As we know, Bitcoin has made a lot of people pretty rich, a good number of people very rich and a few people ridiculously wealthy. But while Bitcoin is the dominant cryptocurrency, there are others snapping at its heels and one has almost caught up.

Ripple is its name and it's catapulted in value even more than Bitcoin has recently, to the point that its value has risen over 30,000 percent in the last year. By comparison, Bitcoin has only risen 1,506 percent in the last year.

Chris Larsen, co-founder of of Ripple. Credit: Ripple
Chris Larsen, co-founder of of Ripple. Credit: Ripple

Granted, one Bitcoin is equivalent to many more dollars (or pounds) than one Ripple token. At current rates, one Bitcoin is worth about $16,000 (£11,800). One Ripple token is worth $3.25 (£2.40) - which equates to 0.00020147 BTC. But price and value are very different and just because the currency unit isn't worth as much, doesn't mean the currency isn't worth a lot.

As a case in point, Chris Larsen - a co-founder of Ripple who is apparently the largest holder of Ripple tokens - briefly overtook Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg as the fifth wealthiest person in the world. Forbes estimated his worth to be $59 billion (£43.5bn). Alright for some, isn't it?

Credit: Ripple
Credit: Ripple

He's not the only Ripple holder to fly up that list, but he's the one who went the furthest. It goes without saying that now is probably a good time to invest in Ripple, while it's still relatively affordable, but that - unlike Bitcoin - you'll probably need a whole bunch of them for it to really pay off. Or maybe not. Who knows? Not us, so don't take our advice.

Of course, Ripple is far from the only other cryptocurrency out there. There's Ethereum, Litecoin, Einsteinium (what?) and Byteball (really?). Those last two have also seen significant spikes in price, all of which has led to fears that this is one huge cryptocurrency bubble that's just waiting to burst.

Mark Zuckerberg. Credit: PA
Mark Zuckerberg. Credit: PA

According tothe New York Times, there are almost 40 virtual currencies worth more than $1bn (£738m) - if you count every token in existence at its current value - but most of them are used for speculative trading rather than being turned into cold, hard cash.

Still, bubble or otherwise, it seems like cryptocurrencies have long moved past their shady origins and have truly infiltrated the mainstream consciousness. Which likely means they're here to stay - even if their current values (sorry, prices) aren't.

Featured Image Credit: Ripple / PA

Mischa Pearlman

Mischa is a freelance journalist usually based in either New York or London. He has written for Kerrang!, Record Collector, NME, the New York Observer and FLOOD magazine, among others. Contact him at [email protected]

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