World’s first blockchain-based money transfer service is here

Ripple's solution has made it possible for Banco Santander to offer same-day international transfers to retail customers in Spain, UK, Brazil, and Poland.
16 April 2018

Ana Patricia Botín, Executive Chairman of Banco Santander. Source: Flickr/World Economic Forum

For months now, blockchain has been making headlines because of its contribution to cryptocurrencies, however, it’s applications in trade finance and cross-border payments among other things were still limited to trials and proof-of-concepts. Until now.

Last week, Banco Santander announced the launch of a new international payments service using blockchain-based technology. The concept finally graduated to a real-world solution rolled out to real customers, thanks to xCurrent, a solution developed by California-based Ripple.

The service is available to retail customers in Spain, UK, Brazil, and Poland, and will be rolled out across more countries in the coming months.

“From today, customers in the UK can use One Pay to transfer money across Europe and to the US. In Spain, customers can transfer to UK and US, while customers in Brazil and Poland can transfer to the UK,” said Ana Botín, Executive Chairman, Banco Santander.

Effectively, each country will offer customers different payment options depending on the market. Customers in Spain, for example, will be able to send Dollars to USA and Pounds to UK. Customers in the UK will be able to send Euros to 21 countries and Dollars to USA, and from Brazil and Poland, Pounds can be sent to the UK.

Known as ‘Santander One Pay FX’, the new service makes it possible for customers to complete international transfers on the same day, or by the next day in some cases. The service also shows payers the exact amount that will be received in the destination currency before they make the transfer.

“One Pay FX uses blockchain-based technology to provide a fast, simple and secure way to transfer money internationally – offering value, transparency, and the trust and service customers expect from a bank like Santander,” explained Botín.

Ripple, whose slogan is “one frictionless experience to send money globally” seems to be working hard to live up to that reputation.

Banco Santander invested in Ripple in 2015 through its US$200 million fintech venture capital fund, InnoVentures – and it seems like the investment has paid off. Aside from cracking a deal with Banco Santander, the blockchain-driven payments solutions company is working with all of the big names in the industry – from Western Union to UBS, and from Standard Chartered to RBC and BMO.

In fact, just last month, Bloomberg reported that Ripple had tied up with 61 banks in Japan to build a blockchain-driven payments app.

However, with the launch of the service – Banco Santander has become the first bank to roll out a blockchain-based international payments service to retail customers in multiple countries simultaneously.