Ripple (XRP) is rallying today up 12% and briefly “flippened” Ethereum as second on the coinmarketcap list. One of the drivers for this rally might be XRP’s entry into the Middle East.

Ripple’s global head of infrastructure Dilip Rao talked about the company’s plans to reach into the Middle East by establishing an office in Dubai.

“I think the UAE government saying that 50% of all government transactions will be on distributed ledger technology by 2020 is a fantastic way to encourage innovation, to bring Fintechs to your market and then to then build the capability locally to iterate on those solutions that the Fintech bring to you.”

Rao said that financial institutions in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman have already started to utilize XRP to process cross-border payments or run pilot tests on the Ripple (XRP) blockchain network.

“We now have three banks in Saudi Arabia, two in Kuwait… one in Bahrain, one in Oman… a couple in the UAE… and it really is out fastest growing marketplace,” said Rao.

Ripple (XRP) rose 14 percent on a day when bitcoin (BTC) traded sideways, and no other large-cap cryptocurrency rose more than 4 percent. In fact, XRP’s single-day return was triple that of Metaverse ETP, whose 4 percent gain was second-best among top 50-cryptocurrencies.

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Another driver for the XRP rally might be the news of the deal with Banco Santander that continues to attract new buyers and users for Ripple. Banco Santander is one of Ripple’s most important customers for their OnePay FX application. Santander Head of Innovation Ed Metzger said the bank’s vision in the integration of Ripple is to utilize xCurrent, Ripple’s enterprise blockchain, to improve the lives of its customers.