Ripple announced the much-anticipated launch of its xRapid product for international payments on Monday, as the status of its currency XRP remains a question. The launch was announced as part of Swell, an event in San Francisco organized and hosted by Ripple.
Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said in an interview with Fortune:
“The industry needs to mature and be less dependent on speculative trading and more dependent on solving real problems for real customers. We’ve been talking about how Ripple intends to do that and now we have more and more proof in the pudding. It’s a big deal for Ripple, it’s a big deal for the XRP community, and it’s big deal for crypto.”
Hints and Rumors
We reported back in September that Ripple could be launching xRapid within the next month. Company executive Sagar Sarbhai said as much in an interview with CNBC in September. Sarbhai said Ripple had put years of work into xRapid at that point, and a launch in the near future was inevitable.
xRapid is going into commercial production. @mercury_fx_ltd, @Cuallix and Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union will be the first to make on-demand cross-border payments on RippleNet using #XRP. https://t.co/dQ02J4vdBl
— Ripple (@Ripple) October 1, 2018
xRapid aims to do for international transactions what xCurrent is already doing for banks: cutting out the middleman and speeding up transaction times using blockchain technology built on Ethereum’s network.
Right now, the transfer of money between countries can take days, and xRapid reduces that time to minutes. There are still intermediaries that a transaction has to pass through when using xRapid to be converted back to a country’s respective fiat currency, but it still takes far less time using the service than with current methods according to Ripple. Since Ripple’s XRP cryptocurrency is used to make the transfer, the need for pre-funded local accounts in each country is eliminated.
Earlier this year, xRapid was tested using transactions between the U.S. and Mexico, with drastically shorter transaction times and minimal fees.
A Record Year
Ripple has been building up momentum for some time now, signing on partners and getting banks to back them on xCurrent, testing out xRapid, and now the commercial launch. XRP is in the top five most valuable cryptocurrencies right alongside Bitcoin and Ethereum.
A press release on the launch states that xRapid will be implemented by multiple payment providers around the world, including MercuryFX, Cuallix, and Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union.
Cuallix handles transactions between the U.S. and Mexico, while MercuryFX will handle transactions between Europe and Mexico. Both companies participated in the test pilot of xRapid earlier this year. Catalyst is a credit union serving over 1,400 customers in the U.S. and will use xRapid to facilitate cross-border payments for its members.
XRP’s status as a security is still in question, according to Fortune. As such, the currency is stuck in a kind of legal limbo. If regulators deem XRP a security, it could interfere with the currency being used the way it is now. Ripple is moving forward regardless, and the tests of xRapid have proven promising.
When asked by Fortune about the test of xRapid and how it compares to the current system for international transactions called SWIFT, MercuryFX CEO Alistair Constance said he said he was able to make payments in minutes instead of days.
He told the magazine:
“The economics speak for themselves.”