Western Union Ripple Rumor Sends Stocks Roaring

Western Union is reportedly gearing up to embrace Ripple’s blockchain technology.

According to a report in Ripple News, citing an unnamed source, Western Union could adopt the XRP technology at some point in 2018. The comments came as a public feud broke out on Twitter after a New York Times article was critical of Ripple technology. Ripple countered the story in a tweet, saying that three of the top five money transfer companies plan to use XRP in payment flows this year. Ripple News noted that Western Union joined a pilot program with Ripple Labs two years ago.

Separately, Forbes reported that the price of Ripple’s cryptocurrency XRP declined more than 25 percent after Coinbase said it would not be offering the cryptocurrency on its exchange, ending a rumor that had been swirling. “As of the date of this statement, we have made no decision to add additional assets to either GDAX or Coinbase. Any statement to the contrary is untrue and not authorized by the company,” Coinbase said in a statement.

While there is controversy surrounding Ripple and its prospects, Chris Larsen, the co-founder and executive chairman of Ripple, is now among the five richest people in the U.S. after a surge in its cryptocurrency, XRP, over the past few weeks.

According to a report in CNBC, citing Forbes, Larsen holds 5.19 billion of Ripple’s XRP digital coin and a 17 percent stake in the company. With XRP hitting $3.84 on Thursday (Jan. 4), that puts Larsen’s stake at around $59.9 billion. As a result, Larsen is currently the fifth-richest person in the U.S., pushing out Oracle head Larry Ellison, who is worth $58.4 billion and was fifth on the Forbes 400 list. Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Facebook, is the fourth-richest, worth $74.4 billion.

XRP jumped 35,500 percent to $2.30 in 2017, showing a larger gain than bitcoin and Ethereum, both of which had a strong surge last year. Ripple is using blockchain technology to develop a payment network that more than 100 financial institutions are currently using.