Ripple has further enhanced its rapidly-growing blockchain-based remittance platform, in Asia and globally.
This week, the San-Fransisco firm announced it was extending its Asia-Middle East network via two Emirates-based remittance businesses, UAE Exchange and Unimoni, that would link with the Siam Commercial Bank in Thailand (SCB) using Ripple’s blockchain-led platform.
“We are excited to see this collaboration go live, allowing customers in any part of the world to send live payments to Thailand,” said Navin Gupta, Managing Director, South Asia and MENA, at Ripple.
The new platform was also announced by Finablr, the global payment and foreign exchange platform that owns UAE Exchange and Unimoni, and also lists Travelex, Xpress Money, Remit2India, Ditto and Swych in its portfolio of remittance-related blockchain companies. Finablr says its network handled more than 150 million financial transactions in 2017.
“The adoption of blockchain opens up the considerable potential to streamline remittances and provide a frictionless, fast and secure payments experience,” said Promoth Manghat, Executive Director and CEO at Finablr and Group CEO at UAE Exchange and Unimoni.
“We are proud to be the first bank in Asia to use Ripple’s leading blockchain network solution to power real-time payments for our customers, whose families often times depend on the availability of these funds for basic needs – time is of the essence to them,” Arak Sutivong, chief strategy officer at SCB said upon the launch of a Japan-Thailand payment service in June 2017.
With the crypto market rebounding in early February, Ripple lost its second-place market cap position to Ethereum, which at the time of writing had a market capitalization of $12.595 billion, as opposed to Ripple’s $12.41 billion. This, however, does not in any way seem to indicate that the global roll-out of the Ripple network is slowing as, since the Thai network news, the US-based tech firm has made two further major platform announcements.
The SendFriend blockchain remittance service, that will convert USD via Ripple’s XRP token to Philippine pesos “in a matter of seconds”– instead of the three to five days that traditional remittance services can take – this week announced it had raised another $1.7 million in start-up capital and this, it says, will allow it to launch the platform on schedule and within the first quarter of this year.
The funding comes from an investor consortium that, as well as Ripple, includes MIT Media Lab, Barclays and the Mastercard Foundation. The platform will use Ripple’s blockchain to send funds from overseas workers back to the Philippines, one of Asia’s largest remittance markets. Last year, according to the World Bank, the country’s diaspora sent $34 billion to families back home.
Also this week, money transfer giant Western Union, that has to-date seemed reluctant to adopt blockchain, has now admitted it is evaluating the technology and is also sending test transactions using Ripple. “We’ve been testing different products with Western Union for a while,” Ripple confirmed to Bloomberg this week.
While the crypto market has dropped significantly over the last year, RippleNet has continued to build a global payment network that it now says includes more than 200 banks and payment providers worldwide.
Ripple, that cites its network advantages as lower fees, faster transaction times and significant reductions in operational overheads in the 55 countries it operates in, looks set to continue as the world’s leading example of how blockchain will experience mass adoption across finance.