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The Rise of Ripple: Cryptocurrency Price Surges 33%

A visual representation of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Jordan Mansfield—Getty Images

Ripple, the cryptocurrency designed for banks and global money transfers, is making history this month. XRP, as Ripple’s token is called, surpassed $1 for the first time Dec. 21 and quintupled its market cap to more than $50 billion between Wednesday and Friday of that week.

On Friday, the cryptocurrency swelled 33% to hit a high of $1.90. The value settled to $1.85 as of 2:15 p.m Eastern time.

Overall, Ripple has risen 28,000%—yes, you read that right—this year to become the world’s third most valuable cryptocurrency, according to data from CoinMarketCap, a cryptocurrency price tracker.

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Why has Ripple gone from a rather unchanged cryptocurrency to one with a collective market cap of $71.4 billion?

It’s not totally clear. Ripple avoided some of the downward swings afflicting other cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin this past week. However, the price rise could be due to recent partnerships with banks like American Express and new hires from Facebook and elsewhere. Hedge funds are also devoted to it. It could also be attributed to Japan, a nation that has been outwardly friendly toward cryptocurrencies.

Either way, Fortune’s Robert Hackett has a nifty explainer on how you buy Ripple. Not that you should, mind you—cryptocurrencies have proven to be an awfully volatile investment.

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