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

Anthony Cuthbertson

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

XRP – the digital asset of US tech firm Ripple – 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.

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 XRP. 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.

The cryptocurrency XRP has exploded in price (REUTERS)

He added: “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."