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Ripple Partners with Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority Bringing Blockchain Tech to Banks

Ripple enters into a partnership with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), the central bank for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The agreement was signed to help banks in the KSA improve their payments infrastructure using Ripple’s xCurrent product.

Ripple and the KSA are making history with this revolutionary pilot program. This will be the first of its kind to be launched by a central bank. With greater transparency and a lower cost, xCurrent will allow the participating banks to instantly settle payments both into and out of their country. SAMA will be providing interested Saudi Banks with program management and training for the xCurrent pilot program.

This groundbreaking partnership has the potential to single-handedly change how banks in the KSA send money globally. xCurrent provides access to the growing list (now over 100) of banks, payment providers, and more currently on the RippleNet platform. This access promises to help modernize the KSA’s payments systems and to extend their services into other major corridors.

Ripple believes that this partnership is a reflection of the undeniable impact of blockchain solutions on money as we know it.

In the official announcement from Ripple, the global head of infrastructure innovation, Dilip Rao said:

“Central banks around the world are leaning into blockchain technology in recognition of how it can transform cross-border payments, resulting in lower barriers to trade and commerce for both corporates and consumers,”

“SAMA is leading the charge as the first central bank to provide resources to domestic banks that want to enable instant payments using Ripple’s innovative blockchain solution.”

This partnership comes just days after Ripple partners with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Exchange, one of the Largest Middle East’s payment solution providers.


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PayPal’s crypto trading goes live in the US!

Customers will be able to trade up to $20,000 a week, rather than the originally announced $10,000.

On Thursday, PayPal’s crypto trading and payments went live for all eligible customers in the United States.

Per its updated announcement, PayPal ended its waitlist for customers looking to use cryptocurrency in the U.S. Trading features a limit of $20,000 per week, which is double the originally announced $10,000.

PayPal ultimately plans to make crypto payments available at 26 million merchants globally.

A representative said that PayPal will notify U.S. customers about the general availability of crypto services in the coming days.

Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal, noted that the shift to supporting crypto was driven by what he sees as an “inevitable” drift toward virtual currencies.

“The shift to digital forms of currencies is inevitable, bringing with it clear advantages in terms of financial inclusion and access; efficiency, speed and resilience of the payments system; and the ability for governments to disburse funds to citizens quickly.”

Much-anticipated global services are expected to launch at the beginning of 2021, alongside crypto payments on Venmo. PayPal initially announced its plans to integrate crypto three weeks ago. The announcement led to a boost in BTC price.

As part of its crypto services, PayPal received the first conditional Bitlicense from the New York Department of Financial Services, one of the most hawkish sub-national financial regulators in the U.S. Many noted that the terms of PayPal’s crypto services would entail that coins bought on the platform would not be able to leave, likely as part of its compromise with regulators in bringing crypto services to such a wide user base.

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PayPal Allows Bitcoin And Crypto Spending

PayPal has entered the cryptocurrency market, announcing that its customers will be able to buy and sell Bitcoin and other virtual currencies using their PayPal accounts.

Those virtual coins could then be used to buy things from the 26 million sellers which accept PayPal, it said.

PayPal plans to roll out buying options in the US over the next few weeks, with the full rollout due early next year.

Bitcoin prices rose alongside the news, breaking the $12,000 (£9,170) mark.

The other cryptocurrencies to be added first will be Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash (a spin-off from Bitcoin).

All could be stored “directly within the PayPal digital wallet”, the company said.

‘Penny stocks’

Cryptocurrencies have remained a niche payment method, partly down to the rapid change in prices they can experience compared with traditional state-backed currencies. That has made them popular among some types of investors.

PayPal said it was aiming “to increase consumer understanding and adoption of cryptocurrency”.

“As part of this offering, PayPal will provide account holders with educational content to help them understand the cryptocurrency ecosystem,” it said.

