Tag Archives: Says

Toyota says in talks with Geely on cooperation in hybrid vehicle tech
September 6, 2018 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

BEIJING (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Corp said on Thursday it is in talks with Chinese automaker Geely about cooperation in gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle technology, but nothing has been decided on the matter.

The Toyota logo is shown at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, U.S., November 30, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The move comes as Japan’s biggest automaker has been increasingly embracing new automotive technologies for future growth, and has also embarked on a strategy to ramp up sales in China, the world’s biggest auto market.

Toyota said in a statement to Reuters that it and Geely are currently “communicating with each other” about gasoline-electric hybrid technology.

It was not immediately clear in what aspects of the hybrid technology Geely and Toyota are discussing cooperating.

A person familiar with the matter, however, said that the talks apparently involve a Chinese supplier of electric battery technology both companies have already been associated with but separately. Toyota declined to comment on the specifics of the cooperation.

“Toyota has been conducting the business with the open policy which also applies to the area of electrification technologies. The relationship with Geely (Toyota is exploring) is also based on this open policy,” the statement said.

Toyota’s response comes after a Chinese media report said Geely was working with Toyota on the conventional hybrid technology. The report said details on the joint effort would be announced soon.

A Geely spokesman declined to comment.

Toyota, which bet big on gasoline-electric hybrid technology in the late 1990s when it began selling the Prius hybrid, has since localized production of conventional hybrid cars in China and has been selling them here since 2015 under the Corolla and Levin names.

The company has said it plans to sell plug-in hybrid versions of the Corolla and the Levin next year.

Reporting By Norihiko Shirouzu; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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Elon Musk says taking Tesla private is 'best path,' shares jump
August 8, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Chief Executive Elon Musk said on Tuesday he is considering taking Tesla Inc private in what would be the largest deal of its type, moving the electric car maker out of the glare of Wall Street as it goes through a period of rapid growth under tight financial constraints.

“Am considering taking Tesla private at $ 420. Funding secured,” Musk said on Twitter bit.ly/2Om3gn3. At $ 420 per share, a deal would be worth $ 72 billion overall.

In a letter to Tesla employees published more than an hour later on the company’s blog here, Musk explained that going private would be “the best path forward.” Such a move – over which no final decision had been made – would let Tesla “operate at its best, free from as much distraction and short-term thinking as possible,” he wrote.

Tesla shares closed up 11 percent at $ 379.57, slightly below their all-time high.

Asked on Twitter whether Musk would continue to be CEO under such a scenario, he replied there would be “no change.”

Musk has been under intense pressure this year to turn his money-losing, debt-laden company into a profitable higher-volume manufacturer, a prospect that has sent Tesla’s valuation higher than that of General Motors Co.

The company is still working its way out of what Musk called “production hell” at its home factory in Fremont, California, where a series of manufacturing challenges delayed the ramp-up of production of its new Model 3 sedan, on which the company’s profitability rests.

The Silicon Valley company faces a make-or-break moment in its eight-year history as a public company as competition from European automakers is poised to intensify with new electric vehicles from Audi and Jaguar, with more rivals to follow suit next year.

Meanwhile, Tesla has announced plans to build a factory in Shanghai, China, and another in Europe, but details are scarce and funding unknown.

Going private is one way to avoid close scrutiny by the public market as Musk and the company face those challenges. Musk has feuded publicly with regulators, critics, short sellers and reporters, and some analysts suggested that less transparency would be welcomed by Musk.

“Musk does not want to run a public company,” said Gene Munster of Loup Ventures, as Tesla’s ambitious mission makes it “difficult to accommodate investors’ quarterly expectations.”

Musk owns nearly 20 percent of the company. He said in his letter to employees he did not seek to expand his ownership.

A price of $ 420 per share would represent a nearly 23 percent premium to Tesla’s closing price on Monday, which gave the company a market value of about $ 58 billion.

