Bitcoin-mania is running mild baby, because despite being the talk of the town when it came to cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin wasn't the best performing digital currency for 2017. In fact, its 1,000 percent rise wasn't even enough to put it among the 10 best-performing cryptoassets of 2017.
In a year where fortunes were made and lost in the cryptocurrency trading, Ripple took the title for best performing digital currency thanks to XRP's meteoric rise in value. The currency gained 36,018 percent last year compared to just 1,318 gained by Bitcoin.
The currency's rise has potentially catapulted its creator, Chris Larsen, high up in the list of the world's richest people. Larsen, who currently owns 5.19 billion XRP coins, could very well be sitting on a $12.82 billion fortune.
XRP was created by Larsen and Ripple to enable "secure, instantly and nearly free global financial transactions of any size with no chargebacks." XRP is now the second-most valuable crypto-coin by market capitalisation and has a number of potential advantages over Bitcoin which is currently the largest.
For one, Ripple's technology allows for a much faster transfer meaning that it has the potential to scale much larger. In contrast, Bitcoin has experienced transaction-related problems thanks to its popularity with many transactions taking over an hour to process. The strain on the network also jacked up transaction costs making it a less appealing mode of payment for both consumers and merchants.
Ripple has already formed partnerships with dozens of established financial players including American Express and UBS. There's also the potential for Russia to be involved as the country is now looking to cryptocurrencies as a way to evade international sanctions.
Fledgeling crypto-coins are also gaining huge traction with the ICO (initial coin offering) craze attracting over $3.7 billion in funds in 2017. Surprisingly, big names like Golem and OmiseGo fell behind lesser-known players such as Ardor which has gained 16,809 percent in value in the past year.
The cryptocurrency market is expected to expand in 2018 which means more booms and busts are bound to happen. While many still have a bullish outlook on Bitcoin and other digital currency's many experts hold firm in their warning that the current market could very well be a repeat of the countless bubbles that occurred in the past.