As the total value of the digital currency industry tops $600 billion, scores of new millionaires (and even billionaires) have emerged. Two of the newest billionaires who have enjoyed massive windfalls from the success of XRP are Ripple's current and former CEOs Chris Larsen and Brad Garlinghouse.
Larsen is the co-founder and former CEO of the company. He stepped down from that position in late 2016 and now serves as executive chairman, according to Forbes. Larsen's personal stake is 5.19 billion XRP, giving him a 17% stake in Ripple. According to the exchange rate for XRP as of January 1, 2018, this means his net holdings are worth $37.3 billion, launching him to the 15th spot on the list of richest Americans.
The current Ripple CEO is Brad Garlinghouse, who owns a reported 6.3% stake in the company, as well as additional XRP tokens. His net worth, based on the current rate, would be nearly $10 billion, placing him in the mid-50s on Forbes' list of wealthiest Americans.
Chris Larsen and Brad Garlinghouse may have seen the greatest benefits from their Ripple holdings, but they are not the only ones who have profited significantly from XRP's stellar gains.
Jed McCaleb, another Ripple co-founder, left the company in 2013 but retains 5.3 billion XRP as of February 2016. Because of an agreement which limits his daily trading volume, he is not able to access all of these holdings; otherwise, he would also be a billionaire.
Ripple Spiked 30,000% Year-Over-Year
Ripple is based in San Francisco and makes use of blockchain technology to facilitate international financial transactions. Ripple gained about 30,000% from the start of 2017 to the start of 2018. In the process, it passed Ethereum's ether token as the second-largest digital currency by market capitalization.
Early investors in all types of digital currencies are watching their net worths balloon as bitcoin, ether, and Ripple, among other digital currencies, all post massive gains and set new price records. (See also: The Winklevoss Twins Are Bitcoin's First Billionaires.)
While many of the newly-created digital currency millionaires owe their fortunes to investments in bitcoin, the world's largest digital currency by market cap is not the only one which has made some individuals very wealthy. Specifically, the significant gains that Ripple (XRP) has posted in recent months may have added significantly to the wealth of certain developers and stakeholders. (See more: Ripple Is Emerging as a Stable and Trusted 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. As of the date this article was written, the author owns cryptocurrency.