In his letter, Musk suggested a choice for shareholders of selling their shares for $ 420 each or remaining investors in a private Tesla. He said he hoped all current investors would remain were the company to go private.

He made no mention in his tweets nor his letter where the funding for a deal would come from, and the letter did not discuss funding for the plan.

Like any other investor, Musk is beholden to securities laws and several securities attorneys told Reuters he potentially could face lawsuits if it was proven he did not have secure financing at the time of his tweet.

(GRAPHIC-Market value of Tesla, Ford, GM: tmsnrt.rs/2n4mFjh)

BIGGEST GO-PRIVATE DEAL

If Musk were to succeed in taking Tesla private, it would be the largest leveraged buyout of all time, beating the record set by the $ 45 billion deal for Texas power utility Energy Future Holdings, which ended in bankruptcy in 2014.

Raising both the debt and equity required for such a deal would be a challenge. Many major Wall Street bankers contacted by Reuters said on condition of anonymity they were not aware of Musk’s plans ahead of his tweets, and several expressed skepticism that a leveraged buyout of Tesla could be financed given the company’s negative cash flow.

“It’s unfathomable to me that anyone would finance the acquisition of such a liability-laden company that is losing so much money and have massive capex requirements going forward,” said Mark Spiegel, portfolio manager of hedge fund Stanphyl Capital Partners, who holds a short position in Tesla and has been a vocal critic of Musk on Twitter.

FILE PHOTO: Elon Musk listens at a press conference following the first launch of a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S., February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Joe Skipper/File Photo

The most obvious equity partners for Musk would be a sovereign wealth fund such as Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) or major technology investment funds such as SoftBank Group Corp’s Vision Fund, bankers said.

China’s Tencent Holdings, which took a 5 percent stake in Tesla last year, is another possible partner.

Such foreign sources of capital would be subject to scrutiny by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which looks closely at deals for potential national security risks.

Earlier on Tuesday, a source familiar with the matter said Saudi Arabia’s PIF had bought a minority stake of just below 5 percent in Tesla.

UNORTHODOX ANNOUNCEMENT

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission declined to comment on Musk’s tweet, but the agency allows companies to use social media outlets like Twitter to announce key information in compliance with its fair disclosure rules if investors are alerted about which social media outlets will be used.

Tesla alerted investors in a 2013 SEC filing that they should follow Musk’s Twitter feed for “additional information” about the company. There is no reference to Musk’s Twitter account on the company’s investor relation page under “investor communication,” although Tesla’s Twitter feed is included.

In his letter to employees, Musk wrote that, “as the most shorted stock in the history of the stock market, being public means that there are large numbers of people who have the incentive to attack the company.”

A short squeeze is a trading scenario that occurs from time to time in heavily shorted stocks, when bearish traders are forced to buy shares to avoid big losses – something that ends up pushing the stock only higher.

Short interest in Tesla on Tuesday stood at nearly $ 13 billion, according to S3 Partners, a financial analytics firm.

(GRAPHIC-Tesla shares jump 10 percent, near record high: tmsnrt.rs/2MbzJin)

FILE PHOTO: A Tesla sales and service center is shown in Costa Mesa, California, U.S. June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake

Reporting by Sonam Rai in Bengaluru, Alexandria Sage in San Francisco, Carl O’Donnell, Liana Baker, David Randall in New York and Pete Schroeder in Washington; editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty, Bill Rigby and Chris Reese

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TSMC says third-quarter revenue hit by computer virus
August 5, 2018 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

TAIPEI (Reuters) – A computer virus outbreak has hit third-quarter results at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, the company said on Sunday.

A logo of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) is seen at its headquarters in Hsinchu, Taiwan October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Eason Lam

On Saturday, TSMC, a major supplier for Apple Inc, said that a number of its computer systems and fab tools had been infected by a virus, but the problem had been contained.

The company expects full recovery on Aug. 6, the company said in an updated statement on Sunday.

“TSMC expects this incident to cause shipment delays and additional costs. We estimate the impact to third quarter revenue to be about three percent, and impact to gross margin to be about one percentage point,” it said.

