- The Economist, Bitcoin is no longer the only game in crypto-currency town (Jan. 13, 2018)
First on the list, after bitcoin, was Ethereum, whose coin, called ether, reached a market capitalisation of $137bn. Ethereum’s claim to fame is that it is also a platform for “smart contracts”-business rules encapsulated in software. Most ICO tokens, for instance, are issued by such contracts. Its success has attracted crypto-copycats: Cardano ($20bn) and NEO ($8bn), a Chinese version.
Ripple, too, is defying gravity. It is all the rage in crypto-crazy South Korea, which this week roiled crypto-markets with plans to ban trading on exchanges. Ripple sells software to move money between countries; more than 100 banks have signed up to its technology, based on a coin called XRP. Its market capitalisation jumped by more than 40,000% in 2017, reaching nearly $149bn on January 4th, before falling back to $78bn. That still makes Chris Larsen, a Ripple co-founder, one of the world’s richest people, at least on digital paper.