SBI Group, a Tokyo-based financial services firm that launched the first bank-owned crypto exchange last year, published its latest financial report in which it noted that American fintech, Ripple Labs’ products have the potential to improve the international payments system.

Covering a nine-month period ending on December 31st, 2018, SBI Group’s financial outlook report provided an overview of the products developed by San Francisco-based Ripple Labs. The giant holding company’s report also covered blockchain consortium, R3’s line of products – as SBI’s management believes these core solutions will improve trade finance and help expedite international payments.

In the section called “Business Area Separation of Ripple and R3,” SBI’s report mentioned that most of Ripple’s products have been developed to improve “international remittance.” Meanwhile, R3’s distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based solutions “are not limited to the financial industry” as they offer “smart contract-based technology”, the report stated.

Corda Settler, S Coin Platform To Help Expedite Transfers

SBI’s business strategy document further noted that XRP (a digital token that was developed by Ripple Labs) is the first cryptocurrency that was integrated into R3’s Corda Settler, which is “an application purpose-built to allow for payment obligations raised on the Corda blockchain platform to be made through any of the world’s payment systems, both traditional and blockchain-based.”

SBI’s extensive 155-page write-up also noted that its blockchain-enabled S coin platform (which the firm tested by conducting retail transactions in September 2018) would be used along with the Corda Settler – in order to expedite cross-border transfers.

In June 2018, the Japanese financial holding firm launched SBI Virtual Currencies. As part of its crypto exchange platform, SBI also began offering spot trading through a service called VCTRRADE. At that time, the bank’s platform only supported spot trading for XRP/Japanse Yen (JPY). Since then, VCTRADE has started accepting deposits for bitcoin (BTC) and ether (ETH).

SBI Holdings Acquires Stake In Clear Markets

In August 2018, SBI Group announced it would start offering cryptocurrency derivatives trading to institutional investors. In order introduce the new crypto trading option, SBI Holdings had acquired a 10% stake in Clear Markets, a US-based digital marketplace provider. At the time of deal, the Nikkei Asian Review had estimated the value SBI’s stake in Clear Markets to be around $9 million (1 billion JPY).

Mark Brickell, the CEO at Clear Markets, had revealed that SBI would also be offering a swap trading venue. Commenting on how Japan is one of the world’s most crypto trading markets (at that time), Brickell remarked:

As much as 50 per cent of cash trading in cryptocurrency has taken pace in Japan, so that is a nice place for us to start.