Western Union Acknowledges Experiments With Ripple Tech

A senior executive at Western Union has announced the company is getting “ready” for a surge in cryptocurrencies, and is currently trialing some of the technology developed by Ripple Labs for use in its settlements services.

Molly Shea, the General Manager of Asia Pacific at Western Union, explained in the Analyse Asia podcast that the financial services company – which reported revenue of $1.4bn in Q4 2018 – was preparing itself for a future where digital assets begin to “take off”.

“When you think about cryptocurrencies, if those start to take off, we need to be ready,” Shea said. “We need to be ready form a technology perspective; regulation’s got to be there, but you constantly have to be looking for those trends where the customers are looking…and make sure that you’re ready to meet those needs and expectations. “

As part of this preparation, Shea said, Western Union is exploring legitimate and widely acceptable use cases for cryptocurrencies. One such area is in settlements; the company is currently performing“settlement tests” on whether Ripple could be used in “certain corridors,” particularly with the US dollar and Mexican peso.

Crypto Briefing reached out to Western Union for additional information and comment on its Ripple trials, but did not receive a response by press time.


Western’s Union With Ripple

Established in 1851, 168 years ago, Western Union provides remittance services, allowing customers to send funds across borders and in multiple currencies. The company sent more than $300bn in 2018; its network has more than 550,000 retail locations; more than all the Starbucks and McDonald’s outlets in the world, Shea claims.

Although the XRP cryptocurrency – part of the xRapid solution – is perhaps the most famous product offered by Ripple Labs, it isn’t the only one. The company also offers an xCurrent solution, which uses blockchain technology, but not necessarily XRP, for banks and other financial institutions to communicate with one another before, during and after a cross-border transaction.

A source at the National Bank of Kuwait told Crypto Briefing in October last year that the bank was waiting for regulatory approval to use xCurrent. The service finally went live at the end of December.

Collaboration between Ripple Labs and Western Union has been known for some time; the company began testing Ripple’s blockchain towards the end of 2017. In 2016, Western Union invested in Digital Currency Group (DCG), a venture capital company, which has also made investments into Ripple.

Although CEO Hikmet Ersek admitted last summer that the trials had yet to yield any cost savings, President Odilon Almeida told Reuters in December that there was little difference between crypto and digital fiat payments.

Adding support would not likely represent much of a challenge.


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Author: Paddy Baker
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American Express: Ripple Powers Cross-Border Transactions ‘In a Matter of Seconds’

American Express is revealing the results of a pilot test of Ripple’s xCurrent solution for cross-border payments.

At the Wings of Change Europe conference in Madrid, Amex general manager of corporate payments Carlos Carriedo said Ripple’s technology has the potential to dramatically improve the sluggish status quo of international payments.

“We did a pilot. We did a test, partnering with Santander locally, and with Ripple to just do cross-border transactions.

Cross-border transactions continue to be complex and slow. And in a matter of seconds, through this test, our clients were able to transfer funds in a very transparent and seamless way, from one part of the world, to the other one.”

According to Carriedo, American Express sees a lot of potential in blockchain technology as a whole, and continues to invest in the technology.

“Blockchain is absolutely an option we’re looking at. Just to give you a sense, we have invested in a fintech lab based on blockchain technology, just to understand how to leverage this better…

So more to come. There’s still a lot of things that need to get addressed with blockchain as a technology. But it’s very promising.”

Back in November of 2017, American Express and Santander announced a partnership with Ripple to increase the speed of non-card transactions between the US and UK. Both Amex and Santander say they’re open to expanding the partnership worldwide, based on the results.


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Author: Daily Hodl Staff
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Ripple Penetrates China with xCurrent, Collaborating with AmEx and LianLian Group

Ripple has succeeded in clinching its priority target market, China, through the approval of LianLian’s joint venture American Express, to process card payments in China.

China approved the operation of AmEx, making it the first American company to be given a direct access to the China e-commerce market. This approval empowers AmEx to resolve payments and transactions in Yuan. The settlement of payments can be done via its joint venture LianLian Group, which is Ripple’s customer.

AmEx. which is another global payment platform just like MasterCard had previously indicated interest in the Chinese market, presumed to be the biggest card market by recent analysis. This prompted its move into a joint venture with LianLian Group, and later became the first payment processing venture that operates outside the state-controlled, UnionPay network.

This joint venture, now partners with RippleNet, to provide seamless and faster global payment services to the Chinese e-commerce market. It can process and settle payments in Chinese Yuan Renminbi (CYN) currency unit. This can be achieved by establishing a network with its partner.

The venture which is named Express (Hangzhou) Technology Service Co. is expected by the Chinese government to complete preparation for operation within a year.

American Express and LianLian Group had been members of RippleNet. AmEx joined RippleNet late last year, with the aim of rendering better services to Small and Medium Enterprises in payment processing. LianLianPay which joined the platform early this year already has over 150 million registered customers.

Lian Lian uses Ripple’s blockchain to settle e-commerce payments in China, and also uses Ripple’s xCurrent to settle cross-border payments.

Ripple had been pushing to penetrate China market, now the government seems to have straightened out things for the fintech company.

