Sending money across international borders could soon be a job for cryptocurrency.
It's not that families are suddenly sending Bitcoin to relatives abroad; instead Ripple, which fashions itself "a provider of leading enterprise blockchain solutions for global payments," is aiming to be a bridge currency for transfers between countries.
Ripple announced Monday that it has partnered with MoneyGram International. Ripple will invest $30 million in MoneyGram, which will use Ripple's XRP blockchain product as part of the foreign exchange settlement process.
"This is a huge milestone in helping to transform cross-border payments," said Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple. "MoneyGram is one of the largest money transfer companies in the world and the partnership will continue to further the reach of Ripple's network."
So far most cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, Ethereum and XRP have been treated more widely as investments rather than actual currencies.
But Ripple has been working for years now to get XRP into circulation.
MoneyGram's competitor Western Union has also been testing out using Ripple, as have some banks. So far, though, XRP has yet to catch fire for cross-border transactions.
Using XRP for settlement of its exchange process could reduce the amount of various foreign currencies MoneyGram needs to keep on hand, reducing its operating costs. Or that's the pitch, at least.
The partnership will last for two years.
All this does depend on XRP's relative stability as a currency. Most cryptocurrencies have been wildly volatile over the past few years, driving speculation.
Not surprisingly, when news of the MoneyGram deal broke, the price of XRP suddenly jumped by nearly seven percent.