02 per token in late March, the currency made rapid gains throughout late April and early May.

May 16: $0.4054

XRP reached a local high point on May 16, 2017, when it topped out at just over $0.40 per token. As is common for cryptocurrencies that have just reached new record prices, Ripple fell from that apex in the days to follow. However, it settled at a significantly higher price point than it had been earlier in the year. From late May through early December, the currency hovered in the vicinity of $0.20 per token. Of course, within this period, there were numerous peaks and valleys, but XRP did not return to its previous high during that time.

 

December: Over $1 For the First Time

After the first week of December, the price of Ripple began to take off. On December 13, XRP climbed to a new record of more than $0.86 per token. As of this writing, XRP has soared to new heights, breaking the $1 per token price barrier on December 21. With several days left in the year, it remains to be seen whether this is a temporary price anomaly or signs of more significant growth to come.

Ripple's price soaring may have been linked to the announcement that both American Express and Santander would utilize the currency's blockchain to facilitate certain types of cross-border transactions.

Some investors also believe that Ripple will help to speed up remittances in the future, according to the Motley Fool. Regardless, this seems to be one of the most important cryptocurrencies to watch going into 2018. (See more: How Do I Buy Ripple (XRP) Cryptocurrency?)

Investing in cryptocurrencies and other Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”) is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or other ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein.

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