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SBI Holdings, the financial services business division of Japan’s SBI Group, has announced it is creating a new company in partnership with digital ledger technology (DLT) startup Ripple.

Called SBI Ripple Asia, the new company aims to focus on expanding the use of Ripple products and services through sales and engineering efforts focused on Asian markets including China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan.

The announcement comes amid a broader push by SBI Group to make its interest in the blockchain and distributed ledger technology known, and amid a shift in Ripple's strategy to emphasize the value of its solutions for cross-border payments.

In statements, SBI Holdings CEO Yoshitaka Kitao said that the bank’s choice of Ripple for the initiative was proof that its solutions had gained traction among global banks.

Kitao continued:

"Distributed financial technology is undoubtedly transforming financial infrastructure and we’re excited to drive its adoption throughout Asia."

In turn, Ripple CEO Chris Larsen said that SBI would allow the company to develop relationships in the Asian market as it focuses on use cases for its technology in banking, capital markets, cross-border payments and insurance.

Notably, the announcement also included details about potential actions by the new company that would be aimed at promoting XRP, the native token used to move value on the Ripple consensus system and that trades on public digital currency exchanges such as Kraken.

SBI and Ripple said they are now working to have XRP listed on SBI's online brokerage properties.

According to data from CoinMarketCap, he value of XRP has been on the decline for some time, with the market cap for the publicly traded token declining from $447m at the end of January 2015 to $203m today.

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

Shanghai image via Shutterstock

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