XRP, a cryptocurrency used by Ripple in its payments network, rallied to a five-week high on Wednesday after the company said it is targeting the $1.8 billion Filipino Remittance Corridor.
The cryptocurrency changed hands at $0.74 during the European hours, hitting the highest level since June 21 and representing a 13% gain on the day, according to CoinDesk 20 data.
Buyers stepped in around $0.65 after Ripple announced that Japan's money-transfer provider SBI Remit, Philippines mobile-payments service Coins.ph and crypto exchange SBI VC Trade have teamed up to carry remittance payments from Japan to the Philippines using Ripple's on-demand liquidity (ODL) service.
Filipinos based in Japan send almost $2 billion to their home country every year. According to Ripple, it's a costly affair because Japan has one of the highest remittance costs in the world. "It's almost twice as much as the average of all the G-8 countries," Ripple noted.
ODL uses Ripple's xRapid cross-border payment service and allows customers to transfer funds using XRP, making transactions relatively faster and cheaper.
"This is Ripple's first On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) service implementation in Japan, setting the stage to drive more adoption of crypto-enabled services in the region," Ripple said. "By leveraging the digital asset XRP to eliminate pre-funding, the two companies can also free up capital and accelerate the expansion of their own payments businesses."
The news comes on the heels of a long-standing battle between Ripple and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that weighed heavily on XRP at the end of the last year.
In December, the SEC filed a case against Ripple for raising $1.3 billion by selling XRP in unregistered securities offerings. XRP fell by 67% to $0.21 in December before rallying to $1.9 in April this year amid the broader market bull frenzy. However, when bitcoin took a big hit in May, that also punctured the bull run in XRP and other coins. XRP recently hit lows near $0.50.
Bitcoin is trading above $40,000 at press time, up 1.72% on the day. Sentiment has recently flipped in favor of the bulls, and some investors have been snapping up calls, or bullish bets, in anticipation of continued upside. Stronger gains could be in the offing as the Federal Reserve (Fed) is unlikely to bolster concerns of early unwinding, or tapering, of its stimulus program later today.
"Policymakers will likely continue to warn over the recent move higher in U.S. inflation, which last month jumped to fresh multiyear highs," Matt Ryan, a senior market analyst at Ebury, said. "The committee will, however, also probably highlight the downside risks to growth posed by the latest wave of virus infection triggered by the aggressive spread of the delta variant."
Ryan doesn't foresee a formal announcement on QE tapering until the September meeting, when fresh macroeconomic and interest rate projections will be released. Bitcoin will likely face selling pressure if the Fed's monetary policy statement drops hints of an early taper.
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