Ripple developing new payments app

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on March 8, 2018.
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TOKYO: Ripple, the US digital payments company, is working with 61 Japanese banks on an application that will enable customers to settle cash transfers instantly around the clock, the latest effort to apply blockchain technology in finance.

The mobile app will allow users to send funds to other bank accounts in the country, Ripple said in a statement yesterday. Beta testing will start next month and three of the lenders — SBI Sumishin Net Bank Ltd, Suruga Bank Ltd and Resona Bank Ltd — aim to roll out the service to customers later this year.

Ripple is already working with banks in other countries to overhaul how they handle payments. Blockchain, the digital ledger technology being used for bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, has been touted as a potential way to track transactions in a range of industries. In Japan, banks and authorities are keen to embrace financial technology to improve efficiency as high costs and low interest rates put pressure on profitability. The MoneyTap app will create “faster, safer and more efficient” payments, Takashi Okita, chief executive officer of a joint venture between Ripple and Sumishin’s parent company SBI Holdings Inc that is working with the Japanese bank consortium, said in the statement. — Bloomberg