Two U.S. banks to test Ripple protocol

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Ripple Labs announced today that their bitcoin-friendly alt-coin system will soon be offered to the customers of two small U.S. banks. The Ripple system is part of a new low-cost, real-time international payments service offered by CBW Bank of Topeka, Kansas, and Cross River Bank of Teaneck, New Jersey. The integration is the first time any U.S. bank has publicly experimented with the Ripple platform, although German bank Fidor AG has been using the system since May.

“Our business customers expect banking to move at the speed of the Web, but with the security and confidence of the traditional financial system,” said Cross River Bank CEO Gilles Gade in a press release. “Ripple will help make that a reality, enabling our customers to instantly transfer funds internationally while meeting all compliance requirements and payments rules. We are excited to be amongst the very first banks in the U.S. to deploy Ripple as a faster, more affordable and compliant payment rail for our customers.”

If successful, the move could have significant implications for smaller banks, allowing them to operate as international money transmitters and remittance services on a level that is currently impractical. Although almost all banks have access to the international banking system, interchange and other third-party fees make the process extremely slow and expensive, particularly for small amounts. Ripple’s distributed, currency-agnostic platform allows banks to send dollars, yen, bitcoin or any other unit of value instantly and for a tiny fee. Should banks adopt the platform, they could suddenly find themselves in direct competition with remittance providers like Western Union, and could even be less tied to the U.S. dollar for transactions.

The price of Ripple’s internal-system alt-coin, XRP, has not strongly responded to the news. At press time, one XRP was trading for $0.004631.

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