Cryptocurrencies surged as optimism spread surrounding Ripple Labs Inc.’s plans for using a digital coin, lifting peers that have lost more than $600 billion of value since January.
XRP, the cryptocurrency commonly referred to as Ripple, surged as much as 39 percent to double its price from a week ago. The Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index jumped 15 percent, heading for its biggest one-day gain since mid-July. Ether and Litecoin were both up more than 7.5 percent and Bitcoin, the biggest by market value, rose 5.5 percent.
Ripple Labs may launch a service that will use the digital currency “in the next month or so,” one of Ripple’s executives told CNBC on Monday. Called xRapid, the service lets financial companies such as payment providers speed up money transfers into emerging markets using XRP, which Ripple says is an independent digital asset. A Ripple spokeswoman said Thursday that there isn’t an official commercial release timeline at this point.
Virtual currencies have struggled to gain a foothold among institutions in part because most banks and payment companies experimenting with blockchain technology don’t consider it necessary to use digital coins for the transactions.
While far outperforming bigger rivals such as Bitcoin and Ether this week, XRP is still down by more than 50 percent from its 2018 intraday high. It was up 41 percent to 57 U.S. cents as of 9:34 a.m. in New York, according to Bloomberg composite pricing. The value of virtual currencies tracked by CoinMarketCap.com has dropped to $22 billion from about $835 billion at their January peak.
XRP was released on a distributed ledger in June 2012, with 100 billion XRP created before Ripple the company was formed in September 2012. After Ripple was founded, the creators of XRP gifted a substantial amount of it to the company. Ripple owned about 60 billion XRP, with the majority of it held in escrow, as of July, according to information listed on the company’s website.
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