Finablr's UAE Exchange, Ripple to Begin Blockchain Payments by First Quarter

United Arab Emirates-based UAE Exchange and U.S. startup Ripple plan to launch cross-border remittances to Asia via blockchain by the first quarter of 2019, UAE Exchange's group CEO said in an interview. Asia was one of the biggest recipients of the roughly $613 billion in remittances sent globally last year, with a large swathe coming from expatriate workers in the Middle East, where UAE Exchange, part of payments and foreign exchange company Finablr, is one of the main players. Most funds are currently sent through foreign exchange branches but a growing chunk is being transferred via websites and apps, with the use of blockchain technology expected to ramp up in the next few years — a transition that UAE Exchange and San Francisco-based Ripple are aiming to capture. “Blockchain holds tremendous promise for the industry but there is progress to be made before we see it go fully mainstream," said Promoth Manghat, also executive director and chief executive at Finablr."We expect to go live with Ripple by Q1, 2019 with one or two Asian banks. This is for remittances to start with, from across the globe into Asia."In February, UAE Exchange and Ripple announced a partnership to process cross-border payments, making the UAE-based company the largest payments firm in the Middle East to use Ripple's blockchain technology for processing payments.

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