Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said earlier this year that he hopes to have major banks using the company’s cryptocurrency XRP by the end of the calendar year, and “dozens” more using it in 2019. A big part of making that a reality will be Ripple’s xRapid product, which company executives hinted may launch within the next month.
“Most of the industry still moves money like it’s 1973. Ripple allows banks, payment providers and remittance companies to move money across borders in seconds.”
–@CoryTV at @MilkenInstitute #MIGlobal Asia Summit 2018 pic.twitter.com/ByuN83c0bw
— Ripple (@Ripple) September 14, 2018
In an interview with CNBC, Sagar Sarbhai, Ripple’s head of regulatory relations for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, said he was hopeful that xRapid would launch its commercial version in the next month, citing growing acceptance of cryptocurrency and crypto-based products from financial institutions and regulators.
According to Sarbhai:
“We’ve been working on this product for the past 2 to 3 years, and I’m very confident that in the next month or so, you will see some good news coming in when we launch the product live in production.”
Ripple’s product revolves around creating “frictionless” transactions on an international level, claiming the current infrastructure for international payments is still “stuck in the disco era” on its website.
Presently, international transactions are a hassle-ridden and complicated process that can take two to three days to complete. For example, both parties must have funded accounts with their respective currencies, and if the bank doesn’t have the funds on hand, it may have to request them from another bank, adding more time until the transaction is complete. The fees involved are also costly, and many would argue burdensome, to anyone looking to send money overseas.
Ripple, meanwhile, uses its blockchain network and cryptocurrency token XRP to bypass that entire process, according to the company. The xRapid product handles the transmission and conversion of funds internationally by converting fiat currency like dollars or pesos into XRP and sending the cryptocurrency to the destination country before converting it back to fiat.
The conversion and sending of XRP takes mere minutes, as opposed to days, and is much cheaper for payment providers to process. Additional time is added during the process, however, as xRapid relies on third-party exchanges to convert XRP into the fiat currency of the desired country. Ripple claims that this is still a vast improvement compared to the current standard.
Recently, the company fostered a global network of third-party exchanges that would allow rapid conversion of XRP to fiat currency, laying the groundwork for widespread commercial application of the service. Ripple’s first test of xRapid was a transfer between the U.S. and Mexico, and last month the company partnered with three exchanges including Mexico’s Bitso, the U.S.’s Bittrex and the Philippines’ Coins.ph.
Ripple’s xRapid product appears to be bolstering faith in cryptocurrency products, as it is utilizing the product in a commercial way that builds consumer trust in something still relatively new.
One way Ripple’s network is already being used, and which xRapid would simplify for consumers, is remittance payments; the practice of workers sending money home to their families from overseas. Currently, the process is fraught with fees and hangups, but a product like this could streamline the process to a matter of minutes.
Garlinghouse told CNBC earlier this year:
“I think the value of any digital asset is going to be derived by the utility that it creates. I think there’s a lot of hype in this space, and as the hype and reality come into equilibrium, those markets will be less volatile.”
Major banks are already using Ripple’s xCurrent product and several companies that have already signed on to do business include Western Union, Accenture, Santander and Andreessen Horowitz.
Cover Photo by Piotr Hamryszczak on Unsplash