New statements from the vice president of European Union strategic accounts at Ripple reveal that the creators of the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency are looking to expand their Distributed Ledger Technology software services into China. Jeremy Light told CNBC, “China is definitely of interest, it is definitely a target.” The popular blockchain company has been actively expanding into Asian markets but will no doubt be facing a long road ahead establishing a financial foothold in China.
Ripple’s Early Successes in Asian Markets
Ripple is just coming off its first court case victory following a series of class action lawsuits filed against it for allegedly manipulating the price of the company’s XRP token. The San Francisco-based blockchain software firm has maintained that they are in no way in control of XRP’s price, insisting that Ripple and XRP are two entirely independent entities. Despite the controversy surrounding Ripple, the XRP token has managed to hold its position as the world’s third largest cryptocurrency, and Ripple has succeeded in forming a number of important deals this year in places like Hong Kong and Japan.
“Earlier this year, [Ripple] struck a deal with Hong Kong-based financial services firm LianLian International, aimed at powering the latter’s cross-border transactions between China, the U.S. and Europe,” reports CNBC. “Elsewhere in Asia, Ripple has created an app called Money Tap in Japan, in partnership with 61 domestic lenders. The app is designed to allow banks to settle round-the-clock payments in the country.”
Meanwhile, Ripple’s XRP cryptocurrency token is becoming increasingly popular in Taiwan and the Philippines. Following reports of increased trading volumes in these regions, Ripple announced this morning that cryptocurrency exchanges Bittrex, Bitso and Coins.ph will serve as “preferred digital asset exchanges” for the XRP ecosystem. Coins.ph alone has more than 5 million users in the Philippines.
“The corridors we’re focused on [are] organic,” Ripple’s chief market strategist Cory Johnson told Coindesk. “We want to focus on busy corridors. We want to focus on places where there’s a very vibrant XRP marketplace, and we want to focus on places where we can have the most value.”
Suggested Reading: Learn more about Ripple in our ‘What is Ripple?‘ beginner’s guide.
Predictions for Strategies in China
The busiest corridor still awaiting Ripple is likely China. However, as Ripple moves into the world’s second largest national economy, it is unlikely the company will make any attempt at promoting its XRP token. China has put outright bans on most cryptocurrency trading, and ICO campaigns are completely illegal in the region. Ripple will likely be focusing on forming business partnerships with large financial technology (fintech) firms in the region, who have also expressed little to no interest in cryptocurrency historically.
With this in mind, Ripple will likely focus on pushing its xCurrent product, a software platform which helps in instantly settling global payments. xCurrent has already begun to generate popularity among large financial institutions and banks worldwide, but CNBC suspects that Ripple is still a long ways away from becoming more than a flash in the pan in China.
“Ripple currently has more than 100 financial institutions signed up to its network, including Santander, UniCredit, UBS and Standard Chartered,” writes CNBC. “But with just one Chinese client, the firm would have a long way to go before making waves in the country.”
Ripple’s xRapid Platform Draws Attention From Big Money Transfer Firms.
Ripple’s XRP token has lost more than 90 percent of its value since hitting record highs of $3.81 in January of this year. Now valued at 29 cents, Ripple’s market cap has fallen from $147 billion down to $11.5 billion. Despite this, large money transfer firms like MoneyGram and Western Union have expressed interest in utilizing Ripple’s xRapid cryptocurrency payment services platform. CNBC reports that these companies are currently undergoing trial phases in incorporating xRapid into their commercial services.