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Bitstamp is launching new markets for Ripple’s XRP digital asset.

The launch, set for 17th January, will see the exchange offer trading pairs for USD/XRP and EUR/XRP. The company already serves as a Ripple gateway (where money enters or leaves the network) and hosts a bitcoin-denominated market for the digital asset.

Bitstamp is kicking off the new offerings with a two-part program that will see it give rebates on trading fees, as well as incentives to market makers who bring liquidity to the exchange, though Ripple says the details of the latter are still being finalized.

The move comes during a period of change for the San Francisco-based startup. Chris Larsen stepped down as CEO in November, handing the reins to former AOL exec and then-Ripple president Brad Garlinghouse.

Yet it’s the startup’s growing visibility among the world’s financial institutions that’s perhaps more at play here.

In September, Ripple raised a $55m Series B round that included support from big banks like Standard Chartered, Siam Commercial Bank and Banco Santander. A month later, the startup would disclose details of a test involving a dozen global banks that tested the use of XRP to provide liquidity to bank accounts.

Miguel Vias, the former CME global head of precious metals and metal options who joined Ripple as head of XRP markets in November, said that the launch fits into the startup’s broader plan of getting XRP on more exchanges.

He told CoinDesk:

“We really want nice, wholesome, good liquid activity on day one so we’re having deep conversations with our market makers, some of whom have been around for a long time.”

According to Bitstamp, the move was driven by user demand. At the same time, it suggests a deepening role for the firm as a gateway within the Ripple network.

“It’s clear that Ripple and its digital asset XRP are a natural fit for the stringent requirements of the EU license we hold here at Bitstamp,” CEO Nejc Kodrič said in a statement. “There is also high demand from our customers for XRP trading and so we are looking forward to continue responding to their needs in a highly regulated and compliant trading environment.”

Disclosure: CoinDesk is a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which has an ownership stake in Ripple.

Trading screen image via Shutterstock

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