Ripple has become the second most valuable cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin.

Unlike Bitcoin, Ripple has links to existing financial institutions having been set up to speed up payments between banks. The Bank of America and UBS are among the 100-plus banks to sign up to use its payments system.

The overall value of Ripple rose to more than £74 billion over the weekend after three Japanese credit card companies signed up to use it to handle payments and South Korean and Japanese banks announced a pilot project to use it to handle cross-border payments.

Each Ripple coin is now worth about $2.34, compared with half a cent a year ago. Each Bitcoin is worth $13,580.

Another difference with other virtual currencies such as Bitcoin is that Ripple coins are not ‘mined’ by members of the network as transactions are processed by them. The tokens are being released as the network is increasingly used.