The Fintech Effect

Start-up Ripple has over 100 clients as mainstream finance warms to blockchain

Key Points
  • Ripple now has more than 100 sign-ups to its blockchain network RippleNet
  • These include big-name clients such as Santander, UniCredit, UBS and Standard Chartered
  • One institution, Cuallix, will be the first to use its cryptocurrency XRP

Ripple has signed up several new financial institutions to its blockchain network, bringing its clientele to more than 100.

The financial technology start-up is the owner of XRP, the third most valuable cryptocurrency behind rivals bitcoin and ethereum, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

Its distributed ledger network, RippleNet, has been joined by the likes of United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based lender RAKBANK and U.K.-based currency exchange firm IFX. It has also cleared a payments path into South America by signing up online payment provider dLocal.

Blockchains are huge encrypted groupings of data dispersed across the globe that record information on digital currency transactions. People are able to exchange digital assets across these distributed ledgers without friction as they are not governed by intermediaries such as governments and central banks.

Ripple hopes its latest round of financial customers will allow it to undermine the dominance of banks and corporations over financial transactions.

"The global payments industry really has been ruled by an oligopoly, led by players like JPMorgan and Citi," Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse told CNBC during a phone call Monday.

He referred to criticisms leveled at cryptocurrencies like bitcoin by business leaders such as Jamie Dimon and Ray Dalio.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse on the future of cryptocurrencies

"It's certainly not that surprising to see Jamie Dimon's comments recently on bitcoin given that they (JPMorgan) control that oligopoly."

Dimon called bitcoin a "fraud" that will eventually "blow up."

Cuallix to be first financial to pilot XRP

One of Ripple's new corporate customers, Mexican non-bank financial services firm Cuallix, will be the first institution to trial Ripple's cryptocurrency, the firm said Tuesday.

Ripple claims its digital asset XRP is among the most liquid due its low transaction fees and instant payments.

Banks and corporations are currently required to pre-fund local currency accounts around the world to be able to send payments quickly.

By using Ripple's virtual currency, Cuallix will be able to lower the cost of payments from the U.S. to Mexico, Garlinghouse said.

"I think we're really at a tipping point for the blockchain industry," he said.

The start-up already has interest from big-name clients including Santander, UniCredit, UBS and Standard Chartered. It announced the addition of Spain's BBVA and Japan's MUFG to its blockchain platform earlier this year.