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Mastercard, Ripple Invest In Blockchain-Powered Remittance Platform SendFriend

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US-based overseas remittance startup SendFriend said $1.7 million has been raised in capital in a funding round from MIT Media Lab, Barclays, the Mastercard Foundation, Ripple, Techstars, Mahindra Finance, 2020 Ventures, and 8 Decimal Capital.

The Blockchain-powered remittance platform will help Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in the U.S to securely transfer US dollar they receive to Philippines in pesos at low rates. SendFriend plans to launch the remittance service initially in New Jersey, but will soon be made available to OFWs in other U.S. states, accessible through desktop PC and mobile app.

Millions of migrants in the U.S. have sent home a total of more than $650 billion in remittances in 2018, which took an average of three to five days to reach after spending more than $45 billion in fees for the transfer.

SendFriend claims to be a cheaper option for OFWs to transfer money home to support their families in the Philippines with fees that are on average 65 percent lower than any other remittance mode provided by banks and financial institutions.

The remittance platform will use Ripple (XRP) for faster and transparent cross-border payment flows for their clients. It will enable conversion of U.S. dollar to XRP to Philippine pesos in a matter of seconds.

It will use Ripple's xRapid payment solution on its enterprise blockchain payments network RippleNet. xRapid transactions claim to provide savings of 40-70 percent compared to the charges of foreign exchange brokers. An average xRapid payment also takes just over two minutes, compared to the current average of two to three days when sending cross-border payments.

SendFriend was founded at MIT by a group of individuals with roots at The World Bank and MoneyGram to enable OFWs to support their families. The startup was accepted into the Barclays Accelerator Program, powered by Techstars, to further build out its customer-first solution.

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