Ripple marks Middle East expansion with Dubai office

Singapore, SINGAPORE – With an eye on the months ahead, it seems like Ripple is forging full steam ahead with their global expansion plans. The San Francisco-based payments company has recently announced that they will be setting up an office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates by the end of this year.

The announcement was made by Ripple’s global infrastructure and innovation head, Dilip Rao in his address at this year’s Global Islamic Economic Summit in Dubai which ran for two days on the 30th and 31st of October.

In that speech he said that Ripple was “seriously planning to enter the Middle East market” and that the company has plans to open an office in Dubai. Expansion in Dubai would add it to Ripple’s extensive network of offices in San Francisco, New York, London, Sydney, India, Singapore and Luxembourg.

Rao was quoted as saying:

“Our focus initially is on cross-border payments because we think that’s where there is the most friction. In this part of the world [the Middle East], there is a huge requirement for cross-border transactions. This will support the economy both within the region and the rest of the world.”

Rao also pointed out the elephant in the room, in this case being whether or not their work was in compliance with Sharia Law in the predominantly Muslim region. He emphasised that Ripple’s technology allows them to track and identify parties involved in a transaction as well as their contractual obligations to reduce risks. On this matter, he said:

“If you can, with integrity, tokenize an asset worth a million dollars, you can now have a million people share in that asset rather than necessarily one millionaire. It starts to solve for reach into the unbanked. We think therefore aligns well with all of the Islamic finance principles.”

Ripple has reportedly already signed about 200 institutions, many of them being from the Middle East as one of their “fastest growing marketplace”. The list of clients reportedly includes the Saudi Arabia’s Al-Rajhi Bank, as well as Kuwait Finance House.