But David Gerard, author of Attack of the 50 Foot Blockchain and the forthcoming Libra Shrugged: How Facebook Tried to Take Over the Money, said PayPal was describing “a crypto day-trading market”.

“I’m at a loss as to who the market is for PayPal as a crypto-exchange,” he said.

He likened it to playing the stock market, but with Bitcoin – whose volatile and less well-regulated nature was like “gambling on penny stocks”.

“Have a flutter, drop $10 on it, you’ll learn things you wouldn’t learn any other way – but you are gambling,” he warned.

He said there were “a lot of big players who manipulate the price”, and ordinary people risked losing their money.

“I don’t expect much of a market for this beyond existing crypto holders… I’m baffled that PayPal would offer this, and it’s not clear what they’re trying to do here,” he said.

“There must be someone at PayPal who is very interested in cryptocurrencies,” he added.

Paying with crypto

Other payment firms, such as Square’s Cash app and Revolut, have already offered cryptocurrencies for sale. But PayPal has one of the largest merchant networks in the world.

When it comes to using the virtual coins, PayPal will convert the cryptocurrency into the relevant national currency, so the company being paid will never receive the virtual coins – just the correct amount of pounds or dollars.

PayPal said the system meant there would be “certainty of value and no incremental fees”.

But using Bitcoin to pay at ordinary merchants is not due to launch until “early 2021”.

Cryptocurrencies’ volatile prices – along with their historical use as a less traceable payment method for illegal purposes – have led to numerous calls for them to be regulated.

PayPal has been granted permission for its operation from the New York State Department of Financial Services, in the form of a conditional “Bitlicence” – the first such licence granted.

To begin with, the service will work with an existing cryptocurrency provider in the US, the Paxos Trust Company.

But it is not PayPal’s first venture into the area.

The firm was once a partner in Facebook’s digital currency Libra, but became the first to pull out of the alliance, just a few months after it was announced.

The scheme was controversial, attracting attention from financial regulators in several countries.

Earlier this year, Facebook was reported to be “rethinking” the idea amid the resistance.

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Litecoin Foundation & TokenPay strike a strategic partnership

TokenPay, The self-proclaimed “Bitcoin on steroids” has entered a partnership with the Litecoin Foundation for a 9.9% stake in the WEG Bank in Germany. In May 2018 TokenPay acquired just under 10% of WEG Bank with the option to purchase up to 90% if approved by the regulatory commission of Germany. In a move to leverage Litecoins marketing and technology service TokenPay has handed the 9.9% over to Litecoin in hopes that it will put TokenPay on the map as a major player in the cryptocurrency market.

TokenPay CEO Derek Capo said in a recent statement “We are building an entire ecosystem that includes merchant services, banking, escrow, gaming, e-sports, employment services, etc., where we have entire control of the vertical integration needed to lower costs, but also control our destiny. Litecoin is a top-five blockchain in the world, and boasts more than one million followers worldwide, which helps increase the chances of TokenPay’s ecosystem to succeed.”

What does this mean for TokenPay & Litecoin?

This partnership will provide TPAY access to LTC’s massive user base and will give the users the opportunity to buy, sell & trade as well as gain access to the company’s debit card service. In turn, Litecoin will benefit by having exclusive access to TokenPay’s long-standing bank connections to hopefully integrate the LTC blockchain network into a wide range of monetary associations.

Charlie Lee, CEO of the Litecoin Foundation responded to the partnership by saying “This partnership is a huge win-win for both Litecoin and TokenPay. I’m looking forward to integrating Litecoin with the WEG Bank AG and all the various services it has to offer, to make it simple for anyone to buy and use Litecoin.”

Each company will play a crucial roll in the partnership by focusing on TPAY crypto and its accompanying blockchain as well as the TokenPay multisignature transaction engine, which should accelerate payment and transaction speeds tremendously for both companies.

There is no word yet on exactly when the technology side will be implemented but TokenPay is geared up to make some major moves that include partnering with multiple other financial establishments.

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