On Tuesday (March 5th), UK-based cross-border payments specialist Mercury FX announced that it had just completed its first live commercial payment to the Philippines via Ripple's xRapid.
Mercury Foreign Exchange Limited ("Mercury FX") was founded in December 2007 by Alastair Constance. It describes itself as "a hassle-free and cost-effective alternative to banks for receiving and sending international currencies."
In January 2018, it was announced that Mercury FX had "signed up to trial Riple's xRapid real-time liqudity platform to settle retail remittances using virtual currency XRP." This is what the Mercury FX CEO said at the time:
“Ripple, XRP and fiat currency fit hand in glove. What we’re doing together is realizing one of the best use cases for frictionless transactions, which is international settlement. xRapid allows us to drive down the cost of currency exchange and global settlement, making our customers more competitive and saving them tens of millions of dollars each year. Digital assets promise fast transaction speeds but XRP is far faster than all of them, including bitcoin. Cutting settlement times from hours and days to just three seconds or less will remove billions of dollars in unnecessary intermediary fees."
Then, in May 2018, Ripple announced the "aggregated and averaged results from several early xRapid pilots" involving test payments from the U.S. to Mexico. According to these results, it said that "participating financial institutions saw a savings of 40-70 percent compared to what they normally pay expensive foreign exchange providers." Furthermore, it said that "an average xRapid payment took just over two minutes, compared to today’s average of 2-3 days when sending cross-border payments."
The CEO of Mercury FX, which was one of the companies testing xRapid for payments along the U.S. to Mexico corridor, explained why his company was "delighted" with these early results:
“Mercury is delighted with the incredible speed and cost-efficiency of the xRapid pilot phase and is excited about a production rollout in the near future. To date, the Ripple collaboration has been a great success.”
Roughly, five months later, on 1 October 2018, Ripple said that xRapid, which enables RippleNet, Ripple's its global payment network, to provide "on-demand liquidity to financial institutions for cross-border payments using the digital asset XRP" had just become "commercially available and moving into production with multiple customers, including MercuryFX, Cuallix and Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union." This led to Mercury FX sending out this tweet the same day:
Mercury FX confirmed as one of the first financial institutions to go live with xRapid— Mercury-fx Ltd (@mercury_fx_ltd) October 1, 2018
Ripple's cryptocurrency product goes live for the first time with three financial firms https://t.co/oH0W4lhj88
The Mercury FX CEO told Yahoo Finance back then why believes that xRapid will over time replace SWIFT for cross-border payments:
"There’s never been a dispute about speed or trust in an economic case. But it’s become a lot more user-friendly, and also its geography has expanded. I’m getting the feeling that many others are primed to jump on the XRP ledger now. The bottom line is I can make a payment that takes me two days and costs me $50, or make it in a few seconds for 5 cents. It’s a no-brainer. I think this will quietly replace the SWIFT network.”
The next interesting announcement from Mercury FX involving xRapid came on January 17th:
1/2 UK-based Mustard Foods saved £79.17 and 31 hours on the transaction.— Mercury-fx Ltd (@mercury_fx_ltd) January 17, 2019
On February 5th, Mercury CEO Alistair Constance spoke at the "Ripple Regionals: Europe 2019" event in London:
And these are a few of the more interesting comments he made during his chat with Marcus Treacher, Ripple's Head of Customer Success, at this event:
- "Our business is to make money move faster around the world for our clients at the lowest possible cost. So, when we started to hear about blockchain technology, it wasn't a big leap of imagination to realize how perfect this evolutionary technology would fit with payments... And that it was really a case of looking around and saying 'who's the best at doing this?', and immediately Ripple came onto the radar screen, and that was the beginning of the engagement."
- "We did our first commercial payments [involving xRapid] a couple of weeks ago. So, we're now making payments for a UK corporate to Mexico... and they are moving a lot faster than payments would go through SWIFT at a much lower cost."
- "Today or tomorrow, we are testing the Philippines with an eye to going live within the next week or so."
- "Our kind of big plan is to ask Ripple very kindly to help us get to Japan in time for the Rugby World Cup."
- "But I think the really exciting thing that xRapid and Ripple brings is... access to new markets that aren't accessible now."
And finally, yesterday, Mercury FX made this important announcement:
1/3 Mercury has just made history and completed the first ever commercial payment using #xRapid to the Philippines.— Mercury-fx Ltd (@mercury_fx_ltd) March 5, 2019
Featured Image Courtesy of Mercury FX