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Santander launches blockchain-backed int'l payments platform

Santander launches blockchain-backed int'l payments platform

Banco Santander launched a blockchain-based international payments service, a move that comes as a growing pool of financial institutions dip into the distributed ledgers space. 

The new service, called Santander One Pay FX, allows customers to complete international transfers on the same day, the company said in a statement April 12. It’s available to retail customers in Brazil, Spain, the UK and Poland, and Banco Santander plans to roll it out in more countries.

Banco Santander is looking to add features such as instant international payments before the summer, according to the statement. The firm claims it is the first bank to launch a blockchain-based international payments platform to retail customers in multiple countries at the same time.

Banco Santander Executive Chairman Ana Botín (pictured) said: ‘Blockchain technology offers tremendous opportunities to improve the services we offer our customers, and the launch of Santander One Pay FX is the first of many potential applications,’ she added.

The new service uses xCurrent, a technology owned by California-based blockchain platform Ripple.

The Santander Group invested in Ripple in 2015 through its $200 million venture capital fund, InnoVentures, during the tenure of managing director Mariano Belinky. He has since been appointed as the chief executive officer of $200 billion Santander Asset Management.

Blockchain fever

In February, Itaú Unibanco announced it had joined RippleNet, the blockchain firm’s platform.

The Brazilian bank started moving into the space in April 2016 when it became the first Latin American bank to partner with R3, a firm focused on developing blockchain-based technologies. In June of that year, Banco Bradesco also announced a partnership with that platform.

Citi Private Bank has also said it was looking into how to use blockchain for the clearing and settling of cryptocurrency transactions. The project was in early stages as of February.

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