By Mike Murphy
Actor and tech investor Ashton Kutcher surprised Ellen DeGeneres on Wednesday with a $4 million gift — in cryptocurrency.
The comedian and talk-show host received the donation to her wildlife charity in Ripple’s XRP tokens /zigman2/quotes/108573966/realtime XRPUSD -1.75% for her 60th birthday, live on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” on Comcast Corp.’s /zigman2/quotes/209472081/composite CMCSA +0.98% NBC.
“Usually people come out with the big, giant check and do the big giant check thing,” Kutcher said, noting the donation was on behalf of Ripple. “But . . . all we have to do is push this button and it’s in your account.”
“I’d like to push it,” a shocked and grateful DeGeneres said. “I’d like to push it real good.”
Ripple is the third-largest cryptocurrency, with a market cap of about $24.7 billion, according to Coinmarketcap.com, although its value has dropped about 80% since its high point in January. Ripple’s price slipped 0.7% Thursday, to about 63 cents.
Kutcher is a noted investor who has put seed money in such companies as Airbnb, Uber Technologies Inc. and Spotify /zigman2/quotes/207488629/composite SPOT +2.04% .
“We found this company, and we thought it was really, really interesting,” Kutcher said of Ripple. He’s not the only one — San Francisco-based Ripple has partnerships with American Express Co. /zigman2/quotes/203805826/composite AXP +0.85% , MoneyGram International /zigman2/quotes/208548401/composite MGI +2.22% , UBS Group /zigman2/quotes/206172872/composite UBS -2.50% and Banco Santander /zigman2/quotes/202859081/composite SAN +0.55% , among others.