On Monday, Ripple finally announced that their XRP product is ready to hit the market. Ripple aims to make the asset the primary choice for cross-border settlements between financial institutions. In the past, many financial institutions, such as Wells Fargo, have utilized blockchain technology to perform test transactions, but with the introduction of the new product, these transactions will be possible at a much larger scale and in a commercial application.
According to Ripple’s head of regulatory relations in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East regions, Sagar Sarbhai, the product will be ready for launch by the end of October. In his words, “I am very confident that in the next one month or so you will see some good news coming in where we launch the product live in production.” The product has also been named xRapid, and it directly uses the public XRP cryptocurrency.
As of this point in time, more than 120 banks and financial institutions worldwide employ another product offered by Ripple known as xCurrent. XCurrent utilizes blockchain technology to decrease settlement time but does not make use of XRP. With the new xRapid, these companies would then have to upgrade to what is really the “newest format”. It will be a challenge to convince many of the companies to do so. To this point, Ripple has also identified three cryptocurrencies which will likely be used on the exchange: Bittrex, Bits, and Coins.ph. These will serve as the preferred partner in the xRapid ecosystem.
Sarbhai sees the new product eventually being successful as a result of the new environment and sentiment regarding cryptocurrencies. In an interview with CCN, Sarbhai said that regulators and other policymakers are really getting to the point where they realize the benefit of both cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. In a statement, he said, “A couple of years ago the narrative was: blockchain good, crypto bad. What we’re now seeing is more and more regulators, policymakers taking the whole space in one conjunction,” he continued, adding, “So, I think that narrative thankfully is now changing because policymakers, regulators are seeing that there is a strong benefit that digital assets, cryptocurrencies bring in.”
Ripple CEO Brad Garlinouse has predicted that dozens of banks will overcome the challenge of converting to xRapid and use the new platform by the end of 2019. The projection comes in the face of the ever-decreasing price of XRP. The token reached a high price of $3.84 in January of this year and since then has declined more than 93%. A majority of XRP is still owned by Ripple to date as well.