“The Company is confident shipments delayed in third quarter will be recovered in the fourth quarter 2018, and maintains its forecast of high single-digit revenue growth for 2018 in U.S. dollars given on July 19, 2018.”

The chipmaker has notified its customers and is working with them on the wafer delivery schedule. Details will be provided to each customer individually over the next few days, it said.

The virus outbreak occurred during the software installation for a new tool, which caused a virus to spread once the tool was connected to the company’s computer network, TSMC said.

“Data integrity and confidential information was not compromised. TSMC has taken actions to close this security gap and further strengthen security measures,” it said.

Reporting by Jess Macy Yu, editing by Larry King

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U.S. tech enforcer says will read 'closely' EU statement on Google
July 18, 2018 6:56 pm|Comments (0)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, which has investigated Alphabet’s Google in the past for abuse of web dominance, said on Wednesday he would take a close look at Europe’s recent decision to fine the company 4.34 billion euros ($ 5 billion).

European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager addresses a news conference on Google in Brussels, Belgium, July 18, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Speaking at a hearing in Capitol Hill, FTC Chairman Joseph Simons said he had spoken on Tuesday with EU antitrust chief, Margrethe Vestager.

“We’re going to read what the EU put out very closely,” Simons told a subcommittee of the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee.

In addition to the fine, equal to about two weeks’ revenue, EU antitrust regulators ordered Google to stop using its Android mobile operating system to block rivals. The U.S. tech company said it would appeal.

Asked about the dominance of Google and Apple in the smartphone market, Simons said: “There is the two of them so they compete pretty heavily against each other.”

He added that markets dominated by few companies are where antitrust enforcers often expect to find “problematic conduct.”

The FTC had previously investigated Google for abusing its huge market share in web search, but ended the probe in early 2013 with a mild reprimand.

Also at the hearing on Wednesday, lawmakers from both political parties pressed the five agency commissioners to do more to stop robocallers and to ensure better security for sensitive data.

To tackle these and other issues, the commissioners – three Republicans and two Democrats – said the agency needed more resources and more authority, specifically the ability to create rules relatively quickly.

Simons and others also called for legislation to give the FTC the authority to seek civil penalties in the case of a data breach.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Bernadette Baum

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Facebook says Indonesian user data not misused
July 13, 2018 6:47 am|Comments (0)

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Social media giant Facebook has assured the Indonesian government that personal data of about one million of its citizens had not been improperly accessed by political consultancy Cambridge Analytica.

FILE PHOTO: A 3D plastic representation of the Facebook logo is seen in this illustration in Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, May 13, 2015. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

Facebook has faced intense scrutiny, including multiple official investigations in the United States, Europe and Australia, over allegations of improper use of data for 87 million Facebook users by Cambridge Analytica.

Indonesia, where more than 115 million people use Facebook, has also been pressing the firm to explain how its citizens’ personal data was harvested by Cambridge Analytica via a personality quiz. 

“Facebook has reported to the Communications Ministry that no data from any Indonesian users was collected,” Deputy Communications Minister Semuel Pangerapan said on Friday.

A Facebook official had told members of parliament in April that 1,096,666 people in Indonesia may have had their data shared, or 1.26 percent of the global total.

This led Communications Minister Rudiantara, who goes by one name, to briefly threaten to shut down Facebook in Indonesia if personal data was found to have been breached.

But Facebook told Reuters on Thursday it had only indicated the number of Indonesian users “who could potentially have had their data accessed, not necessarily misused”.

“Both public records and existing evidence strongly indicate Aleksandr Kogan did not provide Cambridge Analytica or (its parent) SCL with data on people who use Facebook in Indonesia,” it added, referring to the researcher linked to the scandal.

Facebook says Kogan harvested data by creating an app on the platform that was downloaded by 270,000 people, providing access not only to their own but also their friends’ personal data.

