Crypto firm Ripple Labs is to expand its cross-border payments offering to Africa, as it seeks to expand its global footprint in the face of US regulatory pressure.

The firm, whose cryptocurrency XRP is the seventh-largest in the world by market capitalisation, said it is going into partnership with payments firm MFS Africa, which operates across 35 countries on the continent.

MFS Africa will use Ripple’s on-demand liquidity product ODL — which relies on XRP to support cross-border payments such as remittances — to help carry out transactions on its platform.

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Brooks Entwistle, senior vice president of global customer success, told Financial News the move gives “a significant additional leg to the geography” of Ripple’s payments network.

The expansion comes as a lawsuit continues to rage back home in the US for Ripple. The Securities and Exchange Commission is suing the firm for selling XRP as an unregistered security.

The suit, which is worth $1.3bn, effectively represents an argument over whether XRP should be classed as a commodity or a security. Ripple argues the former, while the SEC thinks the latter.

Entwistle said there was “no question” that the uncertainty from the case had sped up the company’s push into new regions such as Africa.

“The business itself has grown dramatically outside the US in these last 18-to-20 months,” he said.

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Meanwhile, he added that the recent collapse of crypto exchange FTX, which has sent shockwaves through both the crypto industry and traditional finance, would hit everyone in the digital assets world – even companies that focus on payments solutions such as Ripple.

“We all get buffered by some of the same negativity winds,” he said, but added that the company was “anxious to prove [cross-border payments are] the biggest possible use case of crypto”.

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