According to a report from btcnews, a Ripple official stated that the digital asset company has been nursing the idea, and confident to hit China market before the end of this year.

From a report by btcnews.com early this year, Ripple’s head of government and regulatory relationship for the Asia Pacific, Sagar Sarbhai, said that it was still early to discuss such moves. He went further to say that Ripple would definitely launch its decentralized financial tools into China market to settle cross-border payment issues. He said;

“This year you will see more announcements coming in on China, in terms of educating and differentiating us from some of the other cryptocurrencies that are out there.”

Ripple CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, had said last year that “a launch into China was in the pipeline,” obviously there was a delay due to unclear regulations around the blockchain, and the digital assets, in China.

But the Chinese government just lifted the ban on blockchain and the use of cryptocurrencies. Now the use of digital assets is legalized, such that it is now an acceptable payment tool.

Irrespective of China’s strict regulations against ICOs, cryptocurrencies and foreign card-payment services, American Express defied these challenges to break into the country’s e-commerce market.

China’s e-commerce market has grown up to $627 billion more than last year. An estimate of the cross-border payments into the country is targeted at $1.32 trillion this year.

According to a report from a reliable source, some other card-payment companies have been lobbying for years to penetrate China’s e-commerce market. This is a very huge market, estimated to have six billion cards in circulation. A forecast shows it will increase to ten billion by 2020.

The Chinese government seems to be interested in the use of blockchain and DLT, which Ripple uses in its xCurrent and xVia products. China’s central bank sees this move as a very important way of showcasing China’s bank card market to potential foreign investors.

The central bank confirmed that this move would launch in a seamless operation in the country’s e-commerce market and draw in other payment institutions.

AmEx and LianLian are working in connection with Ripple, their operation can connect to xCurrent via multi-hop. This can also lead to a connection with Ripple’s xRapid later in the future.

The director of product at Ripple, Craig DeWitt, said that the incorporation of multi-hop, shows that the network will achieve a lot;

“Multi-hop gives Ripple members the ability to transact with banks or payment providers or digital wallets that they don’t have a direct relationship with. That’s important because in today’s world you need a bunch of bilateral relationships clunkily put together in a chain in order to move money. Multi-hop makes that thing of the past.”

Based on the current collaboration, it is expected that AmEx and LianLian joint venture would soon enter into an agreement with multi-hop to strengthen the network.

The Senior Vice President of product at Ripple stated that the network reach increased as more users signed on to xCurrent;

“xVia allows you to use one standard connection to get you all the benefits of RippleNet and our products. Without xRapid they would use xCurrent and where xRapid is available, they can then add on xRapid and move money on demand using XRP and payout instantly. They get reach wherever xCurrent is available, whether that be a bank [or] a cash payout provider.”

Ripple has been bullish in its crusade to provide a solution to the global cross-border payment issues. This, it hopes to achieve by launching its decentralized financial tools which can make payment processing a better experience across the globe.

Ripple extended its service to Japan in 2016, through a joint venture with SBI, to leverage on the upward trend in non-cash payment in Japan. It also targets to do the same in Korea and other Asia Pacific countries.

Last year, Ripple launched an office in Mumbai, India’s financial center, to render better payment services to India’s digital economy. India’s digital economy is estimated to hit $1 trillion by 2024. Ripple has moved in to provide a seamless payment platform for the banking system in the country.

Ripple has a big vision that may likely make it no 1 company in global payment processing. Well, Ripple may continue riding high as long as another bull doesn’t jump into the scene.


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Author:  Judith Riseshine
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Xpring Could Give Wider Adoption of XRP than xRapid and xCurrent

In recent times, there has been high concentration on the effect that xCurrent and xRapidwill bring to the world banking system and mode of online payments. This two products by Ripple have actually increased XRP adoption.

However, one of the products that could have more effects on Rapid adoption of XRP which was launched in May to promote entrepreneurs and also use XRP in their startups is Xpring.

Ripple’s senior vice president of Xpring Ethan Beard at the PreMoney crypto conference in San Francisco gave explanations on how Xpring could increase XRP adoption in its ecosystem.

Ethan Beard said that:

“With Xpring, we’re focused on the broader XRP ecosystem.Ripple, as a company, focuses on the Internet of Value – helping money move as easily as data. Our core business being ‘helping banks move money – mainly across border’ and we’ve got great momentum there.

At the same time, we think XRP and the XRP Ledger has a lot of use cases above and beyond what’s going on in the banking world. And so, with Xpring, we’re actually looking to identify, amplify, and help those projects take off and get off the board.”

He added:

“As a major contributor to the XRP Ledger codebase and large holder of XRP, we often hear from entrepreneurs and developers that they’d like support in one form or another to help them with their XRP-related projects. As one of the few blockchain companies with traction for a non-speculative use case, we feel we’re uniquely positioned to support entrepreneurs in a meaningful way.”

SB Projects and micropayments application Coil which helps artists to receive XRP token for their monetized content and also allows content creators to receive XRP donations from internet users. Others are Omni, A Marketplace that is currently merging XRP as a Currency On its platform and blockchain Capital.

 


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Author: livine sanchez 
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