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.

Author: Paddy Baker
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This is how and why Ripple’s XRP tokens will be used by the banks

The controversy around Ripple and their centralization, premined coins and influence of banks aside, Ripple Labs is all about improving the speed and cost of cross-border payments.

It seems that Ripple’s broader XRP strategy is to generate demand for rapid settlement. Ripple is positioning XRP as the rapid settlement technology to go with those rapid payment systems. All of their payment technology is designed to settle with XRP.

The beginner Ripple product gets banks’ feet wet – with xCurrent and xVia where they don’t have to use XRP. Once there it is easy to gravitate to the next gear, the next product – xRapid. Like an extra gear on the car you already know. It is inevitable.

xRapid is the only Ripple product that uses XRP. Other offerings such as xVia and xCurrent are systems that currently do not require/utilize XRP.

In other words, if the 100 banks you have signed up have no interest in xRapid, there will be no change to the price of XRP.

With xRapid Ripple aims to eliminate delays in global payments while also dramatically lowering cost. xRapid leverages the technology behind the digital asset XRP, to make cross-border payments truly instant.

Some aggregated results from several pilots of xRapid indicate this Ripple net has a bright future ahead to the joy of XRP holders.

For payments in the critical remittance corridor between the U.S. and Mexico, financial institutions using xRapid saw a savings of 40-70 percent compared to what they normally pay foreign exchange brokers. An average xRapid payment took just over two minutes, compared to today’s average of two to three days when sending cross-border payments. The portion of the transfer that relies on the XRP Ledger takes two to three seconds, with the additional processing time attributed to movement across the intermediary digital asset exchanges and local payment rails.

A payment journey with xRapid looks like this: a financial institution connects directly to digital asset exchanges in both the originating and destination corridors. The originating currency is exchanged into XRP which provides the necessary liquidity to power the final payment, and then in seconds that XRP is exchanged into the destination currency in the second digital asset exchange. Once this transaction takes place, the funds are sent out on the local rails of the destination country for payout. The transaction is tracked end-to-end, and the result is a cross-border payment that is cheaper and faster than ever before.

Author: Torsten Hartmann
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Ripple’s xRapid Client, FLEETCOR, About Buying Western Union Business Payments

Ripple’s xRapid –Information reaching us states that Western Union and FLEETCOR are nearing an agreement to completely sell the WU’s business payments operationsPE Hubstated on Wednesday, November 15, 2018.

PE Hub, which cited three unnamed sources, airs that Citi is the dealing advisor, stating further that the deal could reach nothing less than $600 million.

While this has not been confirmed, Deutsche Bank Analyst Ashish Sabadra said in September that FLEETCOR is a prospective purchaser of Western Union’s business payments unit.

The statement was succeeded by Bloomberg reports indicating that Western Union was doing an underground work to sell the operations that provides cross-border B2B payments services.

Sabadra maintained in the report that Cambridge Global Payments, a subsidiary acquired last year by FLEETCOR makes the firm a growing B2B payments company. Sabadra believes the acquisition of Western Union business payments assets is a step forward for the payment company.

Ripple and FLEETCOR Technologies Explores Ripple’s xRapid

1st March 2018, Ripple (XRP) announced that Cambridge Global Payments, a subsidiary of FLEETCOR Technologies, has decided to launch a pilot program that purposely intends using XRP in cross-border payment flows through xRapid.

With its over 13,000 clients across the globe, Cambridge handles around $20 billion in international transactions every year.

The company decided to make use of XRP in order to provide its clients with the state of the art cross-border payments experience that is more transparent, cheaper, and faster. The firm is also looking into xCurrent.

The purchase of Western Union’s Business Payments operation is a step closer to WU’s expected decision to use any of Ripple’s cross-border tools like xVia, xCurrent, or xRapid.

Ripple (XRP) Elbows Ethereum (ETH) Down To Third, Sits Confidently On The Second Position

The market is regaining its strength back and many coins are beginning to flaunt green colors in the market. Ripple’s XRP seems to be an opportunist of the recent bearish market and the present recover.

In the recent bearish market, while many were plunging massively, losing big from their market cap, XRP got affected slightly and lost not so much from its market cap compared to the like of Ethereum (ETH) making it displace the then known world second largest Cryptocurrency in the table.

XRP has since been the second position while Ethereum maintains the third position.

Also, while the last 24 hours has been featured with market recovery, Ripple (XRP) is placed amongst the top gaining coins in the market, spacing Ethereum (ETH) with wider margin which some referred to as an irreconcilable gap.

