In the fast-moving world of virtual currencies, it seems there is always at least one currency that's making major moves. Bitcoin and ethereum both saw their values skyrocket in 2017, largely on the strength of newfound investor interest in the cryptocurrency space, media hype, and the initial coin offering (ICO) craze. However, the cryptocurrency with the largest percentage increase in price was ripple (XRP). (See also: How Do I Buy Ripple (XRP) Cryptocurrency?)
Though founded in 2012, ripple hovered at just a fraction of one cent per token going into 2017. As of this writing, it is worth more than $3 per token. How much would $100 invested in XRP in early January 2017 be worth today?
From $0.006 to $3.02
According to data from CoinMarketCap.com, the price of one XRP token on January 2, 2017 was $0.006396. Investing $100 in XRP at that time would have enabled you to purchase 15,634.77 XRP tokens. (Note: That's assuming you didn't have to pay a transaction fee. Given that different exchanges require different fees, it's simpler for our purposes to eliminate the fee consideration. In actuality, though, your $100 would have yielded somewhat fewer tokens than indicated above.)
As of this writing, according to CoinMarketCap.com, one XRP token is valued at $3.02. Given your 15,634.77 XRP purchased one year ago, your ripple holdings would now be worth a whopping $46,904.32. This is including the $100 you spent on your initial purchase. Needless to say, your initial investment would have yielded tremendous results.
Effects of a Bubble?
While some investors might look to the results above as a sign of easy money to be made in the cryptocurrency market, many others see this as further confirmation that digital currencies are in a bubble (or perhaps multiple bubbles).
This type of risk/reward ratio is essentially unheard of, and investors should not assume that it can be duplicated in the future. A slightly more diversified investment (say, $100 in each of the top 10 cryptocurrencies) over a similar period would have yielded returns of more than $64,000, according to a report by Forbes. Still, this may be more the product of lucky timing than anything else. (See also: Ripple Execs Are Now Billionaires Thanks to XRP's Success.)
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. As of the date this article was written, the author owns cryptocurrency.