Yesterday Japan’s SBI Holdings revealed that it is to offer bonuses in XRP, Ripple’s blockchain-based token, to shareholders. As part of the firm’s return of profits to investors, they will be given 30XRP if they hold at least 100 shares by 30 September.
“We decided to increase the interim dividend, and at the same time, decided to present the virtual currency XRP as an intermediary shareholder benefit program,” explained SBI’s release.
By giving away 30XRP, it appears that SBI hopes to encourage the use of the blockchain-based currency without breaking the bank. At the moment, 30XRP is worth around $7.50. The firm will give the amount to shareholders who hold 100 shares, worth $1965 at today’s market price.
The Japanese company has numerous fintech subsidiaries, including cryptocurrency exchange SBI VC Trade. To take advantage of the dividends, shareholders would have to use the SBI VC Trade app, so it helps to drive traffic.
The firm’s MoneyTap payments app was released last year, initially as part of a joint venture with Ripple, SBI Ripple Asia. Later it was spun out into a separate company. MoneyTap uses xCurrent, Ripple’s messaging protocol for instant payments, but does not yet use XRP.
In Japan, 80% of retail payments are made in cash. Plus, bank transfers only occur between 8.30am and 3.30pm on weekdays. MoneyTap aims to address both these issues with a nearly instant, 24/7 payment service. And it looks like Japanese banks are on its side, with over 20 currently signed up.
In June, SBI announced seven more banks for MoneyTap. SBI trialed its own digital currency, the S Coin, last year and is an investor in blockchain firm R3. The firm’s relationship with R3 is intriguing since R3 and Ripple were previously involved in a legal battle worth billions of dollars.