Santander Launches Blockchain Payments Service

European financial giant Banco Santander S.A. (SAN), or the Santander Group, has become the first bank to use blockchain technology for the international transfer of customer funds. Santander One Pay FX, a ripple-enabled mobile app for cross border payments using its xCurrent platform, is now available to Santander's retail customers in four countries after two years of development. The service uses the underlying distributed ledger technology to enable same-day international money transfers.

While xCurrent, the distributed network platform used for the new app, does not utilize Ripple's XRP, the digital coin jumped on Thursday amid a larger rally in the cryptocurrency space. Trading at $0.64 on Friday at 11:36 UTC, XRP reflects an over 30% gain in 48 hours. 

(See also: Bitcoin Will Become World’s ‘Single Currency’: Dorsey.)

Ripple Inks Deals with Financial Institutions for Distributed Ledger Tech, XRP Jumps 30% 

The decentralized network that records a massive and growing list of transactions was initially used to underpin bitcoin, the world's largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, and has been experimented with by major banks and big businesses for a variety of uses. Leaders across industries such as JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM), Walmart Inc. (WMT) and International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) have invested in blockchain projects for a variety of potential use cases, particularly as a means to store and share data and transactions in an easy, reliable way. 

Santander's blockchain-powered foreign exchange platform is live in Spain, the U.K., Brazil and Poland, and is expected to roll out to other countries in the coming months, said the bank. According to the Financial Times, foreign exchange transactions from the four countries initially covered by the app could account for nearly 50% of the volume of Santander's retail consumers. 

In 2015, the Spanish financial behemoth's fintech venture capital fund, named InnoVentures, participated in Ripple's first round of funding, contributing $4 million in a $32 million Series A round. Ripple, the company that created the digital currency of the same name which trades as XRP, inked two deals with money transfer firms MoneyGram International Inc. (MGI) and The Western Union Co. (WU) earlier this year. On Wednesday, Ripple invested $25 million in Blockchain Capital, a venture capital firm focused exclusively on the blockchain technology sector and the crypto ecosystem. 

(See also: Crypto Trading Is Skyrocketing in Japan.)

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