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In October, a five-year-old company called Ripple boasted that it was one of America’s “most valuable start-ups . . . after Uber, Airbnb, Palantir and WeWork”. Although its core finance technology business has not done much disrupting yet, cryptocurrency mania was growing the value of XRP, the digital coin created by Ripple’s founders and whose supply the company still controlled. XRP’s price rose 36,000 per cent during 2017, challenging bitcoin’s market value, giving Ripple an XRP hoard worth $200bn by Christmas. More….