Cryptocurrency has had a rough month, but 2017 proved that despite short term ups and downs blockchain based coin is generally on an upward trajectory. Last year, the combined market value of all cryptocurrency reached an impressive $613 billion after starting the year at not even $18 billion. This is partly because the addition of new forms of cryptocurrency through initial coin offerings raised the aggregate market cap..
While bitcoin gets most of the attention of blockchain news, last year was a strong year for new types of cryptocurrency, perhaps most notably Ripple.
Ripple climbed to nearly a $150 billion market cap last month. In 2017, Ripple’s XRP coin gained more than 35,500% in value. With those results, Ripple’s blockchain and XRP token are being targeted toward large financial institutions.
Ripple already has five major companies testing its blockchain technology and/or XRP coin.
Released in mid-November, the co-venture will allow American Express users to send non-card payments to U.K. Santander accounts over the AmEx FX International Payment network by having those payments processed through Ripple’s blockchain.
Ripple believes this will significantly reduce wait time for payments to clear from several days, to almost instantly.
The XRP token could eventually be integrated in cross-border transactions to further expedite payment settlement. Because American Express and Banco Santander are financial juggernauts in the United States and Europe respectively, this partnership will demonstrate Ripple’s blockchain ability to scale.
Last month, Ripple and money transfer service MoneyGram International (NASDAQ:MGI) announced that they’d be testing Ripple’s technology and XRP coins in order to expedite transfer settlements and lower transaction costs. According to HowMuch.net, Ripple’s ability to process up to 1,500 transactions per secondsurpasses its better known cryptocurrency rivals. Ripple’s transaction fees of just a fraction of a penny each also give it a competitive edge.
Ripple’s XRP token is an ideal intermediary in cross-border transactions.
For example, a U.S. consumer who sends money to Mexico through MoneyGram International could theoretically send payment in dollars which then instantly convert to XRP coins which then convert into Mexican pesos. The transaction would take seconds and cost less than a penny. MoneyGram isn’t rolling this platform out on a large scale just yet, though.
Deloitte is a private but global accounting company, and it was among the first to test drive Ripple’s blockchain technology.
In May 2016, Deloitte revealed its plan to integrate Ripple’s blockchain and the Temenos Core Banking Software used by more than 1,000 financial institutions around the world. In combination with Bluzelle, a blockchain software developer, Deloitte wanted to send funds in real-time all over the world without a financial intermediary.
Patrick Laurent, Partner and Technology Leader at Deloitte explained: “There is an enormous potential for banks to leverage disruptive technology to make their existing payment processes faster, cheaper, and more secure. The new-generation customer is now driving change in banking, and soon he will no longer accept to wait for three days for an international payment to go through.” Perhaps no single brand-name company is more linked to Ripple’s success than SBI Holdings (NASDAQOTH:SBHGF), the financial-services division of SBI Group.
Within the past month, SBI Holdings announced that its newly released digital asset exchange, SBI Virtual Currencies, would only use the XRP token at launch.
Because SBI Securities is the largest online securities company in Japan, with over 4 million brokerage accounts, this decision will showcase Ripple’s XRP to individual digital asset buyers in Japan and institutional clients.
Furthermore, SBI Holdings also announced last year that it will test Ripple’s blockchain technology in order to expedite money transfers between South Korean and Japanese banks. Though SBI Holdings is also simultaneously developing its own proprietary blockchain technology, they do make abundant use of Ripple’s blockchain and XRP token.
Although Ripple does not yet have the brand name appeal of Bitcoin, it is gaining mainstream traction and a reputable image through its adoption by such major financial institutions. While Bitcoin might be in the spotlight more often, don’t forget to keep an eye on Ripple.