American Express and Santander are two of the world’s leading financial services providers, and now they will be at the vanguard of traditional companies experimenting with blockchain technology.
Ripple Gives American Express and Santander Room to Experiment
With corporate interest in the blockchain starting to reach a fever pitch around the globe, American Express and Spain’s largest banking group Santander are intensifying their experiments with blockchain technology.
The two financial powerhouses will now be directing American Express’ FX International Payments platform (FXIP) – which Santander relies upon for its own cross-border payments services – through the Ripple cryptocurrency’s RippleNet network.
Specifically, and for now, the companies will rely on the xCurrent payments interface, which the Ripple team explicitly designed for banks as it requires none of Ripple’s associated XRP cryptocurrency to use.
Ripple plans long-term monetization through gradually enticing enterprise-grade clients like Santander and American Express with the xRapid interface, which does cost XRP to use and can reduce costs even more efficiently than xCurrent.
For the foreseeable future, then, American Express will be using xCurrent to quickly facilitate transatlantic cross-border payments between the United Kingdom and the United States customers.
In a statement on November 16 announcing the initiative, Marc Gordon, American Express’ chief information officer, declared his company’s foray into blockchain was only just beginning:
“This collaboration with Ripple and Santander represents the next step forward on our blockchain journey, evolving the way we move money around the world.”
If the program works well, it could convince a slew of other banks and financial institutions to try out Ripple’s xCurrent, xRapid, and even xVia interfaces. Adoption heralds further adoption, on and on.
And Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse was bullish in his remarks, too, nothing that this project will surely cause a surge of newfound institutional interest in XRP:
“We’re taking a huge step forward with American Express and Santander in solving the problems corporate customers experience with global payments. Transfers that used to take days will be completed in real-time, allowing money to move as fast as business today.”
Santander’s Been Impressed with Ripple
Pundits are not surprised Santander Group took the plunge with Ripple. On October 6, 2017, Santander Group’s venture capital arm InnoVentures invested $4 million in Ripple Labs’ Series A funding round.
Santander’s investment brought Ripple’s Series A total fundings to a respectable $32 million.
Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen said in a press release that InnoVentures’ investment was a “natural fit” for the Ripple team because, like Ripple, they want to “enable Santander” in modernizing the infrastructure of international banking.
Santander Managing Partner Mariano Belinky said that he sees the blockchain as providing a “$20 billion opportunity […] to the financial services industry.”
If Ripple proves itself now in its current enterprise-grade projects, the RippleNet network may very well end up becoming the treasury and real-time settlement system of all major global banks in the years ahead.
The stakes are high. The blockchain boom will live or die on whether outfits like Ripple will be able to successfully and efficiently provide real-world solutions for individuals and institutions alike and this latest development is significant because it is not simply a trial, but a genuine deployment of blockchain technology.