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TransferWise Still Not Convinced by Ripple

Sead Fadilpašić
Last updated: | 2 min read

The UK-based money transfer service TransferWise says they’ll start looking into blockchain-based solutions when more banks start using Ripple – in spite of Ripple scoring significant victories lately by signing up PNC Bank and Santander, among others.

Taavet Hinrikus. Source: a video screenshot

Speaking on the latest episode of Fortune’s “Balancing the Ledger,” Taavet Hinrikus, co-founder and chairman of TransferWise, said, “If every bank in the world was going through the Ripple network, it would be amazing. Yet how many banks are using Ripple today in production? It’s a very short list. In that sense we’re big supporters of Ripple or anything else… and if any of these gets enough adoption, and it actually materially helps us do things cheaper and faster, we’d love to, but so far we haven’t found one.”

TransferWise claims it has more than 4 million customers and is moving “over GBP 3 billion every month globally, saving people GBP 80 million in hidden charges.” It is available in 71 countries covering over 1,300 currency routes.

Ripple, meanwhile, keeps adding victories to their books. From signing up three new companiesMercury FX, Cuallix, and Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union – over remittance operator TransferGo implementing Ripple’s xCurrent product for cross-border payments (which is not using XRP), to its XRP coin taking second place by market cap and staying there, the company is seeing wider adoption than many other blockchain-based solutions. TransferWise, meanwhile, thinks it prudent to wait until Ripple is even more widely adopted, to make blockchain more efficient than the prevailing payments systems in banks.

TransferWise is not the only company that remains unconvinced. Back in June this year, Western Union, an American money transfer giant, said they had not seen a benefit from Ripple’s technology during a six-month trial period. The company’s CEO, Hikmet Ersek, told Fortune, “We are always criticized that Western Union is not cost-efficient, blah blah blah, but we did not see that part of the efficiency yet during our tests. The practical matter is it’s still too expensive.”

Meanwhile, TransferGo claims it has 700,000 customers across 47 destinations worldwide and completes 1.5 million transactions per year and has implemented xCurrent for their cross-border payments. Back in October, the CEO, Daumantas Dvilinskas, said he had his sights on growing the company’s customer base from one million to one hundred million and for this, he says that TransferGo’s partnership with Ripple will be key.