Forbes 400 is annual publication by the financial media stalwart, ranking wealthiest Americans, and this year there is a notable newcomer on the list. Ripple’s executive Chris Larsen has barely made the cut, landing on the 383rd spot. This feat is important as Larsen became the first Forbes 400 member who made his fortune almost entirely from cryptocurrencies.
The magazine estimates Larsen’s net worth to be around $2.1 billion. However, during the early days of 2018, at the time when Ripple and its native XRP token were skyrocketing alongside most other digital currencies, Forbes gave him a net worth of around $37 billion, making him the 15th wealthiest American. XRP was trading at $2.39 at the time. A month later, Forbes released their first ever Crypto Rich List, which was comfortably topped by Larsen, although his net worth had already sharply decreased to $7.5 billion, as the crypto markets started to decline.
Reportedly, Larsen owns 5.2 million XRP tokens in addition to a 17 percent stake in Ripple Labs, the company which develops Ripple payment protocol. His appearance in the Forbes 400 seems to be caused by the recent spike of XRP. The token doubled its value in the span of two weeks from $0.27 in mid-September to trade at $0.58 at the start of October, in anticipation of Ripple’s Swell conference, keynoted by Bill Clinton and the announcement of xRapid. XRP has declined by around 20 percent since then, trading at $0.48 at press time.
Larsen co-founded Ripple back in 2012, together with Jed McCaleb, founder of the infamous Mt. Gox crypto exchange. He stepped down as the company’s CEO in 2016, passing the role to Brad Garlinghouse. Nonetheless, he retained his influence over the company by taking on the executive chairman role. The net worth of Garlinghouse was estimated to be $9.5 billion in January but has since fallen below the threshold needed to make the list.
Forbes 400 for this year reflects the astronomical rise of Amazon, as its CEO Jeff Bezos claimed the first spot, ending Bill Gates’ 24-year-long reign at the top. Bezos gained a mouth-watering $78.5 billion in just one year, taking his total net worth to $160 billion, an all-time record by a country mile.
Luisa Kroll and Kerry Dolan, editors of Forbes 400 said that, “We’re seeing more billionaires than ever before, thanks in part to the strong stock market and continuing tech boom. For the first time, more than a third of U.S. billionaires were too poor to make this elite list of the nation’s 400 richest.“
Two crypto naysayers occupy the remaining two spots in the top 3, with Bill Gates being joined by his good friend and investment tycoon Warren Buffett. Earlier this year, Gates called bitcoin a “greater fool’s investment”, while Buffett went one further, claiming bitcoin is “worse than rat poison.”
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I have been following the crypto markets since mid 2017, just in time to witness the incredible surge of the digital asset industry. Fascinated by the potential of blockchain technology I’ve started to dig deeper and that’s how I ended up meeting the Toshi Times team. I hold a Political Science degree, therefore the crypto regulation development is particularly interesting for me. I’m also heavily involved with music, running my own label, a YouTube channel and working with distribution. People call blockchain the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ and I believe it will change our daily lives in the coming years and we will have the front row seats to witness it.