A foreign exchange giant owned by Travelex billionaire Bavaguthu Shetty has adopted cryptocurrency Ripple for its international payments, the latest major financial player to lend its backing to blockchain technology.
UAE Exchange, one of the largest in the Middle East, has signed up to the San Francisco Bitcoin rival’s RippleNet network for cross-border payments.
“Incorporating Ripple’s blockchain technology into our payments systems will bring customers an enhanced, new payments experience,” said Promoth Manghat, CEO of UAE Exchange Group.
“The early adoption of this game-changing technology allows us to offer a competitive service, as it will have an impact on the speed and cost of cross-border transactions. We are proud to deliver the future of payments with Ripple.”
UAE Exchange, whose billionaire owner bought Travelex in 2014, said it has a 6.75pc share of the $575 billion global remittance market, with ambitions to take on 10pc by 2020. It has 800 branches in more than 30 countries, making it the largest UAE-based exchange to incorporate blockchain into its daily operations.
Ripple, which has its own unit of payment called XRP, saw its popularity rise at the end of 2017 thanks to backing from 100 banks including Japanese and Korean credit card companies.
Ripple has increasingly been adopted by payment networks and banks, including UBS and Santander for its settlement technology.
When XRP hit an all-time high of $3.84 (£2.80), earlier this year, the net worth of founder Chris Larsen – understood to own 5.19 billion XRP and a 17pc stake in the company – jumped to $59.9bn, a fortune larger than Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s. However a dip last week saw him slump back down the Forbes’ rich list.
The Ripple network, which launched in 2012, acts as a system for verifying and recording transactions of various assets including its own XRP. Rather than being used as a form of payment, Ripple’s aim is to sign up customers to use its system for verifying and recording transactions of all kinds of assets.
“We chose to focus on solving inefficiencies in key corridors where payment flows are significant and growing, “said Dilip Rao, Ripple’s global head of infrastructure.
“Adding a market leader like UAE Exchange to RippleNet will bring instant, certain, low-cost payments to the millions of retail customers in the UAE who send money abroad”.