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MoneyGram to test cryptocurrency Ripple

Bitcoin boom
Bitcoin boom 02:23

MoneyGram (MGI) plans to test a cryptocurrency -- one whose price has shot up even more than that of bitcoin -- as a way to send funds. 

The money transfer company said Thursday it is teaming with Ripple in a pilot of the blockchain technology company's XRP digital currency. The price of XRP, which also goes by the name Ripple, has soared more than 30,000 percent over the last 12 months, rising from fractions of a penny to $2.14, according to Coinmarketcap.

The value of Bitcoin, which traded Thursday at $14,181.70, has risen 1,200 percent this year. 

MoneyGram said that so-called blockchain technology, the software code on which Ripple and other digital currencies are built, can make it easier to move money across borders, including for MoneyGram.

"The inefficiencies of global payments don't just affect banks, they also affect institutions like MoneyGram," Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said in a statement. "By using a digital asset like XRP that settles in three seconds or less, they can now move money as quickly as information."

Bitcoin's huge energy usage 00:54

Despite such potential advantages, like other cryptocurrencies Ripple is prone to volatility. 

The value of numerous forms of digital currency fell Thursday after South Korea, a hotbed for currencies like bitcoin, said it was weighing a trading ban.

The country's justice minister said Thursday that South Korea plans to ban crypto currency trading, but the presidential office said later that a ban is under review, though no policy changes have been made.

MoneyGram shares rose more than 8 percent, to $13.15, after it announced the Ripple partnership.

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