Distributed-ledger payments provider Ripple Labs on Thursday announced three cryptocurrency exchanges that will work with its xRapid cross-border payments product. XRapid uses Ripple’s XRP digital currency and depends on exchanges to translate transactions into local fiat currencies.
San Francisco-based Ripple said it is partnering with Bittrex for exchanges to U.S. dollars, Bitso for Mexican pesos, and Coins.ph for Philippine pesos.
As an example, Ripple laid out a typical xRapid payments flow from the United States to Mexico. A bank with a Bittrex account can enter a payment in U.S. dollars through xRapid. Through the new connection with Ripple, Bittrex immediately converts the payment into XRP for settlement on the XRP ledger. At this point, Bitso converts the XRP payment into pesos, which are settled into the destination bank account.
“We are excited to be partnering with Ripple to bring the benefits of blockchain technology to cross-border payments, making sending money home more affordable for 10-million-plus overseas Filipino workers,” said Ron Hose, chief executive of Coins.ph, an e-wallet and financial-services company based in Manila, in a statement.
The new arrangements cover important payment corridors at a time when Ripple is preparing to commercialize xRapid, which is designed to minimize the liquidity associated with cross-border transfers. “We’ve seen several successful xRapid pilots already, and as we move the product from beta to production later this year, these exchange partners will allow us to provide financial institutions with the comfort and assurance that their payments will move seamlessly between different currencies,” said Cory Johnson, Ripple’s chief market strategist, in a statement.
Ripple earlier this year indicated findings that xRapid was saving pilot institutions between 40% and 70% on costs imposed by traditional foreign-exchange brokers. Transactions are settled in two minutes or less, Ripple said, versus two to three days using conventional cross-border channels.
In a significant development for xRapid, Fleetcor Technologies Inc. in March launched a pilot that uses XRP. Fleetcor’s Cambridge Global Payments unit is harnessing the xRapid service to provide so-called on-demand liquidity to international trading partners. With instant liquidity, international firms can free up funds they would otherwise tie up in foreign accounts to back real-time payments.
With a total value of $12.4 billion in circulation, XRP ranks as the third most valuable cryptocurrency after Bitcoin and Ethereum, according to Coinmarketcap.com. But, as with most other cryptocoins, XRP has proven particularly volatile in recent weeks. It is now trading at less than half the 69 cents it commanded in early June.