FACTBOX-Bitcoin may be king, but Ripple dark horse in crypto race

Jan 3 (Reuters) - Bitcoin was the star of the white-knuckle ride cryptocurrencies offered in 2017 but lesser-known names, such as Ripple and Ethereum, are seen gaining prominence in 2018. While bitcoin jumped more than 1,200 percent last year, Ripple, created by the founder of bitcoin exchange Mt Gox, surged 35,000 percent in the same period. That means $100 invested in Ripple in January 2017 would have grown to about $35,000 at the start of this year. To be sure, bitcoin is still the biggest cryptocurrency by far - with market value exceeding $250 billion - and is expected to keep that mantle in the months to come. Here is a list of the top 10 cryptocurrencies - including bitcoin - and how they performed in 2017:

Name & Percentage Trading About the Symbol gain in price as of cryptocurrency 2017 Wednesday Ripple About $2.73 Launched in 2012, (XRP) 35,000 Ripple had a market cap percent of $91.79 billion as of

Tuesday, second after Bitcoin. It is used by companies such as UBS and Santander as payment technology. In November 2017, American Express

Co also

launched an instant blockchain-based payment system using Ripple.

NEM (XEM) About $1.27 Launched in 2015, NEM 29,000 is a peer-to-peer percent cryptocurrency

platform. It is used in a commercial blockchain called Mijin, tested mainly in Japan, by financial institutions and private companies.

Stellar Close to About $0.76 Released in early 2014, (XLM) 14,000 Stellar comes in at percent number three in terms

of percentage growth in 2017. In October 2017, Stellar and IBM entered into a deal aimed at improving the speed of global payments.

Dash About 9,300 $1,162.84 Originally launched as (DASH) percent XCoin in early 2014,

Dash got its name in March 2015. It offers instant transactions. Transactions done with Dash get confirmed in seconds, whereas Bitcoin transaction can take up to 10 minutes to confirm.

Ethereum About 9,200 $879.91 Unlike Bitcoin, (ETH) percent Ethereum's main aim is

to operate 'smart contacts', instead of acting as a form of money. Smart contracts are scripts of code that can be deployed in Ethereum blockchain.

Litecoin About 4,800 $250.31 Introduced in October (LTC) percent 2011, Litecoin is very

similar to bitcoin. It is number six in terms of market cap, according to coinmarketcap.

Cardano Close to About $0.99 Cardano was founded in (ADA) 3,000 2014 and began trading percent on Bittrex exchange in

October 2017. Within three months, it has garnered a market cap of over $18.6 billion, to secure itself at the fifth position (in terms of market cap).

Bitcoin Over 1,200 $15,003.90 Invented by an unknown (BTC) percent person/group called

Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin was released in January 2009. Bitcoins are created by mining and was the first decentralized cryptocurency.

Bitcoin Over 500 $2,748.33 Born from bitcoin Cash (BCH) percent itself, Bitcoin Cash is

a segregated version of bitcoin that was released on Aug. 1, 2017. Bitcoin Cash was branched out to increase the blocksize limit to 8 MB and allow faster transactions.

IOTA Over 450 $4.03 IOTA was introduced in (MIOTA) percent June 2016 and started

trading on Bitfinex in June 2017. With a market cap of about $11.19 billion, it is ranked ninth, according to coinmarketcap.

(Compiled by Pallavi Dewan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)