Chris who? Cryptocurrency Ripple founder briefly overtakes Mark Zuckerberg to become the world’s fifth richest man

Sunday, January 7, 2018
By Paul Martin

Chris Larsen founded cryptocurrency Ripple, which peaked at £2.80 last week
American is said to own 5.2bn Ripple tokens and a wealth estimated at £44bn
Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos and Amancio Ortega ranked ahead of him

7 January 2018

You are unlikely to have heard of him, but Chris Larsen last week briefly overtook Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg to become the world’s fifth richest man.

Larsen co-founded the cryptocurrency Ripple, which peaked at £2.80 last week – up from 15p early last month.

The American is said to own 5.2 billion Ripple tokens and a 17 per cent stake in Ripple Labs, the firm behind them, pushing his estimated wealth close to $60 billion (£44 billion) – at the time making him fifth in Forbes’ ranking.

Only Microsoft’s Bill Gates, investor Warren Buffett, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Zara’s Amancio Ortega were ahead of him in the global wealth stakes.

However, Michael Hewson of trader CMC Markets said: ‘It’s only worth that amount if he can sell for a cash equivalent. That’s the big risk at the moment.’

Figures obtained by The Mail on Sunday show crime involving Ripple’s rival Bitcoin has trebled in the City.

Some 1,000 crimes relating to Bitcoin were reported to the City of London Police last year, including 500 in the past four months alone, up from 320 in the whole of 2016.

The most high profile cryptocurrency is Bitcoin and its price has rocketed over the past 12 months. Bitcoin started 2017 at $985 and rose to almost $20,000 on the weekend of 16 December before crashing back to $14,000 by 22 December.

It fell to $12,600 over the New Year weekend and this week regained some ground to rise back up to $17,000. The price stands at $16,500, today.

Those buying into cryptocurrencies have been warned that they are trading a bubble and can expect huge volatility in prices and potentially being unable to get their money out if there is a rush to the exit.

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