Research released this week by cryptocurrency data company Messari is questioning the actual size of Ripple’s market cap. The report claims that XRP’s total market cap is billions below the number listed by both the company and data aggregators.

A quick investigation on our end resulted in two contradicting numbers from two popular services. Crypto Compare lists XRP’s market cap at nearly $31 billion. CoinMarketCap, on the other hand, lists it dramatically lower, at $13 billion.

A deeper look revealed that the difference between the two numbers is in the way they’re calculated:

Crypto Compare calculates the market cap like this: current asset price X total number of the asset = market capitalization.

CoinMarketCap calculates it slightly differently, like this: current asset price X total circulating supply of assets = market capitalization.

Hang on, there’s more. Messari’s research introduces yet another number. Using CoinMarketCap’s formula, their report estimates that the “total circulating supply of assets” is much lower, $19.2 billion lower. That’s because their research has led them to believe an even greater number of XRP’s supply is out of circulation, or in their words, “illiquid or subject to significant selling restrictions.”  If true, this implies that Ripple’s true circulating supply is 21.8 billion, and its market cap $6.9 billion.

Included in the report’s estimated illiquid positions are 2.5 billion XRP held by nonprofit foundation RippleWorks and an additional 5.9 billion XRP that the company has pledged to donate. Messari also believes that the 4.1 billion XRP sold by Ripple’s money services business could also be subject to re-selling restrictions.

Ripple, however, is denying Messari’s report. A spokesperson for the company stated:

"Not only does this report contain several inaccurate assumptions around lockups and selling restrictions, the entire report is based on an incorrect calculation of market cap. While decentralized digital assets like XRP are different from traditional equities, the term 'market cap' is always a very simple calculation: current price X total number of the asset = market capitalization. That puts XRP's current market cap at approximately $31 billion. We believe that any other calculation of market capitalization for XRP is not a clear representation of the truth.”

If nothing else, the contradicting numbers from all parties illuminate an important topic: decentralization and the differences between an asset like XRP (which is largely managed by a company) and an asset like BTC (which primarily runs on its own).


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