After starting the last 24 hours priced $0.4568 according to Coinranking, the altcoin began its upside trend trip on the rising wedge and it is yet to relent.

Xrp Price Today Takes Over Ethereum

At the early hours of the Asian trading session today, trade pair XRP/USD attained its highest price of the day, $0.4852, as at press time.

As at the time of writing this article, XRP/USD has added 3.21% to its value in the market, and it is priced $0.4715 against dollars.

Author: Oliver Green
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In 24 Hours Nexo Sees Over $2Million In XRP Crypto-Backed Loans Requests, Considers xRapid

Credissimo supported crypto lending platform ‘Nexo’ received more than $2,000,000 in XRP crypto-backed loans requests within 24 hours, stating that it is considering the integration of  xRapid in the future.

The Switzerland-based Nexo that gives immediate cryptocurrency-backed loans to people, stated that it now accepts XRP as a collateral option for its almost immediate digital currency loans.

As cryptocurrency becomes widely accepted, blockchain-supported loans are becoming the order of the day, and are now seen as the future of short term loans for personal use or margin trading.

In this wise, many a number of crypto lovers have lauded the awesome support Nexo is giving to digital currency. The platform is regarded today as the only company to first offer services in over 200 jurisdictions for nothing less than 40 fiat currencies. In the same line, Nexo is the only firm that provides immediate credits without any hindrance.

After receiving more than $2,000,000 in XRP crypto-backed loans requests within 24 hours, the platform cut short pre-sales owing to oversubscription.

With available statistics, the subscription skyrocket by around 11 times, becoming the highest recorded in history.

Speaking on the development, the co-founder of Nexo, Antoni Trenchev stated that “With the aforesaid features coming in handy, Nexo has soared high to be among one of the best crypto services. This trend is attributed to Nexo’s classy platform and the incredible user interface. This is a team that has a successful track record for over 10 years extending over $120 million in credit.”

Plan To Integrate Ripple’s xRapid

Meanwhile, the co-founder of the platform, Antoni has said they are planning to integrate xRapid on the platform soon.

Asked by a respected XRP lover, by the name Ecent, whether Nexo has the intention of integrating Ripple’s XRP through xRapid or xVia, Antoni said “We have been talking to Ethan about xRapid, will keep you posted.”

Author:  Jack Marshall
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Introducing XRP United, The First Full Exchange Dedicated to the Digital Asset

In a twitter announcement, prominent XRP community member @BankXRP informed the crypto community of the launch of the first full XRP based exchange. The exchange, that is known as XRP United, went live just yesterday, 23rd October, 2018. Users who want to test drive the exchange, can visit https://xrpunited.com. There is also a discord channel dedicated to new users of the platform.

The tweet announcing the new platform can be found below:

Trading Pairs on XRP United

The current trading pairs on the new exchange are as follows:

  • XMR/XRP (Not yet live. To be added as soon the Monero wallet is integrated)

XRP The Standard

The chief goal of the XRP United exchange, is to further the use case of the digital asset to a level where it is the global standard. The campaign to make XRP global is best exemplified by the progress being made by the Ripple company in terms of providing solutions for cross-border payments. The company initially had three products of xCurrent, xVia and xRapid, but a redesign of the company website further combined all its software solutions into one product/service known as RippleNet.

In terms of crypto trading, XRP has proven to be the fastest digital asset to use when transferring funds between exchanges. So much so, that the XRP community has been petitioning Binance to add the digital asset as a base currency on the exchange.

With the new exchange of XRP United, members of the community now have an exchange solely dedicated to the digital asset. Some of the reasons to use XRP as a base currency are as follows:

  • It is faster and cheaper
  • A base currency of XRP would bring in more users to the exchange
  • XRP is the fastest digital asset to transfer funds between exchanges
  • Other exchanges are continually warming up to XRP as a base currency
  • Trade volume would increase as XRP would attract the big money movers – also known as whales
  • It is the natural and progressive thing to do given the popularity of XRP

Author: John P. Njui
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When the next crypto bull run happens, it’s going to be epic

The current overall market cap for the crypto space is a shadow of what it once was. 2018 has tested the patience and skill of everyone involved. Crypto asset prices are down at least 75% across the board for the most part. But strangely enough, institutions and mainstream entities continue to gain interest and involvement. Logically, all this interest should make the next bull run huge (when the market finally turns around).

Significant Mainstream Interest

The Elusive Bitcoin ETF

The approval of a Bitcoin ETF seems to be the most referenced topic in crypto this year. The Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) appears to be getting closer to a decision on approving a Bitcoin ETF. The SEC has reviewed numerous Bitcoin ETF proposals this year, with no approvals yet.

