Ripple Joins Forces with 61 Banks to Speed Up Transactions in Japan

Ripple Blockchain-based Payment app used by 61 banks to Speed Up Transactions in Japan

On March 7, Ripple announced its new blockchain-powered payment app called “Money Tap”. The company revealed the payment app was developed in partnership with a consortium of 61 Japanese banks and will go live in the fall.

Ripple says the app will launch with three banks included in the consortium — SBI Net Sumishin Bank, Suruga Bank and Resona Bank — in an initial phase, but afterwards will be rolled out to the rest of the consortium.

According to the Blockchain firm, the app is designed to provide banks with an easy and instant settling of round-the-clock domestic payments in Japan. To use the app, consumers will require a bank account, phone number or a QR barcode.

The Banking consortium

The banking consortium is led by SBI Ripple Asia, a joint venture between Ripple and SBI Net Sumishin Bank’s parent company SBI Group.

CEO of SBI Ripple Asia Takashi Okita said:

“Together with the trust, reliability and reach of the bank consortium, we can remove friction from payments and create a faster, safer, and more efficient domestic payments experience for our customers.”

Ripple Technology

Ripple’s own blockchain technology is known mainly as the underlying network for its cryptocurrency, XRP, often referred to itself as Ripple. But it is also used more generally for real-time transaction settlements.

Since its first appearance, Ripple has been a cause for several discussions among the cryptocurrency community, with many voices criticizing its firm’s partnerships with banks and its majority stake in XRP. Despite Ripple being a distributed ledger technology, it is clearly a centralized means of exchange and that raised a lot of concerns. Many even fear Ripple to be the Banks’ Trojan Horse that might end up all this cryptocurrency frenzy.

Since then, Ripple has been making agreements with several banks and financial institutions, one of them being U.S. money transfer giant MoneyGram, which is also the company’s partner in the development of Ripple’s payment network xRapid. The company even allowed some financial institutions to use its digital asset as a means of speeding up payments and cutting friction with international transactions.

Recently, Ripple announced a new partnership with another company, Cambridge Global Payments.  Cambridge Global Payments is a business-to-business (B2B) payment firm of New York-listed finance company Fleetcor, and will also be piloting XRP using using Ripple’s payment platform xRapid.

Japan and cryptocurrencies

Japan is home to a huge market for fintech, or financial technology, particularly in the areas of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Japan traditionally is a huge hub for fintech and the innovation sector. There, we can find an exciting environment where new companies are establishing themselves daily, particularly in the areas of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

The country officially recognized Bitcoin as legal tender last year and is considered to be a safe haven for cryptocurrency-related companies, including cryptocurrency exchanges. However, due to a huge cryptocurrency heist that saw more than $500 million worth of the virtual currency NEM stolen from a crypto exchange called Coincheck, Japan’s regulators have become increasingly concerned, and now seem to be leaning towards implementing a new set of rules.

Apart from a few Asian countries, including South Korea and China, concerns on cryptocurrency have also been expressed by many other governments all around the world. Leaders are already learning to accept that cryptocurrencies are here and one way or another, a new regulation set will need to be carved out to suit this new phenomenon.

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