Yesterday, Ripple announced that their real-time payment settlement system called xRapid officially went live. The system allows entities to make international payments faster than ever before. It further eliminates the requirement of having funded nostro accounts to make such payments, and transactions are also far cheaper than normal means of payments. This past spring, Ripple released xRapid in a test environment. Not only did a number of financial institutions participate in this test, but so did a variety of payment providers, such as Cuallix and MercuryFX. The testing phase reportedly was a huge success. Participants said that transactions that previously took a few days to complete were completed in a couple of minutes. They also said that the cost of transactions were reduced by as much as 70%. The two payments providers in the test are currently facilitating payments to the important Mexican market, with MercuryFX handling transactions from Europe while Cuallix is handling payments made from the United States. Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union is also developing an international payment system using xRapid, which will facilitate transactions from its members and members of other credit unions it is in partnership with. During the summer, Ripple formed a partnership with a trio of leading cryptocurrency exchanges, which will allow them to use xRapid to exchange Ripple's XRP cryptocurrency with a variety of local fiat currencies. The participating exchanges included Bittrex (United States), Bitso (Mexico) and Coins.Ph (the Philippines). In the past month, the price of Ripple has been surging. More than once its market value temporarily passed the market value of Ethereum, which for a long time has been the second most popular cryptocurrency after bitcoin. The surge coincided with Ripple's announcement that the Treasury Management Department of PNC Financial Services will use Ripple's xCurrent system to speed up international payments. The surge also coincided with a CNBC report that indicated that xRapid was very close to going live. Ripple's XRP is currently trading at $0.57, and it has a market value of nearly $23 billion.