Last month, Banco Santander announced their intention of joining forces with Ripple and creating an App for superfast, blockchain-based transactions. Earlier this week, Santander proved as good as their word with the official launch of the groundbreaking One Pay FX
The web is awash with rumors of major corporations claiming they want to work with a certain cryptocurrency, or integrate blockchain technology to improve a specific area of their business. On the whole, those rumors prove to be nothing more than that. Occasionally big companies come forward and state their intention of doing something specific within the crypto-blockchain industry. More often than not, these prove to be empty promises.
For those reasons, crypto experts weren’t 100% convinced when Spanish financial heavyweights Banco Santander announced their intention of developing an app with Ripple, the world’s third biggest cryptocurrency. Sure, we knew that Ripple had been developed specially to speed up bank transactions and cut costs to a fraction, and we also knew that Santander are one of the most forward-thinking banks around, but still… we weren’t convinced.
So it came as a welcome surprise when the news dropped earlier this week that Santander and Ripple had joined forces to create One Pay FX, the first ever blockchain-based banking app!
Santander & Ripple; Building A Bright Future Together
It was subsequently revealed that One Pay FX has been under development for two years, and is only the first of many more joint ventures planned by Banco Santander involving the Ripple Company and Ripple’s blockchain technology. Santander had apparently been a fan of Ripple since its inception, and in 2015 Santander Innoventures invested $200 million from its FinTech slush fund, back in 2015.
The news of the Santander-Ripple alliance and the launch of One Pay FX caused both companies’ share value to rise, a nice short-term reward for investors and shareholders. The real benefits of this deal will be enjoyed for years to come, and both parties should be commended – Ripple for being pioneers of what the blockchain can bring to banking, and Santander for being the first major bank to take a significant gamble on a cryptocurrency.
Banco Santander – known outside of Spain as the Santander Group – began life more than 160 years ago in the Spanish city of Santander. Today the Santander Group is the world’s 37th largest company, established in Madrid, New York, London, Sao Paulo, Milan, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Warsaw and Lisbon, its banks serving the regions of Europe, North America, South America, Singapore, Hong Kong and Africa. It is Europe’s seventh largest bank, with assets in excess of $1.4 trillion.
In the UK, Banco Santander enjoys a very high profile, thanks mainly to its absorption of several long-established UK banks and building societies including Abbey National, Alliance & Leicester and Bradford & Bingley. Santander is also famous for its TV advertising campaign using various sporting figures including golfer Rory McIlroy, racing drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, and athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill.
The Ripple Company is the San Francisco-based creator and host of the cryptocurrency known as Ripple. Ripple is a payment protocol, a currency exchange and remittance network that is based on blockchain technology. It was founded by Chris Larsen and Jed McCaleb and developed by Arthur Britto, David Schwartz and Ryan Fugger. Ripple was released in 2012 under the name OpenCoin (it was rebranded as Ripple the following year) and is technically described as an RTGS (Real-Time Gross Settlement System).
As of April 2018, the Ripple Company’s market cap value is $28.3 billion, with Ripple coins costing $0.73. Ripple is currently the world’s 3rd ranked cryptocurrency, based off market cap value. Only Bitcoin and Ethereum rank higher. Ripple’s value increased dramatically throughout 2017, peaking in January 2018 at $380 billion. For a little while, Ripple’s co-founder Chris Larsen was worth $55 billion and as rich as Mark Zuckerberg. Of course, that didn’t last, and Ripple’s price dropped substantially, but it has since stabilized.
One Pay FX
Banco Santander introduced One Pay FX as a service that “makes it possible for customers to complete international transfers on the same day in many cases or by the next day. The service also shows them the exact amount that will be received in the destination currency before they make the transfer.”
This level of speed in a transaction, and the clarity in the amount of money sent and received is groundbreaking, and only possible because of the blockchain technology that Ripple brings to the arrangement. Santander says that the service will be available to retail customers in Spain, UK, Brazil and Poland, and more countries will have access to One Pay FX in the coming months.
In the words of Ana Botin, the Executive Chairman of Banco Santander:
“One Pay FX uses blockchain-based technology to provide a fast, simple and secure way to transfer money internationally – offering value, transparency, and the trust and service customers expect from a bank like Santander. From today, customers in the UK can use One Pay to transfer money across Europe and to the US. In Spain, customers can transfer to UK and US, while customers in Brazil and Poland can transfer to the UK.”
“Transfers to Europe can be made on the same day and we are aiming to deliver instant transfers across several markets by the summer. Our goal is to help the thousands of people who use international payments services every day, and we will be adding more currencies and destinations in the coming months. Blockchain technology offers tremendous opportunities to improve the services we offer our customers, and the launch of Santander One Pay FX is the first of many potential applications”.