In October, it was revealed that Ripple would invest in Money Tap, the Japanese payments network owned by SBI, SMBC and another 37 mainly regional banks. Today SBI confirmed the investment is complete and that Ripple owns 33%, the largest shareholder after SBI. Two Ripple executives are joining the eight-person board.
The solution offers a mobile app that enables bank to bank transfers 24/7 instead of the usual Japanese banking hours, using RippleNet technology. It also aims to integrate cross border payments and the network is being incorporated into ATMs. Given that many of the banks are regional, the ATM addition will help to reduce their costs and benefit their customers as they move around the country.
SBI previously invested in OpenLegacy to help connect Money Tap to banking infrastructures.
So far, three banks are connected to the Money Tap network, SBI Sumishin Net Bank, Suruga Bank and Ehime Bank, with another three coming online in February. SBI said it expects to have 20 banks live this year. It is also planning to roll out a shared know your customer or eKYC system in the spring.
The very first iteration of Money Tap was launched by SBI Ripple Asia, a joint venture owned 60% by SBI and 40% by Ripple. However, in March 2019, a separate company was incorporated as a wholly-owned subsidiary of SBI. Shortly afterward, the first 13 banks invested.
In 2019 SBI offered its shareholders XRP tokens as a shareholder benefit. Today it announced a similar scheme with investors who hold more than 100 SBI shares at the end of March able to claim XRP to the value of 2,000 Yen ($19). The SEC has sued Ripple, claiming that XRP is a security.
Meanwhile, today SBI also confirmed the joint venture with SMBC to launch the Osaka Digital Exchange (ODX).