Ripple makes splash with Western Union and Forbes ‘Fintech 50 for 2018’ List

Ripple makes splash with Western Union and Forbes ‘Fintech 50 for 2018’ List

Western Union

The financial services provider Western Union (WU) is testing transactions with the use of Ripple’s (XRP) Blockchain-based settlement system, the company’s Chief Financial Officer Raj Agrawal said in an interview with Bloomberg Feb. 14.

The globally known money transfer company Western Union confirmed that it is testing Ripple following more than a month of rumor-fueled speculation that began in early January. The announcement comes after Western Union reported its 2017 results, claiming a revenue of $1.4 bln - a 5 percent increase over the previous year.

As Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse told Bloomberg, WU has decided to look into their platform in order to facilitate money transfers, particularly cross-border ones. Garlinghouse explained their choice by claiming that Ripple allows for transactions that are “a thousand times faster and a thousand times cheaper than Bitcoin’s.”

According to Bloomberg, Western Union’s Chief Executive Officer Hikmet Ersek also confirmed that testing is taking place during a conference call Tuesday, Feb. 13.

We are looking especially in the processing settlement and working capital optimization, also in the regulation part, on the compliance part on the blockchain capabilities,” Ersek said, adding “we do have some tests with Ripple.”

Ripple (XRP) is a Blockchain-based settlement protocol and a cryptocurrency that has reached almost half of Bitcoin’s market capitalization in early January 2018, when its price rallied to over $3.50 per coin. By the middle of January, however, the XRP price has bounced back to a little over $1.10.

Wednesday, Feb. 14, it was reported that a partnership was signed between Ripple and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) to provide the technology for cross-border payments to banks in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

Forbes 'Fintech 50 for 2018'

In Forbes' third edition of the “Fintech 50”, a list of the top 50 financial technology companies globally of 2018, released on Feb. 13, eleven of the companies listed use Blockchain technology or are connected to the cryptocurrency industry.

The founders of three of the companies, The Bitfury Group, Coinbase, and Ripple that made the Fintech 50 also made Forbes' list of the “Richest People in Cryptocurrency” released last week.

Forbes' site has a separate article breaking down the influence of Blockchain and crypto companies that made the Fintech 50 list.

Forbes writes that perhaps unseen behind the nonstop news coverage of crypto price volatility, the Blockchain companies listed in the Fintech 50 are “building infrastructure—to support both public cryptocurrency markets and initiatives that could transform how current financial transactions are executed and recorded.”

Of the nine companies that Forbes lists as “The Future of Blockchain And Cryptocurrency”, five have made the Fintech 50 list for the first time this year. Each of the nine companies are profiled with a small blurb about their activities, their cofounders, their funding, and who they are a “threat to.”

For example, the company Blockchain is described as the “world’s most popular cryptocurrency wallet” that is a threat to Coinbase and Xapo, while Chain, which offers office Blockchain technology and ledger balance software, is described as a threat to “inefficient legacy record keeping in finance.”

Veem and Robinhood, which made the Fintech 50 list, but which Forbes does not mention on its Blockchain and crypto side list, are also associated with the crypto world.

Veem is a sending and receiving payment system for businesses that uses Blockchain technology, and Robinhood is a stock trading app that recently announced the launch of zero-fee crypto trading of Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH) for its users this month.

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