Pangerapan said he believed Facebook had improved options for users to limit access to data, but did not say whether authorities would continue their inquiry.

The Indonesian communications ministry had sent a letter to the company in April seeking confirmation on technical measures to limit access to data in Facebook and more information on an audit the social media company was doing.

Britain’s information regulator on Wednesday slapped a small but symbolic fine of 500,000 pounds on Facebook for breaches of data protection law, in the first move by a regulator to punish the social media giant for the controversy.

Reporting by Fanny Potkin & Cindy Silviana; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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LG Electronics says second-quarter profit likely rose 16.1 percent, misses estimates
July 6, 2018 6:35 am|Comments (0)

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc on Friday said second-quarter operating profit likely rose 16.1 percent from the same period a year earlier, falling short of market expectations.

FILE PHOTO – LG Electronics’ company logo is seen at a shop in central Seoul, July 23, 2013. REUTERS/Lee Jae-Won/File Picture

Analysts said higher marketing expenses for new products weighed on profit.

LG, in a regulatory filing, estimated April-June profit at 771 billion won ($ 691.79 million), compared with an 821 billion won average of 10 analyst estimates in a Thomson Reuters survey.

Revenue likely rose 3.2 percent to 15 trillion won from 14.6 trillion won from a year earlier.

The firm did not elaborate on its performance and will disclose detailed earnings in late July.

Reporting by Heekyong YangEditing by Christopher Cushing

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Micron says China ban unfair but won't hurt revenue
July 5, 2018 6:34 pm|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – Micron Technology Inc on Thursday played down the likely impact on its business of a temporary Chinese ban on some chip sales but said it would appeal a decision that has added to U.S.-China trade tensions.

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: The logo of U.S. memory chip maker MicronTechnology is pictured at their booth at an industrial fair in Frankfurt, Germany, July 14, 2015. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach/File Photo/File Photo

The firm’s estimate that the ban imposed by a Chinese court in a patent infringement lawsuit would weaken quarterly revenue by just 1 percent drove its shares as much as 3.6 percent higher and lifted stocks of other U.S. chipmakers.

Shares in the sector had been shaken on Tuesday by the first reports of the ruling, which added to a growing list of intellectual property disputes between Washington and China in the technology sector.

Micron said the ruling by a Fuzhou Court in a lawsuit filed by rivals United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC) and Fujian Jinhua Integrated Circuit Co temporarily bans it from selling some memory chips and solid state drives in China.

The chipmaker said it would comply with the ruling, but would request the court to reconsider or stay its decision.

“The Fuzhou Court issued this preliminary ruling before allowing Micron an opportunity to present its defense,” said Joel Poppen, Micron’s general counsel.

The lawsuit followed Micron’s complaint in December against Chinese government-backed Fujian and UMC in a California court alleging misappropriation of its trade secrets and other misconduct.

China is trying to build its own semiconductor industry as part of its “Made in China 2025” strategy and as it seeks to lower its reliance on foreign companies, many of them U.S.-based.

The dispute follows a ban on U.S. firms supplying parts to China’s telecom equipment maker ZTE as well as the drawn-out wait for Chinese regulators to approve Qualcomm Inc’s $ 44 billion takeover of NXP Semiconductors.

“It certainly appears semiconductors could move to the prime time in negotiations between the Trump administration and China,” Evercore ISI analyst C.J. Muse said. “Near-term this could favor non-US chipmakers vs. US chipmakers.”

Several Chinese government-backed entities have poured billions into research and for buying companies with a trove of chip patents. Micron itself was the target of a failed takeover attempt by China’s Tsinghua Unigroup in 2015.

The Chinese ban on Micron targeted its products sold through retail outlets and represented only a small portion of the chipmaker’s revenue.

Analysts believe the ban is largely symbolic as hurting the U.S. chipmaker would end up creating more pain for local Chinese firms who would have to rely on Korean firms Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, pushing up memory chip prices.

“At the end of the day, the Chinese government is not going to impact its own local companies,” said Kinngai Chan of Summit Insights Group.

