Ripple news: Cryptocurrency could hit China market this year | City & Business | Finance

The company is in informal talks with regulators, banks and payment providers with a view to initially launch its XCurrent software in China.

This allows banks to instantly settle cross-border payments with the end-to-end track but which doesn’t use cryptocurrency.

Ripple’s head of government and regulatory relations for Asia Pacific Sagar Sarbhai said: “This year you will see more announcements coming in on China, in terms of educating and differentiating us from some of the other cryptocurrencies that are out there.

“As we speak, our team is strategising about entering the market, but it’s still very early days.”

Mr Sarbhai confirmed the lack of regulatory clarity around blockchain and cryptocurrency in China has so far delayed its market entry but he hopes the company is making progress soon.

Last year CEO of Ripple Brad Garlinghouse said the launch in China was imminent.

Mr Sarbhai added: “We’re trying to get some regulatory clarity, we’ve started engaging informally with banks, FIs and payment providers, speaking to regulators and government bodies, trying to educate on what Ripple is and what our vision is.

“In Asia Pacific we already have live clients in Japan, India, Thailand… We’re in active discussions with almost all the countries in Asia Pacific and are finding one bank almost every week.”

The company recently partnered with Hong Kong-based money transfer company LianLian.

This will see the Hong Kong-based company process real-time invoice and e-commerce payments on behalf of businesses using RippleNet, which is Ripple’s payments network.

This gives it access to inbound payments market to China, but it is still not present in Mainland China.

But Mr Sarbhai said he is “very bullish” on China and the country forms an important part of an aggressive strategy for Asia Pacific.

Other issues around entering the Chinese market may be Chinese capital controls.

In recent years they have limited the number of capital institutions that can repatriate or transfer cross-border from China as well as the potential trade war between the US and China.

GTR reported that US fintech companies could be vulnerable to trade actions between the world’s two largest economies as evidenced when in January the US Government blocks US$1.2bn sale of MoneyGram to Alibaba’s Ant Financial platform.

Mr Sarbhai said: “In our discussions with China’s regulatory bodies so far, this is something that hasn’t come up. We’re essentially a software company, licensing software to banks and enterprises who want to move money cross-border.

“If a Chinese bank wants to use our solution and the regulator sees no risk with the solution, I don’t see why the government, even in a so-called hostile environment, would have any issue with that. But this is early days in what you call the trade war and hostile environment.”

But because of the volatile nature of Ripple and other cryptocurrencies, it is not advised for the general public to invest.