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The National Bank of Kuwait will use the blockchain technology of the Ripple network for cross-border payments in the future. With “NBK Direct Remit”, such payments can now be made in real time.

As the institute announced in a press release on 27 December, the integration of Ripple into the bank’s processes is in line with the bank’s strategy to always offer the latest technical payment solutions.

24/7 real-time payments for everyone

The “NBK Direct Remit” service is therefore a 24/7 transfer service available to all customers. The service is based on the Ripple Network. One of Ripple’s key features is the ability to make cross-border payments quickly and cost-effectively. This is why numerous major banks are involved in the development of Ripple and related services.

Dimitrios Kokosioulis, Deputy CEO – Group Operations & Technology, is quoted in the statement: “The service represents a significant improvement because it enables our customers to make simple and convenient payments around the clock”.

Over the past few years, NBK has developed and added various products and solutions for payment transactions to its portfolio. These include comparatively unspectacular solutions such as a mobile banking app as well as innovative features such as cash payments without cards, biometric payment cards, NBK Selfie Pay and NBK Tap & Pay.

Ripple gains reach

The new service will initially be available to NBK customers for real-time payments to Jordan. Other countries are due to follow shortly, although no exact timetable is given in the announcement.

At Ripple, the cooperation was naturally positively commented on. Marcus Treacher, Senior Vice President of the Customer Success Department, described NBK as an “important partner” in the region and announced the prospect of further deepening the cooperation. While the Ripple course has been moving sideways – with high fluctuations – recently, the Ripple network has gained in importance and reach. A significant increase in reach resulted from a decision by the Binance crypto exchange. Some crypto currencies can now also be traded against Ripple.

The Ripple solution xRapid is a ready-to-use solution for cross-border payments that is already being used by companies. For example, the crypto exchanges Bittrex and Bitstamp use xRapid for various operational processes.

The combination of an application-ready platform and a specific target group (banks and other financial institutions) makes Ripple one of the most promising crypto currencies from the point of view of many observers. While the inclusion of Ripple as a base currency in Binance led to price gains at least in the short term, NBK’s announcement had virtually no effect on the market.

About Kuwait

Kuwait lies in the Near East. After the Second World War, the country became the largest oil producer in the Persian Gulf. The large revenues were used to finance the modernisation of the country and the establishment of a social system. Of the approximately two million inhabitants, only about 45 % are Kuwaiti. The remaining 55% have migrated from Iran, India, Pakistan and many other countries – mainly Arab and Southeast Asian – and do not have Kuwaiti citizenship. Palestinian support for Iraq during the Second Gulf War led to the expulsion of Palestinians from Kuwait in 1991. Within a few days, some 450,000 Palestinians were expelled from Kuwait.

The country’s foreign policy is determined by its history and the geopolitical situation between Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran. Following a political dispute over an oil field on the Iraq-Kuwait border, Iraqi troops marched into Kuwait on 2 August 1990. After the deposition of the emir and the government, Kuwaiti territory was annexed, despite the unanimous condemnation of the UN Security Council. The main reason for the occupation of the oil-rich state was the conflict between the two states caused by Iraq’s high debt (80 billion US dollars) resulting from the First Gulf War. When a UN ultimatum to Iraq’s withdrawal expired without result on 15 January 1991, Kuwait was liberated by a multinational force during the five-week Second Gulf War on 27 February 1991.

There is a close security partnership with the United States, which acts as a guarantor of Kuwait’s state independence. In 2003, Kuwait was the starting point for the invasion of Iraq by US troops.