Finablr's UAE exchange, Ripple to start blockchain payments for the first quarter


DUBAI: United Arab Emirates based in the United Arab Emirates and US ripple plan to launch cross-border remittances to Asia via blockchain by the first quarter of 2019, said UAE Exchange Group CEO in an interview.

Asia was one of the biggest recipients of about $ 613 billion in remittances sent globally last year, with a large chunk of expatriate workers in the Middle East, where the UAE exchange, part of the payments and foreign exchange companies Finablr, is one of the main players.

Most of the funds are currently sent through foreign currency exchanges, but a growing share is being transferred via websites and apps, with the use of blockchain technology that is expected to increase in the coming years: a transition that points to the UAE and at the San Francisco Ripple capture.

"Blockchain is an incredible promise for the industry, but there is progress to be made before it becomes fully mainstream," said Promoth Manghat, also Executive Director and Chief Executive of Finablr.

"We expect to go live with Ripple by the first quarter of 2019 with one or two Asian banks, for remittances, from all over the world in Asia".

In February, UAE Exchange and Ripple announced a partnership for the processing of cross-border payments, making the company established in the United Arab Emirates the largest payment company in the Middle East to use Ripple's blockchain technology for processing of payments.

RippleNet, which includes over 100 banks and financial institutions, allows messaging, clearing and settlement of transactions.

Middle East lenders National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah (RAKBANK) and Kuwait Finance House have also joined RippleNet, along with global banks such as Standard Chartered.

"We are also considering how Ripple can improve our business-to-business solutions at Finablr," said Manghat.

Finablr, which hosts Travelex Holdings, Xpress Money and other companies, hired JPMorgan and Barclays as global coordinators for its listing in the first half of 2019 on the London Stock Exchange, according to Reuters last month.

The United Arab Emirates set a target in 2016 to spend between US $ 250 million and US $ 300 million on acquisitions to build its global market share.

Manghat stated that the company consumed a large portion of this amount and has "a strong pipeline" for further acquisition opportunities.

"Blockchain is something we are looking at: we want to become the reference partner for banks and technology companies and we are evaluating potential customers," he said.

The UAE exchange aims to increase its share of global remittance to more than 10% by 2020, Manghat had told Reuters last year.

(Reporting by Tom Arnold; Editing by Sai Sachin Ravikumar)

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