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India’s third-largest private sector bank Axis Bank has launched instant international payment services using the enterprise blockchain technology solution from Ripple. The bank has launched a service for its retail customers in India to receive payments from RAKBANK in UAE while its corporate customers in India can receive payments from Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore.

The bank had tied up with the fintech firm in January this year for cross-border remittances.

Himadri Chatterjee, President, Transaction Banking, Axis Bank, stated, “While there have been significant innovations in domestic payments, cross border remittance has seen limited developments. Using APIs and distributed ledger technology, there is an opportunity to radically change the way international payments are handled. We are excited with the potential the technology has to bring innovative services to the market and help us enhance value to our customers.”

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Ripple makes international remittances faster and more transparent for customers while ensuring security and improving efficiencies at the same time through the power of blockchain. The transactions reach their destination account in minutes, with the certainty of settlement, and with end-to-end visibility over the course of the payment.

The real-time gross settlement system (RTGS), currency exchange and remittance network by Ripple also called the Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP) or Ripple protocol is built upon a distributed open source Internet protocol, consensus ledger and native cryptocurrency called XRP. With offices in San Francisco, New York, London, Luxembourg, Mumbai, Singapore and Sydney, Ripple claims to have more than 100 customers around the world.

Indian Banks And Blockchain

Increasingly Indian banks are turning to blockchain for payment services. In October last year, ICICI Bank, announced that it has successfully executed transactions in international trade finance and remittance using blockchain technology in partnership with Emirates NBD (banking group in the Middle East), thus becoming the first bank in the country and among the first few globally to do so. This was followed up by YES Bank under which it used the technology for vendor financing.

Recently, State Bank of India ( SBI) announced plans to launch blockchain-enabled smart contracts and Know Your Customers (KYC) by next month. The development comes as a part of BankChain projects.

In February this year, SBI had formed a banking community called BankChain to explore and implement blockchain platform in banking. BankChain is a community of 27 banks from India and the Middle East. ICICI Bank, Kotak Bank, DCB Bank and Axis Bank are also part of this community. BankChain aims to reduce fraud and maximise efficiency, security and transparency in the banking systems. In its partnership with Ripple, Axis Bank is banking on the power off blockchain to provide a frictionless experience in payment services, allowing its users to send money globally.

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