Licensed money services business AstroPay is launching Ripple LatAm, connecting the Latin American market with the digital currency payment provider Ripple Labs' network partners and gateways in North America, Europe and Asia.

The Ripple LatAm platform can be used by consumers, merchants and financial institutions for purchases, remittances and other transactions. It will also allow developers in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Uruguay and Colombia to build services such as remittance networks on top of the Ripple protocol.

"Ripple LatAm effectively opens the region for business, allowing real-time [business-to-business] cross-border payments between markets in each partner's currency of choice," says Andres Bzurovski, founder of Ripple LatAm, in a June 12 press release. "Now a European-based business can send euros to be received as Brazilian Real by a business in Brazil within seconds and at a fraction of the cost."

Similar to Bitcoin, the Ripple protocol allows for real-time, nearly free transactions around the world.

"This contrasts with correspondent bank networks built on traditional payment infrastructure that requires reserves, high fees and multiple days to settle transactions across borders," says Ripple Labs in the release.

In March, Ripple Labs began creating a portal to help developers build on top of the Ripple protocol. The company also began supporting CrossCoin Ventures to provide developers with funding, mentoring and training.

In May, Fidor Bank, which provides banking services for several Bitcoin startups, integrated Ripple's global settlement protocol.

AstroPay is the largest payment provider in Latin American. The company serves more than 600,000 customers making 5,000 transactions per day.

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