Ripple has enjoyed a deluge of positive headlines over the past month, while its XRP cryptocurrency has been duking it out with Ethereum to claim second place behind Bitcoin in terms of market cap.
Much of the good news has centered on adoption of xRapid, Ripple’s high-speed and low-cost payment solution. xRapid allows customers to transfer money between bank accounts almost instantly by using XRP as an intermediary. RippleNet customers transfer funds in their local currency which is then converted into XRP at a digital assets exchange, before being transferred to the destination country using the XRP blockchain. This XRP amount is then converted into the local currency of the recipient’s account.
xRapid Adoption Growing Rapidly
Ripple’s latest promotional literature on xRapid claims that it is typically 70% cheaper than traditional bank transfers, with transactions being processed within three to five seconds. The same document touts Viamericas, Cuallix, IDT, and Mercury FX as payment processors that have already implemented the xRapid service. The crypto currency exchanges Bittrex, Bitso, and Coins.ph will also use xRapid for cross-border money transfers.
Wells Fargo had previously conducted an xRapid pilot scheme, but the bank concluded that it would not make its money transfers substantially cheaper. This is likely due to the fact that while xRapid can seriously cut down on the cost per transaction of cross-border transfers, there are larger restructuring costs for an established financial institution which currently depends on SWIFT for moving money internationally.
Ripple’s experience with the failed Wells Fargo pilot scheme has seemingly pushed it towards embracing disruptive money transfer services. In a Twitter exchange in March 2018, Ripple’s CTO David Schwarz explained that xRapid is focusing on “low-value, high-volume remittance-like payments.” This is contrast to Ripple’s xCurrent offering, which has been adopted by a range of established banks to facilitate cross-border payments.
Major Banks Joining RippleNet
On October 4, the Japanese Bank Consortium launched MoneyTap, an app which utilizes Ripple for real-time domestic bank transfers. The use of Ripple and xRapid will essentially be “invisible” to the app’s users, and potentially bring Ripple’s services to millions of extra users.
This is the latest addition to the ever-expanding RippleNet ecosystem. PNC Bank was announced as another RippleNet user in mid-September. Ripple touts PNC as one of the top ten banks in the United States, with 8 million customers covering 19 states. These customers will now have access to Ripple-powered cross-border payments.
PNC Bank joins other major financial institutions including American Express, Standard Chartered, and Santander that are already members of RippleNet. Santander has shown particular enthusiasm for Ripple’s services, announcing earlier this month that the bank plans to make it’s Ripple-powered OneFX payment app available in many more countries. OneFX uses Ripple’s xCurrent service for cross-border bank payments, and is currently available in Brazil, Poland, Spain, and the UK.
Increased Access and More Use Cases
Wirex, a UK-based service that provides debit cards that allows its users to make payments and fiat ATM withdrawals from cryptocurrency balances, recently demonstrated on Twitter the ease with which its card can be used to withdraw money from ATMs in Japan.
Similarly, the Singapore-based Paycent has announced Ripple will be added to the cryptocurrencies its users are able to withdraw into fiat from ATMs beginning in November.
Sadad Bahrain has also released an infographic showing that customers at its 700 payment services kiosks can make blockchain-based payments powered by Ripple.
Finally, the Coil browser extension can now be used to ‘tip’ content creators on popular streaming and video services, including YouTube and Twitch, in XRP.
On October 18, it was also announced that Coil will be joining an exciting project between Ripple and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Moojaloop aims to bring banking services to some of the millions of people in developing countries without access to a bank account.
Amidst this steady stream of positive news and announcements, some more speculative articles have appeared with an interesting take on Ripple’s future growth potential.
Chinese dominance within the blockchain sphere is a frequent topic of discussion. From the concentration of Bitcoin miners within China to the current drama surrounding the concentration of EOS block producers, coupled with the fact that some of the most innovative crypto and blockchain projects have originated in China, no other country seems to be placing as much stock in blockchain’s future development.
In a recent interview with Breaker Mag, Ripple’s chief market strategist suggested this may mean the US government has an interest in the project’s success:
“The White House in particular seems to be thinking about what it means to have 80 percent of bitcoin mining taking place in China and a majority of Ether mining taking place in China. When you look at XRP, there is no mining, so from a foreign-control aspect or from an environmental aspect, XRP is a very different beast. And in conversations we’ve had with the administration, they seem to get that and think that might matter.”
And Ripple’s connection with high-level US political figures bridges the political divide. On October 1, former President and arch-nemesis of the current administration Bill Clinton appeared as a keynote speaker at Ripple’s Swell conference.
At the same time, Russia Today recently ran an article suggesting the European Union is looking to alternatives to the SWIFT bank transfer protocol to try to counter disproportionate US influence over global finance.
This all adds up to a very exciting run of news for Ripple. The project is continually attaining greater real-world adoption and this is something that major players in finance and politics are well aware of. This is being reflected in Ripple’s battle with Ethereum for second place among the cryptocurrency rankings, as well as in a recent Twitter poll by Wirex that overwhelmingly named Ripple as respondents most recommended cryptocurrency.