US blockchain technology company Ripple linked up with Pyypl, a Middle East FinTech, to introduce RippleNet’s first on-demand liquidity solution for cross-border payments between the Middle East and the Philippines.
The ODL solution enables RippleNet, a network of banks and money services businesses that employ solutions developed by Ripple, to use the XRP digital currency as a bridge between two fiat currencies, allowing them to transfer funds economically and instantly across jurisdictions.
This will eliminate the need for costly pre-funded destination accounts, the two companies said on Tuesday.
“The Middle East and North Africa continues to be a critical region for Ripple thanks to … a welcoming regulatory environment and a regional focus on the needed improvements in the current financial system,” said Brooks Entwistle, managing director of RippleNet in the Asia-Pacific and Mena regions.
“The establishment of yet another first-to-market ODL launch demonstrates that digital assets will play a central role in the future of global payments.”
The Middle East contains two of the world’s three largest remittance corridors, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia handling a combined $78 billion ($286.5bn) in payments in 2020, according to the World Bank.
The Mena region also experienced a rapid transition to digital in the last year, making it a market that is primed for FinTech innovation.
Transfers through exchange houses fell by Dh18.1bn, or 13.8 per cent, but outward remittances through banks increased by Dh9.8bn, or 28.8 per cent, the regulator said.
Ripple uses cryptocurrencies to tackle challenges associated with cross-border payments.
By using ODL, financial institutions and small and medium enterprises can tap into previously trapped, pre-funded capital to grow their business, the companies said.
Founded in 2012, Ripple’s blockchain technology is currently used by hundreds of financial institutions across more than 55 countries.
“We are excited to be Ripple’s first partner of choice to bring the deployment of ODL to the Middle East. This enables our users to deliver remittances instantly and cost-effectively,” said Antti Arponen, co-founder and chief executive of Pyypl.
“We have also reduced our inefficient use of capital through ODL and look forward to an exciting roll-out of its capabilities across the region.”
Pyypl, which is licensed by the Abu Dhabi Global Market’s Financial Services Regulatory Authority, started with ODL services in the Philippines.
It plans to expand to new markets and explore additional use cases.
The digital currency XRP will not be held in the UAE and transactions will not involve UAE dirhams as part of the payment flow, the companies said.
In the Asia-Pacific region, Ripple announced its first-to-market ODL corridor in Japan in partnership with SBI Remit and acquired a 40 per cent stake in cross-border payments company Tranglo in Malaysia to expand the availability of its ODL service, the companies said.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission sued Ripple and two of its executives in December for allegedly misleading XRP investors.
The company and its executives, who are also significant security holders, were accused of raising more than $1.3bn through an unregistered, ongoing digital asset securities offering.
Pyypl enables digital payments for the one billion smartphone users in the Middle East and Africa who are financially underserved.
Professional network LinkedIn ranked it among the UAE’s top 10 start-ups to work for in 2021.