The company behind the consensus network and currency, Ripple, has announced a new office in Sydney, Australia as part of a push further into the large Asian and Pacific markets.
“We are excited to formally unveil a presence in Asia Pacific — an area that has been aggressively pursuing faster payment technologies for both domestic and cross-border payments,” said Ripple Labs CEO and co-founder Chris Larsen.
According to a Ripple Labs, the expansion is to meet a “growing demand” for the currency’s payment services in the region. Unlike Bitcoin, Ripple relies on intermediaries to work as gateways and exchange the ripple currency (XRP) for fiat currencies or intermediaries. The Ripple currency serves as way to send any form of value (fiat currencies, precious metals, etc.) across the globe quickly and cheaply.
Ripple has been able to find use cases as a money transfer service and seen adoption among small financial institutions. Fidor Community Bank, a banking startup, and the Bank of Weir, another experimental bank, became Ripple gateways last year.
“I am thrilled to bring Ripple Labs to Sydney, where we can more effectively serve eager markets in India, Singapore, the Middle East and across APAC,” said managing director of Ripple Labs Asia Pacific, Dilip Rao. “Banks and enterprises can leverage Ripple to more efficiently service the exploding trade and remittance flows in this region.”
“Dilip is a natural fit to lead this office because of his years of experience in the space and his deep, engaged network in the region,” Larsen added.
Rao will be leading Ripple Labs’ efforts in Australia and throughout Asia in his new role as head of the Asia Pacific subsidiary. The first Asia Pacific office will be opened in a large Australian city, but the company plans to expand to other parts of central and eastern Asia in the coming year.
Rao will bring more than 25 years of management and business development in the technology and payments sector to the digital currency company. He was the founder and CEO of Australia’s first peer-to-peer payments company, Paymate. More recently, he founded Woomera Labs, Inc., a business development firm that matches innovative startups with large companies.
He also holds degrees in physics and electrical engineering and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India.
Rao will be in charge of the company’s business development and expansion in the region, as well as leading the company’s efforts with regulators, lending banks and central banks.
Though this is the first official presence of Ripple Labs, numerous third-party Ripple gateways already exist in the region. Japan, Singapore, China, Israel, India and South Korea are just some of the countries with Ripple exchanges.
The new office and focus could mean more activity for the digital currency in the region.