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Ripple partners with Hyderabad-based BTCXIndia to launch XRP exchange

LiveMint logoLiveMint 23-05-2017 Yuvraj Malik

New Delhi: Ripple Labs Inc., a Google-backed firm and the world’s fourth most-funded blockchain start-up , has partnered with crypto-currency exchange BTCXIndia to start a buying and selling facility for XRP (ripple), the crypto-token used by Ripple.

BTCXIndia, managed by Hyderabad-based S Capital Solutions Pvt. Ltd., was started in 2013 by commodity markets trader Kamesh Mupparaju. Before it temporarily suspended trades in April, BTCXIndia enabled trading for bitcoin and ethereum, the world’s largest and third-largest crypto-currency, respectively, by market capitalisation.

“We stopped trading functions to integrate Ripple technology to trade XRP. We are launching an integrated exchange that will allow users to trade in bitcoin, ethereum and XRP all through one user account,” Mupparaju said in a telephone interview.

The platform, with only the XRP trading facility, went live last week offering XRP at Rs24.34 apiece.

Ripple confirmed the news. “We are pleased that customers in India now have a way of accessing XRP. With its listing on BTCxchange, the digital asset is now available to this very large and fast-growing market,” said Miguel Vias, Head of XRP Markets.

XRP is created by San Francisco, US-based Ripple, to use as a token for its core product: a technology framework for banks to carry out cross-border transactions. The company claims it settles cross border payments (between Ripple technology-enabled banks) within minutes. The process typically takes two-three days to a week.

About 75 banks including UK’s Standard Chartered PLC, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Union Bank of Switzerland and National Bank of Abu Dhabi are testing Ripple’s enterprise blockchain solution, according to Ripple’s website. Earlier this year, Yes Bank and Axis Bank, two private sectors banks in India, joined this list.

“The scope of this tie-up is to facilitate bank account to bank account cross-border remittances,” said Amresh Acharya, group president and head- global banking at Yes bank.

“It will offer our customers with a dual advantage of real time remittance and reduced exchange rate uncertainties allowing them to know the exact amount they will receive in their accounts,” he said, without giving a timeline for rolling out the technology.

As it brings banks into its fold, Ripple is laying a network of liquidity providers (in the form of XRP exchanges) across the globe, with an idea to allow retail users to trade in and hold XRP. This, according to Ripple’s Vias, ascribes a stable market value to XRP in the local currency, making it easier for banks to transact in these countries using the Ripple protocol.

“For instance, if a company wants to send a payment from Europe to the Philippines via XRP, this requires XRP to be listed on exchanges in each country. As a result one of our primary goals this year has been to partner with digital asset exchanges in key countries in order to get XRP listed against their respective fiat crosses,” Vias, who sits out of New York, said in an emailed response to Mint’s queries.

XRP is traded at Poloniex in the US, Coinone in South Korea, Kraken in Canada and Bitstamp in Slovenia (in the order of trade volume), among others. According to Ripple’s website, 99.9 billion XRP (total number of token created; will not exceed this number) held a market value of $29.9 billion ($0.3 apiece) as of Tuesday.

To put into perspective, 16,346,425 bitcoins mined across the world till date held value equivalent to $35.9 billion ($2,195.20 apiece), while 91.8 million ethereum coins were worth $15.3 billion ($166.9 apiece), as of Tuesday, according popular blockchain data mining website CoinDesk.

To be sure, only a fraction of these are with Indians and are mostly traded on wallet-cum-exchange platforms Zebpay (Ahmadabad-based Zeb IT Services Pvt. Ltd) and Unocoin (in Bengaluru).

“Right now there only 50-odd ripples (XRP) in India but these are expected to increase with XRP exchange we are launching,” BTCXIndia’s Mupparaju said.

He said retail users typically use crypto-tokens as assets to store value, and move the value to other tokens based on price trends.

“Now the price of bitcoin is really high so the user does not want to take the risk; at any time the price can fluctuate. So the user may convert a portion of his bitcoins to XRP or say ethereum,” Mupparaju said.

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