Spanish financial giant Banco Santander has revealed its new blockchain payment app. Santander’s mobile app leverages the Ripple payment system as a means of moving funds behind the scenes, while users initiate transfers from an Apple Pay interface with Touch ID.
According to the press release, users can send amounts between £10-£10,000. Despite the usage of Ripple’s blockchain infrastructure, the payments still take about a day to settle. At press time, the app is being used only by Santander staff.
The app currently supports GBP-to-EUR transactions for 21 counties, however, GBP-to-USD payments can be sent only to the US.
In October of last year, Santander InnoVentures, the bank’s venture capital division, pumped in 4$ million into Ripple Labs – along with CME Group and Seagate Technology – which brought the total invested in the blockchain startup to $41 million.
Sigga Sigurdardottir, managing director at Santander UK, explains that blockchain technology is here to stay and that it “will play a transformational role” in the way the bank approaches the rapidly-evolving online payments industry, “The need for finance has evolved from providing a physical Pound in your pocket or card in your purse, where you pay at a till, to being seamlessly integrated into a new, always on, connected lifestyle.” she added.
Santander UK head of media relations Andy Smith, told CoinDesk that the app will be available to the general public sometime this year, “We think it’s most likely this year, it’s not a 2017 thing,” explained Smith.
In March, Ripple Labs opened a new office in London, as the city has become a major fintech hub. The startup also brought Marcus Treacher to its London office, who previously served in various leadership capacities at HSBC and SWIFT.
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