A possible decision may come in late December for the Van Eck/SolidX ETF, which appears to have the best chance for success.

A Bitcoin ETF would provide a way for institutional (wealthy) players to enter the market and feel that their funds are safe. The market cap all-time high for the cryptocurrency industry has never surpassed $1 trillion, which is not very high, considering global involvement. The crypto space needs more people and money in order to grow. A Bitcoin ETF is a way to increase people’s involvement in crypto, offering an option with regulatory backing (by the SEC).

Ethereum Futures Coming

Everyone in crypto last year remembers the impact Bitcoin futures made on the market, starting last year’s end of year bull run. Money flooded into the crypto space like never before. Bitcoin futures trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) showed significant mainstream interest in the crypto space and resulted in the legitimization of cryptocurrency (to a degree).

This year, the CBOE plans to launch Ethereum futures, possibly before the end of the year. This shows that institutional interest is still growing and that Bitcoin futures were not simply a failed experiment. People still want to become more involved in crypto, even after a tough year.

Nasdaq Crypto Exchange Interest

Earlier this year in late April, Adena Friedman (Nasdaq CEO) made comments expressing interest in possibly becoming a crypto trading platform.

Nasdaq further states they will likely wait for regulation to be sorted out, and for the crypto space to mature. But the point is – the interest is there from one of the most prominent financial entities. A Nasdaq crypto exchange would make the crypto space even more legitimate.

Crypto Hedge Funds

90 crypto hedge funds have launched so far this year, with another thirty estimated before years end. 600 hedge funds total are projected to launch this year (including traditional markets). If 120 of those 600 are crypto hedge funds, that means crypto would comprise 20% of that.

It makes sense that these hedge funds are only launching as the result of interest in the crypto space. Crypto hedge funds also provide another on-ramp to crypto involvement for traditionally-minded people.

IBM’s Food Blockchain

IBM is another giant in the world of traditional markets. They are currently developing a method to track food using blockchain technology. IBM Food Trust as it’s called, is also collaborating with giants such as Nestle, Walmart, and Kroger.

Mainstream business giants see the potential in blockchain and crypto, and are becoming involved. More involvement leads to greater blockchain solutions to world difficulties (such as food origins and tracking).

ICE and the Bakkt Platform

ICE stands for International Exchange. They plan to launch Bitcoin futures trading in November, on a platform/ecosystem called Bakkt.

The big news is that these Bitcoin futures will be settled in actual Bitcoin, as opposed to the current CME and CBOE options that are cash settled. This would require the actual purchase of Bitcoin, causing more demand for Bitcoin holdings.

Bitcoin only has a total supply of 21 million coins. ICE will need to buy large amounts of Bitcoin for trading on the Bakkt platform. If entities like ICE continue to buy Bitcoin, less supply is available for the general public. Less supply could mean greater demand and higher price for Bitcoin.

Ripple, xRapid, And The Banks

Ripple/XRP is a touchy subject in the crypto space. Some people like it, and some see its centralization as a problem that goes against one of cryptocurrencies best qualities – its decentralization. Whether in support of Ripple or against it, Ripple news is still a sign that mainstream use and interest is building.

At its swell conference this year, Ripple announced the launch of xRapid – a product to change global remittance payments. There is said to be a significant amount of interest for xRapid’s potential from financial institutions.

It seems as though most of this information has not significantly impacted crypto asset prices (with the exception of Bitcoin ETF speculation in July). It will be interesting to see what happens when the crypto market finally turns around, and people start seeing the price action relating to such interest.

Author: Benjamin Pirus
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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.


Author: livine sanchez 
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Banco Santander Will Use Ripple (XRP) For Settling All Payments

Banco Santander, the multinational commercial bank and financial services company headquartered in Santander, Spain, will be using Ripple (XRP) to settle payments and improve customer experience through its OnePay FX platform.

XRP and Banco Santander

At this year’s Swell conference in San Francisco, Ripple announced the launch of its xRapid product. It’s a solution which is going to be used by payment providers, including Cuallix, Mercury FX, as well as the cooperative financial company called Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union.

Another notable highlight of the event was the speech of Ed Metzger – the Head of Innovation at one of Ripple’s well-known partners – Banco Santander.

Metzger said that the bank will happily use XRP in order to settle all of the payments with its OnePay FX payment platform. The solution is used to make quick international transfers on the same day.

