Cryptocurrencies are getting mainstream with every passing day. However, Japan is miles ahead when it comes to cryptocurrency usage and mainstream awareness because Bitcoins are being used in the country for years now - even before the price boom of last year, Bitcoins were recognized by the banks of Japan. Japanese banks are among the biggest strategic partners for Ripple - the payments network platform known for its XRP cryptocurrency.

As per reports from the official Ripple Blog, Japan Banking Consortium will soon be releasing a smartphone app called ‘MoneyTap’ which will be powered by Ripple’s blockchain technology. This will allow members of the banks which are a part of the Japan Banking Consortium - a total of 61 banks - to transact any time and with anyone, instantly. It is going to be the first mobile payments app which will be used by multiple banks in the country. 

While no dates have been specified, the current deadline for the app to go live is Autumn of 2018. SBI Net Sumishin Bank, Suruga Bank and Resona Bank will be the first three banks to support payments and transfers via this app. This will soon be followed by other banks in the consortium as well - eventually, all 61 members of the Japan Banking Consortium are expected to come together. 

The Japan Banking Consortium comprises of 61 banks across Japan - covering a total of over 80% of all the banking assets in the nation. MoneyTap will be a revolutionary change to the way things function in Japanese banking systems - making transfers easier than ever before. The Japan bank consortium is led by SBI Ripple Asia. Takashi Okita, CEO of SBI Ripple Asia, said in Ripple’s blog post: “Together with the trust, reliability and reach of the bank consortium, we can remove friction from payments and create a faster, safer, and more efficient domestic payments experience for our customers.”

All a user needs to make MoneyTap transactions is a bank account, a phone number or a QR Code. Moreover, in addition to being a 24x7 service, which is faster than existing infrastructure, it also costs less as transfer fees are quite low. “The release of the MoneyTap mobile app shows Ripple’s continued commitment to provide its partners across Asia and the world with blockchain-powered solutions that dramatically improve the customer payments journey,” said Emi Yoshikawa, director of joint venture partnerships at Ripple. “We’re proud to provide this production-ready technology that not only improves the international payments experience, but also have applications for domestic payments infrastructure.”

This is a major breakthrough for Ripple and is bound to help the XRP prices when the app finally comes out. Ripple has recently announced a number of other partnerships. The most prominent incidents in 2018 being partnerships with MoneyGram and Western Union, as well as with a number of players in the Middle East and South Asian nations. With the year still in the first quarter - it looks like 2018 is bound to be a big year for Ripple.