XRP, the cryptocurrency with one of the worst performances of the yearr, ose nearly 190 percent last week, nearly tripling its valuation, according to data from CoinMarketCap.com.

XRP Gains Big After Lackluster YTD Performance

The weekly gain was bolstered by a spike of around 75 percent on Friday alone. Compared to the opening price of 45 cents per token on Friday, XRP hit a high of 77 cents, meaning its market capitalization of around $26.8 billion helped it briefly surge past Ethereum to become the second most valuable cryptocurrency.

Prior to last week, XRP had lost nearly 90 percent of its value compared to its peak this year. XRP hit a high of $3.84 early January, and since then it has had a consistent downward ride.

The XRP cryptocurrency is often confused with and at times mistakenly called Ripple, though the latter is a financial technology firm that offers solutions for payment processing. It has partnered with leading financial companies across the globe, including Santander and American Express, for its product called xCurrent. XRP is an independent cryptocurrency that can be used on Ripple's platforms. Ripple owns the bulk of XRP tokens. (See also, Ripple, Santander Launch App for Intl. Transfers.)

What’s Leading the XRP Surge?

The spike in XRP valuation was triggered by market rumors of a potentially new product developed by Ripple called xRapid. xRapid is targeted at helping banks speed up transactions through the use of the cryptocurrency XRP. As a bridge between currencies for timely processing of cross-border payments, the xRapid product will use XRP tokens, which is expected to bump up the cryptocurrency usage leading to wider adoption.

"I am very confident that in the next one month or so you will see some good news coming in where we launch the product live in production," Sagar Sarbhai, head of regulatory relations for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East at Ripple told CNBC. He further added that more than 120 banks have partnered with Ripple and are exploring or using the blockchain-based product xCurrent, which is offers features to settle global transactions and is used to track and confirm each phase of a cross-border payment in real-time.

Its client base includes established firms like The Western Union Co. (WU) and MoneyGram International Inc. (MGI), along with payment startups like Cuallix, MercuryFX, and Viamericas. This week, U.S. major bank PNC became the latest to adopt Ripple’s blockchain technology solutions for cross-border transactions, though without the use of XRP tokens. Another major progress was reported last fortnight with the Ripple-powered MoneyTap app expected to soon connect more than 60 Japanese banks. (For more, see MoneyTap To Connect 60 Japanese Banks with Ripple.)

Both Ripple and XRP will be closely watched for the potential developments. The crypto has partially given up its last week’s gains and was trading at $0.46 on Tuesday morning ET, and remains the third most valued token.