One of the worst performing cryptocurrencies this year is making a comeback.
XRP rose more than 80 percent Friday to a high of 77 cents, bringing its gains this week to 185 percent, according to data from CoinMarketCap.com. Its market capitalization jumped to roughly $26.8 billion, surpassing ethereum as the world’s second most valuable cryptocurrency behind bitcoin.
Often mistakenly called “Ripple,” XRP has fared the worst of the top cryptocurrencies this year. At one point this summer, it was down more than 90 percent from the high.
Ripple is a fintech company that focuses on global payments, and holds the majority of XRP the cryptocurrency. XRP is a cryptocurrency, independent of the company, that can be used on Ripple’s platforms.
The upward move was spurred by rumors of a new product. An executive at Ripple told CNBC this week that the start-up was making headway with its xRapid product, aimed at helping banks speed up transactions by using the cryptocurrency XRP.
“I am very confident that in the next one month or so you will see some good news coming in where we launch the product live in production,” Sagar Sarbhai, head of regulatory relations for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East at Ripple told CNBC Monday.
Ripple describes its xRapid product as using XRP as “bridge” between currencies, which executives say allows payment providers and banks to process faster cross-border transactions.
Joe DiPasquale, CEO of cryptocurrency fund of hedge funds BitBull Capital pointed to the xRapid news as a positive for the cryptocurrency’s price recovery.
“People are definitely buying the news,” he said. “This is another case of Ripple showing its dominance in real world relationships with financial companies, and yet another spike in XRP’s price because of it.”
The company has struck deals with various high-profile financial institutions, including Santander and American Express. But those partnerships have so far been mostly focused on another product called xCurrent.
Ripple’s Sarbhai said that more than 120 banks are currently partnered with Ripple, using the blockchain-based product xCurrent. Firms testing the product include money transfer giants Western Union and MoneyGram and payment upstarts MercuryFX, Viamericas and Cuallix.
Ripple’s xCurrent is used by banks to settle international transactions and is used to confirm each stage of a cross-border payment in real-time, according to the company.
This week, U.S. banking giant PNC announced it would use Ripple’s blockchain technology for cross-border transactions like wire transfers, but it won’t be using the cryptocurrency XRP.
Despite the partnerships, XRP has a long way to recover to this year’s highs above $3.60 in January. It’s still down 66 percent from the beginning of the year.
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