Last week, during the Financial Sector Conference, Saudi British Bank (SABB) launched its Instant Cross-Border Payment Service powered by Ripple’s blockchain technology. The announcement comes amidst the bank’s plan for a strategic shift towards “digital transformation and enriching customer experience”.
SABB is a multibillion-dollar banking giant currently controlling $50 billion in assets. SABB joined Ripple’s blockchain network last year in January 2018 under the support of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA). Also, by December 2018, SABB processed its first-ever payment in Indian Rupee/INR using Ripple’s blockchain technology.
Majed Najm, Deputy Managing Director Corporate and Institutional Banking at SABB, called it a crucial step initiated by SABB in improving its banking services. Najim notes that using the latest technology and global products available, SABB plans to establish systems that help to save time and effort for their customers.
Furthermore, the initiative will also bolster SABB’s position as a “leading global bank in the Kingdom”. Najim added:
“SABB provides its customers with faster, safer and more transparent cross-border payment services by the launch of “Blockchain” technology through “Ripple”. The Indian Rupee (INR) is a positive start to an upcoming roadmap being the first currency to be activated in SABB. This plan aims to provide customers with a valuable service and link more countries and currencies in the near future.”
This strategic partnership can give Ripple an edge over its SWIFT competitor.
The emergence of blockchain technology is changing the dynamics of global banking. Riding on the blockchain wave, Ripple is slowly emerging as a major competitor to Swift. However, for Ripple to topple Swift in its game, it has to bring as many banking partners as Swift to its platform. For this, Ripple needs to boost the liquidity of XRP and enhance the usability of the Ripple blockchain network.
Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse is pretty confident and consistent in his vision to make Ripple a dominant player in providing banking infrastructure. In November 2018, speaking to Bloomberg, Garlinghouse said:
“The technologies that banks use today that Swift developed decades ago really hasn’t evolved or kept up with the market. Swift said not that long ago they didn’t see blockchain as a solution to correspondent banking. We’ve got well over 100 of their customers saying they disagree. What we’re doing and executing on a day-by-day basis is, in fact, taking over Swift”.
While Ripple plans to emerge as a leader in blockchain-based banking payments systems, the road ahead is not easy. This is because Wall Street banking giant JPMorgan is already working on its blockchain plans.
Last week CoinSpeaker reported that JPMorgan has now over 200 banks signed up to its IIN blockchain network. JPMorgan’s Interbank Information Network (IIN), is a permissioned variant of the Ethereum blockchain.
Also, the IIN network has seen sign-ups from some of the world’s leading banking institutions like the Royal Bank of Canada, India’s ICICI Bank, Bank of Sharjah, National Australia Bank Limited, and more.
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