Yes, digital currencies have had a hard time of it. Yes, they are down as a group by as much as 70 percent from their peaks. The fact remains, though, that some use cases have been emerging –and with the advent of blockchain, might there be some progress in using them as currency?
The news amid the cross-border arena – which you can view here – is that Ripple’s cross-border payments offering, known as xRapid, has been busy forging partnerships to help usher in greater acceptance of such activity, and to foster a “healthy ecosystem” of partners that will switch currencies into XRP and then back again.
This time around, Ripple has brought on Bittrex as a preferred digital exchange. The process of bringing fiat to digital token and back again may seem a bit complex, but there could be some lure here, as firms immersed in the pilot have been able to save 40 percent to 70 percent of transaction costs on cross-border activity.
On a larger stage, there has been a bit of saber rattling, as Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas wrote in a German paper “it is indispensable that we strengthen European autonomy by creating payment channels that are independent of the United States. It is high time to reevaluate our partnership.” You can, of course, read about his recommendations in this week’s examination of cross-border payment developments.
And amid a trade war, in the U.S. there have been some efforts to reach out to Chinese consumers, at least in terms of individual company initiatives. CITCON wants to help merchants at the Mall of America to offer cross-border payments to Chinese tourists. Through efforts of that company onsite at the mall, merchants can facilitate payments through WeChat and Alipay. As has been noted, Chinese consumers are slated to spend roughly $80 billion in the U.S. in 2020 alone.