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Ripple to Invest Up to $50M in MoneyGram Following New Partnership

Ripple will provide up to $50 million to MoneyGram has part of a new two-year partnership.

Major money transmission network MoneyGram has entered into a strategic partnership with blockchain-based payments firm Ripple, according to a press release on June 17.

As part of the two-year agreement, the two firms will become partners in cross-border payments and foreign exchange settlements with digital assets. As part of the agreement, MoneyGram will be able to draw up to $50 million dollars from Ripple in exchange for equity.

MoneyGram will purportedly use Ripple’s xRapid liquidity product, which allows money to be sent in one currency and instantly settled in the destination currency. In using Ripple’s XRP token for such transfers, xRapid can purportedly settle such transactions faster than with fiat currencies or other major digital assets. MoneyGram Chairman and CEO Alex Holmes said:

“Through Ripple’s xRapid product, we will have the ability to instantly settle funds from U.S. dollars to destination currencies on a 24/7 basis, which has the potential to revolutionize our operations and dramatically streamline our global liquidity management.”

According to its website, MoneyGram is the second largest payments firm in the world, operating in over 200 countries. Much of MoneyGram’s business is in the global remittances market, the value of which is estimated to be worth $600 billion.

In March, India’s Federal Bank (IFB), a commercial private bank, partnered with Ripple to use its network for cross-border remittances. The partnership was part of an initiative to apply new technologies to IFB’s remittances network, having also launched two platforms in the United Arab Emirates for making payments to India.

Earlier this month, Ripple launched a Brazilian office with the goal of expanding across Latin America. Luiz Antonio Sacco, former CEO at the Brazilian subsidiary of global warranty solution provider The Warranty Group, will reportedly lead the new office.

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Thai, Myanmar Central Bank Governors Endorse Blockchain Remittance Service

Veerathai Santiprabhob, the Central bank governor of Thailand, reportedly defined the Ethereum-based remittance system as an important step.

The governors of two central banks endorsed the Ethereum (ETH)-based remittance system developed by blockchain company Everex, the firm reported in a press release shared with Cointelegraph today, April 5. The service is set up to send payments between Thailand and Myanmar.

The system was reportedly presented by the startup, along with its partners, state-owned Krungthai Bank of Thailand and Shwe Bank of Myanmar, at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) central bank governors and finance ministers meeting on April 4.

The Everex press release cites Veerathai Santiprabhob, the governor of Thailand’s Central Bank, as commenting on the project:

“This project is an important step forward for the more than 3 million workers in Thailand who might have so far used not secured channels.”

The governor of the central bank of Myanmar, U Kyaw Kyaw Maung, also made a statement about the initiative during the meeting, quoted in the press release as saying:

“Both countries share a common culture and traditions. Those bring countries and people together the same way as Krungthai and Shwe bank cross border remittance money transfer service. Transactions will be faster and more secure.”

The release also notes that the company received a letter of approval from the Bank of Thailand, the country’s central bank, to launch its service as requested by the involved parties. A tweet from Everex yesterday also includes a link to a press release from Thailand’s central bank that details the agenda for the ASEAN meeting and describes Everex’s product.

According Everex’s press release, on March 28, Krungthai Bank signed a Letter of Intent to introduce its cross-border money transfer service between Thailand and Myanmar. Per the release, over three million Myanmar migrant workers reside and work in Thailand and every month send part of their income to Myanmar.

Moreover, the service based on Everex’s system, dubbed “Krungthai Bank and Shwe Bank Remittance powered by Everex,” allows users to make money transfers via a smartphone at any time.

As Cointelegraph reported last week, India’s Federal Bank, a commercial private bank, has partnered with Ripple to use its network for cross-border remittances.

In the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates’ central bank and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority announced in January that they are developing their own interbank digital currency, which will be called “Aber.”

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Major Private Indian Bank Partners With Ripple for Cross-Border Remittances

Major private Indian bank, Federal Bank, has partnered with Ripple for its cross-border remittances network.

India’s Federal Bank, a commercial private bank, has partnered with Ripple to use its network for cross-border remittances. The bank announced the development in a letter on March 28.

The partnership with Ripple comes as part of a wider initiative to apply new technologies to the bank’s remittances network. Also on March 28, Federal Bank launched two remittance platforms in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for making payments to India.

One of the platforms will purportedly allow non-resident Indians in the UAE to send money through exchange houses and banks using the Virtual Payment Address of the recipient.

Federal Bank, which netted $1.5 billion in revenue in 2018, reportedly controls 15 percent of the Indian remittances market and is exploring how new technologies like blockchain could help increase its share of business. Federal Bank CEO Shyam Srinivasan told Gulf News:

“Federal Bank is an important part of the remittance eco-system to India, so, it is only natural for us to offer the latest technology to our customers and remittance partners such as exchange houses and banks.”

The bank stated that Ripple “ensures [that] cross-border transactions [are] much safer and secured.”

Ripple has been gaining traction as banks worldwide consider whether the network could help improve their cross-border payments services. In February, Oman’s second largest bank by market value, BankDhofar, began using RippleNet technology for cross-border payments to India.

The fourth and largest of a series of blockchain supporter rallies is set for Bangalore on March 30, and is anticipated to have a huge public impact because of the planned participation of numerous developers.

The public outcry follows a ban from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) last year, when RBI ordered financial institutions to stop dealing with cryptocurrency businesses.

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National Bank of Kuwait Launches Ripple-Based Cross-Border Payments Product

The National Bank of Kuwait has launched a remittance product for cross-border live payments based on RippleNet’s blockchain technology.

The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has launched a cross-border remittance product based on RippleNet’s blockchain technology, according to an announcement published Dec. 27.

