Santander, one of Europe’s largest banks, rolled out its One Pay FX service across four countries today. The blockchain based international money transfer service is the first such system to be rolled out by a bank across different currencies and markets. It uses xCurrent technology, developed by Ripple Labs, the California based blockchain company. It will allow for same-day international bank transfers, initially for customers in the UK, Brazil, Poland and Spain.
Not all users will have access to the same amount of destinations though. Santander’s UK customers will be able to use One Pay FX to transfer funds to 21 European countries, as well as to the US. Spanish ones will be able to send money to the UK and the US, while those using the service in Brazil or Poland will only able to use it to send money to the UK. The bank hopes that, by the summer, instantaneous international payments will be possible using One Pay FX. Over the coming months, customers in other countries will be able to use the product as well.
Santander has been a long-time backer of Ripple Labs. InnoVentures, the Spanish bank’s fintech investment fund, put money into Ripple beginning in 2015. Their platform allows any currency, or cryptocurrency, to be moved around between different wallets, and is popular because it does not require the use of the proprietary coin XRP. Santander has built upon this and made it easier for less tech-adept people to exploit the benefits of the blockchain. Transactions can be faster and more secure, without some of the hefty fees which competitors, like Western Union, charge.
The launch marks another milestone in the adoption of blockchain by established financial institutions. Large investment vehicles, like Venrock or Soros Fund Management, have recently started putting money in the cryptocurrency market, and 2018 has been heralded as the year where blockchain, and the services it allows, will really be embraced beyond the enthusiast community.
(Photo by Year of the Dragon, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=88710)
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