The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK), one of the largest banks in the Middle East, could be about to go live with Ripple’s xCurrent payment solution in the coming weeks.
A source familiar with the matter told Crypto Briefing in an email exchange that NBK had been actively preparing for its first transaction using xCurrent, a cross-border settlement service. The bank is currently awaiting approval from the Central Bank of Kuwait, which the source said would “hopefully” happen either by the end of October, or the beginning of November.
Once the bank had the regulatory go-ahead, the source suggested, it would be able to fire its first live transaction using xCurrent.
xCurrent is a payments solutions developed by Ripple Labs. It is designed as a fast and frictionless messaging service for banks to communicate with one another before, during and after a cross-border transaction.
Although xCurrent is based on blockchain technology, it does not use cryptocurrencies. Ripple’s other solution, xRapid, allows banks to send payments using the XRP token. Banks convert payments into XRP and send it over to the other party, who can then transfer it back into the appropriate fiat currency.
Is there Kuwait blockchain adoption?
NBK first announced its interest in Ripple in a tweet, posted towards the end of May. There were no specifics at the time, other than the bank would be joining RippleNet, the wide umbrella association for banks and other financial institutions that are trialing or actively using Ripple technology.
— National Bank of Kuwait (@NBKPage) May 29, 2018
The Middle-East region has long been one of the main markets interested in adopting Ripple’s technology. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) announced back in February that it was also experimenting with xCurrent for use within the country’s banks.
NBK is not the first bank in Kuwait to successfully implement Ripple. The Kuwait Finance House (KFH) announced in mid-August that it had successfully sent its first transaction using xRapid. That said the government has adopted a hawkish position towards cryptocurrency in general. The country’s finance minister said in December that it did not recognize bitcoin (BTC) as a currency, and that it had banned banks under its jurisdiction from trading the asset.
xCurrent making a Ripple…
Hints dropped by the Ripple team suggested that the technology was being implemented. Sagar Sabhari, Ripple’s head of regulatory relations in Asia-Pacific and the Middle-East, disclosed to CNBC on September 17th that he believed xRapid would be live “in the next one month or so”.
The National Bank of Kuwait has revenue in the billions and sends transactions all across the world. Its adoption of xCurrent will raise the profile of Ripple’s technology and might act as a catalyst for other banks to adopt the technology. An instant messaging service like xCurrent is still a major step.
But since it specifically does not require the use of any cryptocurrency, theoretically, this news should have no impact on the price of XRP.
The author is invested in BTC and ETH, which are mentioned in this article.