Adoption has been one of the things that could get cryptocurrencies back in the game. For more than a year, Bitcoin along with other cryptocurrencies went bearish. One of the reasons for this is the regulatory changes. A number of regulators took a closer look at the crypto market especially when there’s the possibility of it being used in money laundering and in tax evasion.
Can we actually see an increase in crypto adoption this year? Ripple has been working towards getting banks to use XRP in cross-border transactions for the past months. And so far, it has effectively attracted different institutions.
$1.7 Million Investment
Ripple, along with Mastercard Foundation, MIT Media Lab, Techstars, Mahindra Finance, 2020 Ventures, and 8 Decimal Capital came up with a $1.7 million funding of a new remittance startup that will make use of XRP. SendFriend was founded at MIT.
SendFriend targets overseas workers from the Philippines to be able to remit with less cost. According to statistics, there are around 2.2 million overseas workers from the Philippines scattered in different parts of the globe. In fact, it has been known for years that remittances made it possible for the Philippine economy to stay afloat. According to SendFriend, “XRP is used as a liquidity vehicle for cross-border payments, enabling SendFriend to circumvent the corresponding banking system and convert USD to XRP to PHP (Philippine Peso) in a matter of seconds”.
Though it isn’t live yet, it is set to launch in New Jersey soon. For David Lighton who is the co-founder and the chief executive officer of SendFriend, “The existing correspondent banking system is slow, inefficient and costly”.
Ripple is Making Changes
Ripple is currently making changes. In fact, it has removed Cory Johnson, the Bloomberg TV anchor who worked as chief market strategist for Ripple. According to Ripple’s spokesperson, “Cory’s last year at Ripple was a success in representing the company to investors, press and regulators”. In addition to this, the company mentioned that “Cory helped Ripple with strategy internally and overall industry education. But due to changes in market conditions, we’ve chosen to eliminate the role of Chief Market Strategist”.
Also, it seems that Western Union is getting ready to use Ripple to lessen the cost of cross-border transactions. In an interview with Molly Shea who is the general manager of Asia Pacific for Western Union, “When you think about cryptocurrencies, if those start to take off, we need to be ready. We need to be ready from a technology perspective. And we’ve got to be ready from—regulatory has to be there—but we constantly have to be looking for those trends where customers are looking and make sure that you’re ready to meet those needs and expectations”.
Western Union is trying to experiment with the xRapid and XRP. If it works, it is possible that Western Union will be using XRP in their cross-border transactions.
This wasn’t the first time Western Union tried Ripple. There was a time when Western Union mentioned that XRP wasn’t helping lessen the cost of cross-border transactions. However, it was said that the sample was just too small.