Ripple’s token XRP is up by 20% on the news that SBI Ripple Asia has signed a partnership agreement with some of the largest credit card companies in Japan in a bid to bring Ripple’s enterprise blockchain solutions to the Japanese market of payment cards. The consortium will initially be composed of three major credit card providers including JCB, Sumitomo Mitsui Card and Credit Saison.
The new credit card consortium has already developed a new payments app powered by Ripple’s blockchain technology that enables real time payments using a phone number or a QR code.
Ripple and SBI Holdings created SBI Ripple Asia in January 2016 and already manages a consortium of more than 60 Japanese banks who leverage Ripple’s blockchain technology for instant payments and settlement. The consortium also includes mega-banks such as Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), MUFG and Mizuho.
The digital currency XRP rose 50% in last one week percent to a record high of $1.43, making it the third-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization at $45 billion, behind bitcoin and ethereum. Ripple is one of the best performing this year, up more than 20,000% after ending 2016 at $ 0.006368. In comparison, bitcoin has gained about 1,500% and ethereum is up roughly 9,200% this year.
Ripple is a San Francisco-based start-up using blockchain technology to develop a payments network for banks, digital asset exchanges and other financial institutions. Network participants use a digital coin called XRP for transactions. The start-up owns 61% of the 100 billion XRP in existence. At Wednesday’s record high prices, that gives Ripple about $87.23 billion worth of the digital currency.
Ripple is like a Western Union using blockchain technology. It is a digital payment system that allows for discounts for its service for those who pay to use it in the Ripple coin. The company is run by CEO Brad Garlinghouse, who has held senior executive positions at AOL and Yahoo! between 2003 and 2012
More than 100 financial institutions use Ripple’s blockchain network, according to the company. In November, Ripple said American Express FX International Payments and Santander would use Ripple’s network for cross-border payments between the U.S. and the U.K.
Ripple has raised $93.6 million from investors such as CME Ventures, Standard Chartered Bank, Andreessen Horowitz and Alphabet’s GV, formerly Google Ventures, according to Crunchbase. TechCrunch founder Mike Arrington also announced at the end of November that he is launching a $100 million “cryptofund” that will be denominated in XRP.