Mastercard and Barclays Invest, in Ripple-Backed xRapid Project

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Mastercard and Barclays, two of the world’s largest financial service companies and banking institutions, have initiated investments into a project backed by Ripple and the company’s XRP-based xRapid service.

SendFriend, a remittance company using Ripple’s xRapid service for cross-border payments, has received investments from MasterCard, Barclays and Ripple itself in the most recent round of funding reported in a press release on Feb. 11. In addition to the aforementioned companies, SendFriend also received investments from MIT Media Lab, Techstars, Mahindra Finance, 2020 Ventures and 8 Decimal Capital in a round that saw the firm raise $1.7 million in capital.

Mastercard and Barclays Invest, in Ripple-Backed xRapid ProjectSendFriend is primarily targeting a Philippine and U.S. remittance market, utilizing the xRapid service to exchange USD and Philippine pesos with XRP to create cheap, friction-less cross-border transactions that occur almost instantly.

While Ripple, the San Francisco-based parent company behind the XRP coin, has been busy in promoting blockchain adoption and development for the technology, the company has also played a role in spurring cryptocurrency use through its liquid remittance services. xRapid, in particular, has been hailed as a conduit for developing countries and bank-less populations to utilize cheap, fast and secure global transactions and remittances without the need for traditional financial institutions.

According to the press release, with the use of xRapid and XRP for liquidity SendFriend will be able to offer customers remittance services with fees “65% lower than the industry average.”

Ripple may have been forced to stand idly while Ethereum overtook XRP for the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, but the company has been hard at work furthering the fruition of both blockchain and secure digital assets. Last week EWN reported on the expansion of Ripple’s Blockchain University Research Program, which now counts Duke and Cornell–in addition to some of the world’s premier institutions–in the collective of its budding initiative.

Ripple’s Payment Network also added products under the control of Finablr, a giant platform in global payment processors and foreign exchange including UAE Exchange and Unimoni, to round out what has been an impressive week for both Ripple and the general industry of cryptocurrency.

As Bitcoin moves towards greater acceptance on Wall Street with news of an all-but-confirmed Exchange-Traded Fund forthcoming from the Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.), Ripple has continued plugging away for penetrance into the sector of financial technology. SendFriend, backed by Ripple’s xRapid service, is the latest iteration of a company leveraging the liquidity of XRP for cheap and effective cross-border transactions.

According to Yuan Ruan, Founder of 8 Decimal Capital, SendFriend has managed to distinguish itself in an otherwise competitive industry,

“SendFriend has built strong partnerships along its supply chain, while developing a foundation to significantly minimize friction in the system. This is a highly competitive space with longtime incumbents, but we are confident in the success of SendFriend. SendFriend has a good combination of an experienced team, large $650 billion remittance market, investors that provide more than just capital, and a growth strategy focused on more than revenue from transactions including APIs and white-label solutions.”

SendFriend hopes to reduce the burden of the extensive overseas Filipino worker population who regularly relies upon international fiat transfer services for sending money home.

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