Money & Power

Meet the Cryptocurrency Billionaire Who Might Be Worth More than the Google Founders

Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen had $59 billion (on paper) this week.

For a moment yesterday, Chris Larsen was one of the five richest people in America.

The co-founder of Ripple, a virtual currency and Bitcoin rival, was worth $59 billion on paper yesterday, according to figures cited by the New York Times and Forbes. Larsen is the largest holder of Ripple's currency, XRP, which was trading at a high of $3.84 yesterday (the value has since decreased to around $3).

A net worth of $59 billion would put Larsen at number five, higher than Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, on Forbes's 2017 list of the world's billionaires, and ahead of Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin on the publication's real-time list.

Forbes notes that Larsen, who stepped down from his CEO post in November 2016 and now serves as executive chairman of the cryptocurrency company, owns 5.19 billion XRP and holds a 17 percent stake in the company. 

The Winklevoss brothers have reportedly become the world's first Bitcoin billionaires.

Born in San Francisco in 1960, Larsen went to college at San Francisco State University and earned an M.B.A at Stanford Graduate School of Business in 1991. Before Ripple, he co-founded and served as CEO of two other companies: E-LOAN, a mortgage lending website, and, a peer-to-peer lending marketplace.

A 2004 SFSU profile said that Larsen's wife, Lyna Lam, owned Café Panini in Berkeley, and that the couple was "helping members of a Cambodian Buddhist community in San Jose, most recently in their effort to obtain a space to build a Buddhist temple."

*This story originally appeared on
*Minor edits have been made by the editors

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