MoneyGram suspends Ripple relationship over SEC lawsuit

MoneyGram has suspended its relationship with Ripple Labs, citing the legal uncertainty surrounding the company. In its latest earnings report, the Dallas, Texas-based firm said it would no longer be using Ripple’s XRP remittance solution until the payments firm sorts out its legal issues with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

MoneyGram partnered with Ripple in January 2018, becoming one of the first payments service providers to pilot Ripple’s xRapid solution. xRapid allows companies to transfer funds across borders using XRP without the need for pre-funded nostro accounts.

Three years later, MoneyGram has suspended the service. In its 2020 financial results report, the company stated:

“In addition, the Company is not planning for any benefit from Ripple market development fees in the first quarter. Due to the uncertainty concerning their ongoing litigation with the SEC, the Company has suspended trading on Ripple’s platform. In the first quarter of 2020, the Company realized a net expense benefit of $12.1 million from Ripple market development fees.”

The relationship has been benefitting MoneyGram, with Ripple paying the company to use the XRP token. In Q4 2020, Ripple paid MoneyGram $9.2 million for “market development fees.” Altogether, in 2019 and 2020, MoneyGram received $61.5 million from Ripple to continue using XRP.

MoneyGram becomes the latest company to drop Ripple’s services following its lawsuit by the SEC. The regulator filed the charges in December, accusing Ripple of selling unregistered securities. Ripple has fought the charges, but this has done little for its clients as well as exchanges which have delisted it in their numbers.

In response to MoneyGram’s revelation, Ripple issued a statement claiming the suspension was just temporary. The multi-year contract the two firms signed extends beyond MoneyGram’s use of xRapid, Ripple stated.

It added, “We look forward to finding a path forward with MoneyGram and have confidence that there will be more regulatory clarity in the U.S. for the use of digital assets and blockchain technology at the end of this lawsuit – both of which MoneyGram has commented on publicly in the past about the benefits they have witnessed firsthand for their business.”

Ripple and the SEC revealed in a recent discovery letter that a settlement is unlikely before the trial. The SEC revealed that Ripple had engaged in settlement talks, but the officials who had been involved had vacated their positions as the Biden administration took over.

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