Ripple XRP is the digital currency to emerge from Bitcoin’s shadow at the start of a new year. Its surging market cap at $89bn at 06:54 on Tuesday according to Coinmarketcap.com puts it in second place behind Bitcoin.
Although Bitcoin’s current market cap of $225bn dwarfs Ripple, the alt coin emerges just ahead of Ethereum’s $85bn.
The digital currency's over 20,000% return since end of 2016 at $0.64 still stuns. On Tuesday at 0:54 Ripple was up 2.10% to $2.30.
Spike in interest and price
Despite the rocky end of the year for bitcoin which saw some wild swings, San Francisco-based Ripple has seen a spike in both interest and price after three Japanese credit card companies announced that they would use blockchain technology at the end of December.
Ripple’s focus on using XRP to drag global payments into the 21st century is garnering it increasing headlines not to mention pushing up its price. News that Tokyo-based SBI Holdings and its subsidiary SBI Ripple Asia formed a consortium with other Japanese credit card companies to use the technology saw a 20% rise in its price.
XRP connects banks and payment providers with swifter access, instant settlement (according to the Ripple payments settle in 4 seconds against Bitcoin’s 1 hour plus and Etherium’s 2 plus mins) and scalability at a fraction of the cost.
The digital asset is available on over 50 exchanges. Earlier in December the company announced a launch with The Japan Bank Consortium (of 61 banks) of a Ripple pilot with two of South Korea's largest banks moving money between the two countries over RippleNet.
The consortium is also exploring the institutional use of XRP for sourcing on-demand liquidity for cross-border payments.
Ripple's Daniel Aranda, managing director for Europe sees cryptocurrency and digital assets as an important tool for liquidity management to help banks free up capital they hold to meet payments around the world. Aranda noted on an FT interview that it was "going to a be a great way to fund that liquidity".