Ripple, the company behind cryptocurrency XRP, is betting big on Asia
Ripple, the company behind cryptocurrency XRP, is
setting its sights on Asia.
Asheesh Birla, VP of product for Ripple, told Business
Insider that banks on the continent are more open to innovation
than US-based firms.
The company is speeding up plans for XRapid, a product
that enhances cross-border payments in emerging
the financial technology company behind cryptocurrency XRP, is
setting its sights on Asia.
XRP gripped the attention of the financial media as its
price soared by 1,400% in less than a month. But behind the
headlines about a soaring cryptocurrency is an upstart financial
technology company looking to simplify and expedite international
“It would be helpful to think of Ripple
as a corporation,” Asheesh Birla, VP of
product for Ripple, told Business Insider. “We make software
products and we sell them to banks, payment providers like
MoneyGram, just as an example.”
XRP is just part of the equation for Ripple.
Leaning in on Asia
Birla told Business Insider he sees a big opportunity for
both XRP and Ripple in Asia, where regulators are more open to
innovation and banks are more willing to take a chance on nascent
technology, such as distributed ledgers.
“They have a bigger risk appetite,” Birla
said. “We have a big emphasis in India and
Japan. In the US market it has been a little bit slow to be
As such, Ripple is speeding up plans for XRapid, an
XRP-powered product that seeks to enhance cross-border payments
for emerging markets. Siam Bank in Thailand and Axis Bank in
India are two financial services firms using the product,
according to Birla. Neither bank responded to messages seeking
“I am blown away with how fast these banks are digging into
this,” Birla said. “Demand is off the charts.”
In some parts of Asia, regulators have provided more guidance on
cryptocurrencies than those in the US. Japan, for instance,
deemed bitcoin a legal tender and its top financial regulator
provided a clear definition for cryptocurrencies in its amended
Payment Services Act in 2017. Singapore, another popular
destination for cryptocurrency companies,
promotes fintech innovation via a regulatory sandbox program.
“That makes institutional money feel more secure with the space,”
John Spallanzani of Miller Value Partners said.
In December, SBI Ripple Asia announced a partnership with 61
Japanese banks to run tests on how distributed ledger technology
can simplify international money transfers. It could also lower
costs, according to research by Deutsche Bank.
“Fees for overseas remittances could fall as low as one-tenth the
current level of several hundred yen,” the bank said.
Still, some market watchers are skeptical of whether Ripple will
be able to attract big bank clients. New York Times
reporter Nathaniel Popper said he was unable to verify many of
cooperating banks the company had previously announced. CEO
Brad Garlinghouse denied those claims.