Ripple, the California-based developer of a blockchain technology for cross-border payments, is clearly focused on global expansion given the number of international partnerships it landed lately. Now, the company is reportedly looking to enter the Chinese market with its digital payments solution.
In a phone interview with CNBC, Jeremy Light, Ripple’s vice president of European Union strategic accounts, said China is “definitely a target” for the company. Taking into account the government’s crackdown on cryptocurrency trading, it is unlikely that Ripple wants to promote the use of its virtual currency in the region.
In February, the company partnered with the Hong Kong-based financial services provider LianLian International to enable faster transactions between China, Europe, and the US, via its xCurrent settlement solution. LianLian International is a leading Chinese financial company in Hong Kong, processing billions in payments between merchants and consumers and serving over 150 million users in the region.
xCurrent is an enterprise software solution that allows banks to instantly perform cross-border transactions with end-to-end tracking. With xCurrent, banks message each other in real-time to confirm delivery and other details prior to sending the payment.
A couple months ago, payments giant American Express confirmed it is going to integrate xCurrent to let its cardholders conduct instant cross-border transactions and settlements. As AmEx Vice President Colin O’Flaherty noted at the time, the technology offers an opportunity to eliminate the issues faced by its customers.
Last month, Ripple successfully completed the trial of xRapid, its another platform that uses its XRP coin and designed for fast cross-border transfers. This product has already attracted interest of such financial giants as Western Union and MoneyGram. While the company plans to officially launch the product this year, the date of the release is still unknown.
Unlike bitcoin’s blockchain, where all transactions are validated by miners on public distributed ledger network, Ripple’s bockchain is controlled by a network of independent servers, which can belong to retailers, banks, and individuals. Its token XRP is also different from bitcoin, ethereum, and other digital currencies, as it was launched at its inception in the amount of 100 billion.
As part of Ripple’s expansion strategy in Asia and the Middle East, the company has recently partnered with a number of banks in India, including Axis Bank, Yes Bank, IndusInd Bank. Last month, it cooperated with a leading Indian bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, that will join Ripple’s enterprise blockchain network.
Earlier this year, Ripple launched a new payment app Money Tap in Japan, thus increasing its foothold in the Asian region. Apart from Asian countries, the company is making efforts to expand operations in Europe. As we earlier reported, Ripple is planning partnerships with several banks in Germany.
Despite relatively good performance this year, Ripple’s cryptocurrency has recently plunged to its lowest level in 2018, which could prevent its further adoption. At press time, the cryptocurrency is trading at $0.28, CoinMarketCap shows.