The Kuwait Finance House (KFH) has become the Arab nation’s first bank to join RippleNet, an enterprise blockchain network from industry giant Ripple, for international remittance payments.
In an announcement, the Kuwaiti bank confirmed its move to join RippleNet, a SWIFT-replacement global blockchain network that sees over 100 financial institutions including banks, payment providers, remittance operators and other financial institutions use the product for real-time clearing and settlement of international transactions.
KFH, which is also Kuwait’s first Islamic bank, underlined its intention to use Ripple’s ‘unique tool’ for cross-border payments for its retail customers, stating:
With this, KFH can provide instant and secure cross-border money transfers within seconds, with end-to-end visibility over the journey of the payment.
Details of the offering are currently scarce and it remains to be seen if the bank uses Ripple’s xCurrent, an enterprise blockchain software that enables settlements in fiat or xRapid, a product which uses Ripple’s token cryptocurrency XRP for real-time liquidity for international transactions.
While the bank says it will require the approval of the Central Bank of Kuwait (CBK) prior to the launch of the Ripple-enabled service, KFH insists customers will benefit from faster payments in increased efficiency, security and transparency of the transaction at markedly lower costs than traditional remittance solutions.
Elsewhere in the region, UAE-based RAK Bank, also known as the National Bank of Ras Al-Khaimah, an emirate in the UAE, became a RippleNet member in September to enable “instant, frictionless and secure money transfer services” to recipients with accounts in India’s Axis Bank, also a RippleNet member. In February, one of the Middle East’s biggest money transfer and forex firms, the UAE Exchange, also joined the blockchain network developed by San Francisco-based Ripple.
The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), the defacto central bank of Saudi Arabia, has also partnered Ripple to pilot Ripple’s xCurrent among a number of regional banks. The SAMA also became the first central bank in the world to join RippleNet.