Bitcoin has again broken its year-to-date highs, climbing to $9,478 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange and coming within spitting distance of the psychological $10,000 mark for the first time since May last year—spurred on by a sharp rise in Ripple’s XRP which jumped some 5% yesterday.
The bitcoin price has been climbing over recent months and has recently spiked as traders and investors eye the upcoming litecoin halvening event in August, where the daily supply of newly distributed litecoin tokens will be halved, ahead of bitcoin’s own halvening scheduled for May next year.
Bitcoin has been supported by rises from altcoins over recent months, mostly from litecoin and Ripple’s XRP.
The jump in XRP came after it was announced by Ripple, which created the XRP protocol and owns some 60% of XRP tokens, that it has done a deal to partner with cross-border money mover MoneyGram to settle its foreign exchange using XRP.
Under the terms of the deal, Ripple will pay $4.10 cents a share to acquire around 10% of MoneyGram for $30 million and enables MoneyGram to draw on a further $20 million in exchange for equity, over a two-year period.
“As the payments industry evolves and matures, it’s imperative that we continue to improve our platform and provide the most effective solution to get funds from point A to point B,” said Alex Holmes, MoneyGram chairman and chief executive. “Through Ripple’s xRapid product, we will have the ability to instantly settle funds from U.S. dollars to destination currencies on a 24/7 basis, which has the potential to revolutionize our operations and dramatically streamline our global liquidity management.”
Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple, said: “This strategic partnership will enable MoneyGram to greatly improve its operations and enable millions of people around the world to benefit from its improved efficiency. This is a huge milestone in helping to transform cross-border payments.”
Ripple’s XRP jumped yesterday following news of the MoneyGram deal, giving a boost to bitcoin and the wider cryptocurrency market.
The price of Ripple’s XRP has followed the wider cryptocurrency market higher this year after a dreadful 2018 that came to be known as “crypto winter” for its debilitating effect on the market. XRP is now up some 25% since the beginning of the year.
Ripple’s XRP looked on the verge of splitting from the wider cryptocurrency market in the second half of last year based on a raft of deals with global banks and financial institutions, however, the XRP price failed to hold onto their gains after much-hyped deals failed to convert into wider XRP adoption.
Meanwhile, bitcoin has risen some 150% since the start of 2019 after losing some 80% of its value last year as the likes of Facebook and other Silicon Valley giants look to cryptocurrencies to shore up revenue that’s historically been dependent on advertising sales based on controversial data analytics.
MoneyGram, which has a 5% share of the global remittance market, operates across some 200 countries around the world and processes some $600 billion each year.
Last year, Ant Financial, formerly known as Alipay and part of the Chinese Alibaba Group, sought to acquire MoneyGram for a staggering $1.2 billion but the attempt was blocked by the U.S. government.