Abu Dhabi-based remittance firm UAE Exchange is collaborating with Ripple to introduce blockchain-based payments across Asia, set to go live in the first quarter of 2019, Reuters reported Thursday.
As UAE Exchange CEO Promoth Manghat stated in the report, Ripple’s blockchain-based payments network RippleNet is expected to be initially launched with support from “one or two banks in Asia.”
At present, Asian workers in the UAE accounts for the country’s largest fraction of global remittance transactions. As of May 2018, 36.7 percent of the total remittance in Asia came from India, while 8.8 percent accounted for transfers from Pakistan, with the Philippines trailing not far behind at 6.9 percent, according to a previous report published by local news outlet Gulf Business.
As indicated on the company’s website, the UAE Exchange is currently affiliated with over 140 banks and has a presence across 31 territories.
Explaining the firm’s gradual adoption of blockchain technology, Manghat told Reuters:
“Blockchain holds tremendous promise for the industry but there is progress to be made before we see it go fully mainstream.”
Ripple’s partnership with the UAE exchange was initially disclosed back in February, in an effort to cut cost while streamlining cross-border payments transactions.
Prior to working with the UAE Exchange, Ripple has also inked multiple deals with a number of financial institutions across the globe to integrate blockchain technology into remittances, among which includes South Korean crypto exchange Coinone, Malaysian banking group CIMB, as well as American banking giant PNC.
As it stands, the global remittance market has been expanding exponentially in recent years. In 2017, over $256 billion worth of remittance has been facilitated in the Asia-Pacific region alone, as reported by the United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Based on the World Bank’s projections, global remittances are expected to expand by as much as $642 billion by the end of 2018.