Ripple: Bitcoin rival suddenly doubles in value in extraordinary price surge

The cryptocurrency market has experienced a dramatic surge, with bitcoin, ethereum and ripple rising in price by between 5 per cent and 100 per cent over the last 48 hours.

Ripple (XRP) saw the biggest gains, doubling in price since Wednesday to rise above $0.50 for the first time since June.

The world’s third most valuable cryptocurrency is notoriously prone to rapid price rises and falls, peaking above $3.80 in January before a sudden crash.

Bitcoin’s volatile history in pictures

1/8 Satoshi Nakamoto creates the first bitcoin block in 2009

On 3 January, 2009, the genesis block of bitcoin appeared. It came less than a year after the pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto detailed the cryptocurrency in a paper titled ‘Bitcoin: A peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’

Reuters

2/8 Bitcoin is used as a currency for the first time

On 22 May, 2010, the first ever real-world bitcoin transaction took place. Lazlo Hanyecz bought two pizzas for 10,000 bitcoins – the equivalent of $90 million at today’s prices

Lazlo Hanyecz

3/8 Silk Road opens for business

Bitcoin soon gained notoriety for its use on the dark web. The Silk Road marketplace, established in 2011, was the first of hundreds of sites to offer illegal drugs and services in exchange for bitcoin

4/8 The first bitcoin ATM appears

On 29 October, 2013, the first ever bitcoin ATM was installed in a coffee shop in Vancouver, Canada. The machine allowed people to exchange bitcoins for cash

REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis

5/8 The fall of MtGox

The world’s biggest bitcoin exchange, MtGox, filed for bankruptcy in February 2014 after losing almost 750,000 of its customers bitcoins. At the time, this was around 7 per cent of all bitcoins and the market inevitably crashed

Getty Images

6/8 Would the real Satoshi Nakamoto please stand up

In 2015, Australian police raided the home of Craig Wright after the entrepreneur claimed he was Satoshi Nakamoto. He later rescinded the claim

Getty Images

7/8 Bitcoin’s big split

On 1 August, 2017, an unresolvable dispute within the bitcoin community saw the network split. The fork of bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology spawned a new cryptocurrency: Bitcoin cash

REUTERS

8/8 Bitcoin’s price sky rockets

Towards the end of 2017, the price of bitcoin surged to almost $20,000. This represented a 1,300 per cent increase from its price at the start of the year

Reuters

1/8 Satoshi Nakamoto creates the first bitcoin block in 2009

On 3 January, 2009, the genesis block of bitcoin appeared. It came less than a year after the pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto detailed the cryptocurrency in a paper titled ‘Bitcoin: A peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’

Reuters

2/8 Bitcoin is used as a currency for the first time

On 22 May, 2010, the first ever real-world bitcoin transaction took place. Lazlo Hanyecz bought two pizzas for 10,000 bitcoins – the equivalent of $90 million at today’s prices

Lazlo Hanyecz

3/8 Silk Road opens for business

Bitcoin soon gained notoriety for its use on the dark web. The Silk Road marketplace, established in 2011, was the first of hundreds of sites to offer illegal drugs and services in exchange for bitcoin

4/8 The first bitcoin ATM appears

On 29 October, 2013, the first ever bitcoin ATM was installed in a coffee shop in Vancouver, Canada. The machine allowed people to exchange bitcoins for cash

REUTERS/Dimitris Michalakis

5/8 The fall of MtGox

The world’s biggest bitcoin exchange, MtGox, filed for bankruptcy in February 2014 after losing almost 750,000 of its customers bitcoins. At the time, this was around 7 per cent of all bitcoins and the market inevitably crashed

Getty Images

6/8 Would the real Satoshi Nakamoto please stand up

In 2015, Australian police raided the home of Craig Wright after the entrepreneur claimed he was Satoshi Nakamoto. He later rescinded the claim

Getty Images

7/8 Bitcoin’s big split

On 1 August, 2017, an unresolvable dispute within the bitcoin community saw the network split. The fork of bitcoin’s underlying blockchain technology spawned a new cryptocurrency: Bitcoin cash

REUTERS

8/8 Bitcoin’s price sky rockets

Towards the end of 2017, the price of bitcoin surged to almost $20,000. This represented a 1,300 per cent increase from its price at the start of the year

Reuters

Cryptocurrency experts and market analysts have struggled to explain the sudden market shift, though many have pointed to the development of xRapid – a new product related to ripple.

Developers of xRapid say the technology could help banks to significantly speed up transactions using ripple. Rumours that the product was close to launch appeared to be confirmed by a pattern of high-value transactions involving ripple.

“The high transaction values, coupled with market sentiment following the announcement on Monday could indeed be the reason why XRP reached new highs, having gained nearly 50 per cent in the last 24 hours,” said Ed Cooper, head of mobile at the digital banking firm Revolut. 

“While this is great news for many crypto enthusiasts, and especially for XRP fans, it remains to be seen if the bullish trend will prevail, given the current market conditions that have seen nearly all cyrptocurrencies losing a great deal of their value since the beginning of the year.”

This speculation was reinforced by Matthew Newton, an analyst at the trading firm eToro, who said the cryptocurrency had more exposure than bitcoin on its platform.

“The stars seem to have aligned for XRP today. News that Ripple’s xRapid product may be imminent, combined with a few timely partnership announcements, has created a definite buzz which is impacting price,” Mr Newton said.

“Despite being one the most polarising cryptos of them all, eToro customers can’t get enough of XRP at the moment; it has more exposure than any other asset on our platform. As we’ve seen in the past, the price tends to move in short, sharp bursts, picking up a lot of momentum when the hype builds. It remains to be seen how much further it could go.”

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