Digital Payments

Ripple Co-Founder Now Fifth-Richest Person In America

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 Thursday (Jan. 4), his stake is worth around $59.9 billion. As a result, Larsen is the fifth-richest person in the U.S., pushing out Oracle Head Larry Ellison, who is worth $58.4 billion and was fifth on 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.

In November, American Express announced it has become a member of RippleNet, the blockchain network operated by Ripple that provides real-time, business-to-business (B2B) global payments. On its website, Ripple said American Express joins Credit Agricole, Airwallex and Cuallix, among others.

According to Ripple, American Express FX International Payments will partner with Santander U.K. to create a transaction channel between the U.S. and U.K. for the first time. Given the U.S. is the U.K.’s biggest trading partner, there is thus a need to create “frictionless” commercial global payments in the U.K. The partnership between American Express FX International Payments and Santander U.K. will help American Express streamline cross-border B2B payments and have a bigger presence in the U.K.

“We’ve already seen evidence that blockchain technology is playing a transformational role in the way customers are served,” said Greg Keeley, executive vice president of Global Corporate Payments at American Express. “Not only does this partnership with Ripple help decrease the time it takes for international transactions to be processed, it can make our transactions more effective for our customers.”

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