Ripple, the payments company that's developing a blockchain-based system for banks, sold $91.6 million worth of digital currency XRP in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of last year's 29,631 percent price surge.
Trading volume in the quarter jumped more than 35,000 percent to an average of over $807 million a day from $2.28 million in the same period a year earlier, Ripple said on Wednesday.
"XRP markets ended the year with a statement — one that will likely be remembered as a defining milestone in XRP's history," the company said.
For Ripple, which owns about 60 percent of all the XRP in existence, the sudden excitement for cryptocurrencies and all things blockchain has been a huge boon to the start-up's balance sheet. In total, Ripple used XRP sales to bring in over $180 million last year, without having to give up any equity in the company.
That gives Ripple a significant cash cushion as it tries to sell its software to financial institutions and provides some protection in case the price of XRP crashes.
It's been a wild ride so far to start 2018. After starting the year at $2.30, XRP quickly shot up to a high of $3.84 on Jan. 4, before tumbling below $1.12 days later. The currency currently sits at $1.35, which translates into about $81 billion worth of holdings for Ripple.