Micron said it expects quarterly revenue to be within the previously guided range of $ 8.0 billion to $ 8.4 billion.

Shares of Micron, which fell 5.5 percent on Tuesday after the ban, was up 1.9 percent at $ 52.46 in afternoon trading on Thursday.

Other chipmakers also gained. Qualcomm Inc rose 3.2 percent, Broadcom Inc 2 percent and Intel Corp up 2.6 percent.

Reporting by Sonam Rai and Supantha Mukherjee in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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Science Says This is the Best Way to Persuade Someone Who's Wrong (Jeff Bezos Will Hate It)
June 17, 2018 6:11 pm|Comments (0)

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

In today’s America, we tend to feel gray areas are a touch passé.

You’re either right or you’re wrong. And if you can’t see which you are, then you’re two slices short of a sandwich.

How, though, can you even begin to persuade someone who’s mistaken — or even worse, vehemently disagrees with you?

A new study makes a curious suggestion, one that won’t please everyone.

The study, conducted by Brendan Nyhan of Dartmouth College and Jason Reifler of the University of Exeter, is entitled The roles of information deficits and identity threat in the prevalence of misperceptions.

They’re very polite about the fountains of knowledge pouring into today’s humans.

“Why do so many Americans hold misperceptions?” the researchers ask. 

To which I reply: “Why do many Americans now put mis in front of pleasant words, instead of calling them that they really are? Lying has become misspeaking? Oh, I don’t think it has.”

Anyway.

Nyhan and Reifler come to a startling, even painful conclusion: “In three experiments, we find that providing information in graphical form reduces misperceptions. A third study shows that this effect is greater than for equivalent textual information.”

Yes, if you want to persuade your half-cut, halfwitted neighbor or colleague about the parlous state of the world and the dangers of fascism/socialism/democracy/self-help books, your best bet is to show them a chart.

Worse, it seems that a chart is better than even text. Goodness, is that where I’ve been going wrong all my life?

I can, though, already see Jeff Bezos’s eyes rolling into the back of his head and emerging with a very red hue.

As the Amazon CEO explained in his latest letter to shareowners: “We don’t do PowerPoint (or any other slide-oriented) presentations at Amazon. Instead, we write narratively structured six-page memos. We silently read one at the beginning of each meeting in a kind of ‘study hall.'”

So no slides or charts and graphics for Bezos. All he wants is a short story. Could he, perhaps, misperceive the benefits of charts? 

Still, charts surely can’t be so effective, otherwise everyone would have tried them. 

Moreover, it’s not as if you can create a chart to describe every false belief. How, for example, do you create a chart for a CEO who simply thinks his touch and feel is always right?

Nyhan and Reifler explain that a considerable reason why people hold on to false information is purely psychological. It confirms their world view.

“On high-profile issues, many of the misinformed are likely to have already encountered and rejected correct information that was discomforting to their self-concept or worldview,” they say.

Yes, but it’s not as if that nice man on CNN with his Election Night charts has ever persuaded many people, is it?

Expect, though, the rising stars in many companies now rushing to create charts in order to show that they’re right and their brain-manacled bosses are wrong. 

Expect, too, that American politics will now be revolutionized with the presentation of definitive charts of right and wrong.

You think I’m wrong about that? 

Send me a chart to show me why.

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AT&T CEO says ready to invest, keep culture at Time Warner: CNBC
June 15, 2018 6:05 pm|Comments (0)

(Reuters) – AT&T Inc is committed to spend as much as needed on the media business of newly acquired Time Warner Inc, Chief Executive Randall Stephenson told CNBC on Friday, with a plan to invest $ 21 billion to $ 22 billion in the combined company.

FILE PHOTO: Chief Executive Officer of AT&T Randall Stephenson arrives at a U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., U.S. April 19, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

“We’re not going to be penny-wise and pound-foolish here,” Stephenson said in an interview on the financial news channel. “We intend to invest.”

