Ripple exec hints xRapid crypto-payments system may go live next month

Will the company finally get the XRP-powered liquidity solution out in the wild so soon? 

Ripple man Sagar Sarbhai has told CNBC he’s “confident” its cornerstone crypto product, xRapid, will go live very shortly.

However, he also revealed that, while the company has inked deals with many financial players, no bank has actually started testing the system as yet.

Sarbhai should know what he’s talking about, though, as the head of regulatory relations for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East he would be in a perfect position to know exactly how far away Ripple is from rolling out xRapid. Designed as a system to speed up transactions, using the XRP crypto that Ripple created as its gas, the company sees the system as a back-end bridge between currencies and would need the confidence of banks behind it pre-launch.

“I am very confident that in the next one month or so you will see some good news coming in where we launch the product live in production,” Sarbhai told CNBC’s Arjun Kharpal.

The company says that 100+ banks are already using its xCurrent blockchain-based payments tracking system to settle international transactions, and earlier in the year the company provided the technology behind for Santander’s One Pay FX consumer-facing cross-border payments app.

However, neither appeared to directly effect the demand for XRP or effect its price. Indeed, Ripple has spent much of the year disassociating itself from the cryptocurrency in order to stave of accusations that it should be policed under securities law.

xRapid, however, appears to have a much more intertwined relationship with XRP than the products that have come before. The system operates with XRP providing the liquidity for cross-border payments, streamlining the process of sending large payments long distances, by relieving banks for the need to source liquidity in a wide range of countries.

Essentially, under the xRapid system, banks will exchange XRP while Ripple’s systems automatically handles its conversion to-and-from fiat in the required currencies using its partnered exchanges. Earlier in the year, Ripple announced that the Bittrex exchange would handle the XRP/USD market for the system, while Bitso and Coins.ph would the be preferred sources for Mexican Pesos and Philippine Pesos. Presumably, these three currencies will be the limit of the system on launch – unless more announcements are in the offing.

xRapid will be the second part of Ripple’s much vaunted RippleNet triumvirate of services. xCurrent is already in operation, and a further payments option – xVia – is still in the pipeline. Before that can go live, however, the company will likely face legal wrangling that will go a long way to deciding the policies and shape of the company going forward – not to mention do a lot to dictate the struggling price of XRP.