Say Hello To The Richest Person In Cryptocurrency: Ripple’s Chris Larsen

Chris Larsen, Cofounder, Ripple

Crypto Net Worth: $7.5 billion – $8 billion*

The richest man in crypto is Chris Larsen, a Stanford M.B.A., and veteran Silicon Valley operator who at the January market peak fleetingly had a fortune of some $20 billion, the bulk of it derived from his 5.2 billion XRP, the token of Ripple, the company he co-founded with Jed McCaleb in 2012 to facilitate international payments for banks using blockchain technology. His company controls 61 billion of the 100 billion XRP in supply.

Forbes is calculating his net worth based solely on the XRP he owns personally and the value of his 17% stake in Ripple, against the company’s most recent valuation: $410 million. Ripple counts Mitsubishi Financial, Bank of America and Santander among its 100-plus customers.

A serial entrepreneur, Larsen, 57, co-founded the online mortgage lender e-Loan, in 1997, and, eight years later, Prosper, the peer-to-peer lender that has been valued at more than $1 billion. He seems to have hit it bigger here, even if XRP is nothing more than a speculation vehicle — and one that’s down 65% since the beginning of the year.

While Larsen stepped down from the company more than a year ago, he still serves as executive chairman and tells Forbes he’s “100% focused on Ripple and helping the team any way I can.” Given these kinds of numbers, he’d be crazy not to.