The No. 2 U.S. wireless carrier closed its $ 85 billion acquisition of Time Warner on Thursday and now faces the task of integrating a media company into its operations as it seeks to rival Netflix Inc , Amazon.com Inc and other technology companies providing entertainment directly to customers.

That will be the job of John Stankey, who will lead the company’s combined entertainment business. Stephenson said on Friday AT&T intends to preserve Time Warner’s creative culture.

He acknowledged such differences in an email to AT&T and Time Warner employees late on Thursday, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

“As different as our businesses are, I think you’ll find we have a lot in common,” wrote Stephenson. “We’re big fans of your talent and creativity. And you have my word that you will continue to have the creative freedom and resources to keep doing what you do best.”

Stephenson told CNBC he expects AT&T’s debt levels to come down quickly in about a year, returning to normal levels within four years at about 2.3 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization.

Some analysts have raised concerns about the high level of debt the company took on to acquire Time Warner, about $ 180 billion at the close of the merger, Stephenson said.

AT&T’s spending plans include investing more in HBO, the premium TV channel with the hit show “Game of Thrones,” and expanding HBO’s direct-to-consumer platform, Stephenson said.

Reporting by Sheila Dang; Additional reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington; Editing by Bill Rigby

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Banks unlikely to process payments with distributed ledgers for now, says Ripple
June 13, 2018 6:03 pm|Comments (0)

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Banks are unlikely to use distributed ledgers to process cross-border payments for now because of scalability and privacy issues, according to Ripple, one of the most prominent startups developing the technology.

The logo of blockchain company Ripple is seen at the SIBOS banking and financial conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada October 19, 2017. Picture taken October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

“I will concede, we haven’t gotten there yet,” Ripple’s chief cryptographer David Schwartz said in an interview.

Banks have been vocal about taking steps toward deploying the technology originated from cryptocurrencies to make processes like international payments faster and cheaper.

Several banks have tested or deployed a system Ripple developed for international payments that uses a “bi-directional messaging” that can eventually plug them into distributed ledgers, but xCurrent’s technology itself “is not a distributed ledger,” Schwartz said.

XCurrent was used to build Banco Santander SA’s (SAN.MC) international money transfer service One Pay FX, which was launched in April and hailed as one of the first concrete uses of “blockchain-based technology.”

Representation of the Ripple virtual currency is seen in this illustration picture, February 13, 2018. Picture is taken February 13. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Santander, which is an investor in Ripple, declined to comment.

While xCurrent uses cryptography, each party using the system does not have access to a shared ledger, as is the case with distributed ledgers like ethereum or Hyperledger Fabric.

“We started out with your classic blockchain, which we love,” Marcus Treacher, senior vice president of customer success at Ripple said in an interview. “The feedback from the banks is you can’t put the whole world on a blockchain.”

Distributed ledgers, an umbrella under which so-called blockchains fall, are immutable databases maintained by a network of computers rather than a centralized authority and secured by advanced cryptography.

The technology’s proponents say shared record keeping boosts efficiency and reduces data discrepancies, but distributed ledgers are not yet scalable or private enough for banks, Schwartz said.

XCurrent uses an immutable “interledger” protocol which Ripple says improves on existing payment networks because it offers instant settlement.

“What we hear from many of our customers is that it’s imperative to keep their transactions private, process thousands every second, and accommodate every type of currency and asset imaginable,” Schwartz said. Ripple’s approach is what has enabled it to move beyond tests with banks, he added.

Founded in 2012, Ripple also offers a system called xRapid that works with the distributed ledger behind XRP, the third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap after bitcoin and ether. Ripple holds a large share of XRP.

The price of XRP and other cryptocurrencies soared last year, in part on expectations that their technology will be applied to processes including transferring value between financial firms.

xRapid and XRP are not being used by banks, but have been recently tested by money transfer companies Viamericas and MercuryFX, according to Ripple.

Reporting by Anna Irrera; Editing by Meredith Mazzilli

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