According to Metzger, the addition of RippleNet into OnePay FX is likely to streamline the process of other banks beginning to use XRP-related products in countries like South Korea and Japan. He said:

Too many companies have a peanut butter problem. They’ve spread themselves very thin, working on lots of different initiatives. By contrast, Ripple has gone deep in understanding.

XRP Moving Forward

Apart from Banco Santander and the three companies mentioned above which have already begun using XRP to settle payments, the company managed to accomplish a serious win in late September. As Live Bitcoin News reported, PNC Bank became the very first major U.S. banking institution which is going to join RippleNet.

Speaking on the matter was Ripple’s Senior VP, Marcus Treacher, who noted:

For far too long, the technology underlying cross-border payments has been opaque, slow and costly. […] Quite a few payment providers have joined RippleNet recently, so it’s great to see one of the major U.S. banks come on board as well.

In another sign of Ripple’s growing popularity, almost 10,000 people signed a petition to make XRP the official cryptocurrency of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

What do you think of Ripple’s usage? Will more organizations start taking advantage? Let us know in the comments below!

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Almost 10,000 People Signed a Petition to Make Ripple (XRP) Official Cryptocurrency of Tokyo Olympics 2020

An online petition to make Ripple (XRP) the official cryptocurrency for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 has started circling. Around 9,200 people out of 10,000 have already signed it.

XRP Proposed for Official Olympic Cryptocurrency

A petition to make Ripple Lab’s XRP the official cryptocurrency of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 has managed to get notable attention, acquiring over 9,000 signs out of the requested 10,000.

According to the circular, there are plenty of challenges that local authorities face when hosting a world-class event of a scale as large as this.

As tourists stream into the country, demand for the local currency skyrockets, causing long lines at currency exchanges, as seen at past events like Beijing 2008 and Rio de Janeiro 2016. Confusing exchange rates and language barriers further complicate the problem. – Reads the petition.

According to it, the fast transaction time, as well as the security of XRP,  could solve the aforementioned issues.

XRP’s Wild 30-Day Run

XRP has been one of the top performers for the last 30 days, marking an increase of around 70 percent. This time last month on September 8 XRP traded at around $0.29 and was going stable for a couple of weeks until September 20.

At that point, XRP doubled up in less than 24 hours following the news that its xRapid product is going to go live within “the next month.” More impressively, the cryptocurrency managed to unseat the Ethereum and, for a brief period of time, became the second largest digital currency.

On October 2, Live Bitcoin News reported that Ripple had launched its xRapid product and that 3 financial companies are already using XRP for real payments. At the time, however, the price failed to react. Nevertheless, XRP managed to retain a lot of the gains made during its short rally and is currently trading at $0.48.

Images courtesy of CoinMarketCap and ShutterStock

Author Joshua Morris
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2020 Olympics: Ripple (XRP) Could Boom To An All Time High If This Happens

Change.org petition to make XRP the official cryptocurrency of the 2020 Olympics nearing 7500 signatures.

Ken Takahashi thinks that XRP needs to be the official cryptocurrency of the 2020 Summer Olympics. The 2020 summer games will be held in Tokyo and the city will be flooded with tourists and athletes from all over the world.

To aid his campaign to make XRP the official cryptocurrency of the Tokyo games, he started a petition on change.org to appeal to the International Olympic Committee.

“As tourists stream into the country, demand for the local currency skyrockets, causing long lines at currency exchanges, as seen at past events like Beijing 2008 and Rio de Janeiro 2016. Confusing exchange rates and language barriers further complicate the problem.”

Takahashi started the petition nearly a year ago and the signatures have been adding up faster in recent weeks after Ripple’s flurry of positive news. The signature total currently sits around 5500 as more continue to add their name. Once the petition hits Takahashi’s target of 7500 it will be sent to the International Olympic Committee.

The use of cryptocurrency at an event like the Olympics is seen by Takahashi as a way to speed up processes that could get bogged down by the massive influx of people that Tokyo will be experiencing in August of 2020.

Specifically, Takahashi thinks Ripple is the coin to choose for this job because of its speed and efficiency. Takahashi also puts forward the argument that the use of one official cryptocurrency can eliminate confusion and act as a consolidating force.

The xRapid system is up and running and can aid in assuring the 2020 games run smoothly when having to deal with the exchanges of hundreds of different currencies from around the world.

While this particular petition may not be the jump starter for worldwide crypto adoption, it is an important sign to see people pushing for the implementation of blockchain payment systems for a highly anticipated event like the Olympics.

With millions of people converging on one city an official cryptocurrency can bring stability, efficiency to the exchange of different currencies and expedite millions upon millions of transactions.

Author: Stephen Brown
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