Established in 1952, the NBK is the largest financial institution in terms of assets in Kuwait. Per the bank’s 2017 annual report, the NBK has over $86.3 billion in total assets.

The NBK has reportedly become the first financial establishment in Kuwait to implement a remittance product — “NBK Direct Remit” — for international live payments based on RippleNet’s blockchain technology. The product will purportedly speed up cross-border money transfers.

Dimitrios Kokosioulis, the deputy CEO of group operations and technology, said that the blockchain-based solution allows the bank’s customers to “make money transfers within seconds” and “anytime of the day.” Kokosioulis added that the service will also be available in Jordan, and will subsequently expand to other countries.

In November, Malaysian lending giant CIMB Group Holdings Bhd joined RippleNet. CIMB will integrate Ripple’s XCurrent product, a software solution for expediting cross-border payments, for its “SpeedSend” remittance product.

Also that month, Japanese bank and financial services firm Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. said it will use Ripple to create a new cross-border payments service to Brazil through partnership with Banco Bradesco. The product aims to “assist the banks as they work toward commercializing a high-speed, transparent and traceable cross-border payments solution between Japan and Brazil.”

In October, Ripple launched its real-time settlement platform xRapid for commercial use. xRapid is a platform designed to speed up international payments, while eliminating the need for a pre-funded nostro account.

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Japanese Giant Mizuho Financial Group to Introduce Digital Currency for Cashless Payments

Japanese giant Mizuho Financial Group plans to introduce a digital currency for remittances and payments in March.

 

Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group plans to introduce a digital currency to be used for remittances and payments in March, English-language Asian media Nikkei reports Dec. 26.

According to the article, the fees that the retail shops will be required to pay for accepting the currency will be significantly lower than the fees charged for credit card usage. The transfer of funds back and forth between the digital wallet and the bank account will reportedly be free, as will be sending funds to other users.

Furthermore, according to Nikkei, the bank brought “about 60 regional banks on board” to promote cashless payments. Moreover, regional banks will reportedly be able to provide the service under a common name, which hasn’t been established yet.

The currency will reportedly be managed by a dedicated smartphone app, and the payments will be made using QR codes. The token will be a stablecoin fixed at a price of 1 yen per unit, Nikkei writes.

Mizuho Financial Group is a public banking holding company that reported 1.45 trillion yen of revenue in 2017, equivalent to over $13 billion. The virtual currency is the result of the development of J-Coin, announced in September 2017 by Mizuho.

As Cointelegraph reported in January, Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), the world’s fifth-largest bank, will also launch its own digital currency: MUFG coin.

In regard to crypto legislation within Japan, the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) is considering placing cryptocurrencies into a dedicated legal category called “crypto-assets” to prevent confusion with legal tender.

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New Remittances System to Tackle Crypto Volatility When International Payments Are Made

A fintech company is launching a new system of remittances that’s designed to help consumers avoid fluctuations in value when sending crypto around the world.

A Japanese fintech company has unveiled a system that is designed to address the price volatility seen when cryptocurrencies are used for remittances.

Atom Solutions says that, at present, the options for foreign workers who need to make overseas remittances are imperfect. While costs can be high when they try to complete transactions through a traditional bank, an entirely different issue altogether comes to the fore when crypto is used. Because of the wild fluctuations seen in the marketplace — from Bitcoin and Ethereum to lesser-known altcoins — the value of a remittance can fall dramatically in a short space of time, meaning that the fiat converted to crypto for a remittance can be worth a lot less when it’s converted back to fiat at the other end.

This is why the firm has devised the Equivalent Value Overseas Remittance System, which is known as EVOR for short. Atom Solutions believes that this product has the potential to eliminate decades of shortcomings in this high-value industry.

As an example, let’s imagine that someone in Japan wants to send money to a loved one over in the Philippines. The company’s multicurrency wallet will enable the person making the payment to purchase crypto using Japanese yen before transferring it to the wallet of their relative in the Philippines. This then arrives in the local fiat currency — helping to drive costs down by alleviating the risks associated with foreign exchange.

The speed at which this transaction takes place is a crucial factor in ensuring that the value of a remittance is preserved, and Atom Solutions says another advantage is how EVOR offers “the lowest cost possible in the world” in terms of fees.

A suite of financial services

Atom Solutions says that it wants to offer a suite of financial services extending beyond remittances, all with a view of making crypto more practical for everyday use.

It has created a new digital asset known as Eternal Coin (XEC). In addition to playing an instrumental role in the remittances process, the platform also plans to enable its community to lend XEC to other users on a peer-to-peer basis. They would have the potential to earn interest on these loans by getting a share of the transaction fees paid by the borrower.

Overall, Atom Solutions says that its concept for remittances is something that has never been implemented in the world before. It hopes its products, combined with its multicurrency wallet and official exchange system, will help transform the industry for the better.

Remittances on the rise

Data from the World Bank surrounding remittances to low- and middle-income nations helps to paint a picture of why reform is needed. The independent group recently said that remittances hit a record high in 2017 — increasing by 8.5 percent to reach $466 billion over a 12-month period. When you include the money flowing to high-income countries, this figure soars further to $613 billion, an increase of 7 percent. When it comes to the areas where most remittances were sent, India, China, the Philippines, Mexico, Nigeria and Egypt topped the list.

Remittances have been growing further in 2018, the World Bank said, and given how these sums of money often serve as crucial lifelines for the recipients, Atom Solutions is hoping their concept will help them access more of this money without losing cash to exorbitant fees.

Atom Solutions is based in Tokyo, and the Equivalent Value Overseas Remittance System is scheduled to be launched at the beginning of March 2019. Users are now being invited to try the EVOR Simulator prior to the launch of its official service.

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