On Monday (1 October 2018), Ripple announced, at its annual “Swell by Ripple” conference (held in San Francisco), that its XRP-based product, xRapid, has officially launched, and that three firms have already signed production contracts.

Until now, xRapid, which uses XRP as the bridge currency, was in beta testing mode, and had only been used by some financial institutions in quite limited pilot trials. Ripple says that now, multiple customers, including Mercury FXCuallix, and Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union, will finally be able to use xRapid in their production environments for key remittance corridors.

xRapid “eliminates the need for a pre-funded nostro account when executing a cross-border payment”, and it “sources liquidity from XRP on exchanges around the world.” This allows it to cross-border transactions much faster than traditional methods (think minutes rather than days), and at significantly lower cost.

As covered by CryptoGlobe, Both MercuryFX and Cuallix had taken part in the pilot phase of xRapid earlier this year, and found significant time and cost savings. Mercury FX will be using xRapid for the Europe to Mexico corridor, whilst Cuallix will initially focus on the very popular U.S. to Mexico corridor (to allow Mexicans working in the U.S. to send money to their friends and relatives in Mexico). Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union, which is a “a wholesale cooperative financial institution that serves more than 1,400 member and client credit unions” across the U.S., will deploy xRapid “on behalf of their members to create a new cross-border payment service.”

The CEO and founder of MercuryFX, Alastair Constance, said:

“MercuryFX has been working closely with Ripple for more than a year to bring the power of RippleNet to our customers. In pilot tests we saw the benefits of xRapid, and we’re excited to roll commercial payments out within the quarter. The time to replace slow, expensive payments architecture is now because the need for global access to smooth-flowing capital has never been so acute.”

Constance told Fortune that “to send $1,000 via the status quo method, represented by the SWIFT international payments network, this would take 2-to-3 days to settle and cost somewhere between $40 to $75 on average”, while with xRapid, “MercuryFX was able to make payments in two minutes at a cost of ‘not even a couple cents’.” His final words: “The economics speak for themselves.”

Nicolas Palacios, the CFO of Cuallix, stated:

“The promise of digital assets has always been faster, more efficient payments. That’s why we started exploring xRapid for our financial services platforms Payllix and Cuallet — to help our customers whose livelihoods depend on sending micro-payments easily and quickly to Mexico. Now, our customers can finally realize that promise.”

As for Brad Ganey, Senior Vice President and COO at Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union, he explained:

“The traditional international wire experience fails to meet today’s expectations from a price, speed and ease-of-use perspective. Blockchain technology, and specifically Ripple’s xRapid product, resolves all three of these challenges simultaneously. Catalyst Corporate, through our subsidiary companies’ technology platforms, will leverage the XRP digital asset to transfer money across borders instantly on behalf of our 1400+ member credit unions. We have signed a production contract and are currently building out our plan.”

Asheesh Birla, Ripple’s Senior Vice president of Product, told CNBC:

“I'm really excited to bring the product into the market at a time when there is a lot of skepticism about digital assets and their real use case. Here's something where we're finding a ton of value and providing a ton of value to our customers using digital assets to move money more efficiently.”

He also said:

“Banks worldwide are not first adopters of the xRapid product, but we are seeing a lot of financial institutions in general and payment providers moving forward with that product. We have a lot of business with payment providers… in certain markets, I think banks will move faster towards leveraging digital assets, and so it really depends on the regulation and the local market… Those countries have a lot more forward-looking regulation when it comes to digital assets, so I would envision that those would be the first bank adopters.”

Over on Twitter, the CEO of Ripple, Brad Garlinghouse, had this to say:

Garlinghouse told Fortune:

“The industry needs to mature and be less dependent on speculative trading and more dependent on solving real problems for real customers… We’ve been talking about how Ripple intends to do that and now we have more and more proof in the pudding… It’s a big deal for Ripple, it’s a big deal for the XRP community, and it’s big deal for crypto.”

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