The current president, representative director, and CEO of Japanese financial tycoon SBI Holdings has joined blockchain payments startup Ripple’s board of directors.

Ripple revealed the news on April 29, stating that Yoshitaka Kitao will be replacing Takashi Okita, CEO of SBI Ripple Asia.

Kitao has more than 40 years of work experience in worldwide financial markets. According to the announcement, he launched SBI Holdings in 1999 and has earlier worked with Softbank Corporation and Nomura Securities.

Chris Larsen, co-founder and executive chairman of the Ripple’s board of directors, said:

“Approximately half of our customers are located in Asia-Pac today, and we’re rapidly expanding our global footprint across the region. Mr. Kitao comes at a perfect time for Ripple as we look to deepen our customer base in Asia and beyond.”

This is not the first time Ripple and SBI entered into a benefitting relationship. As far back as 2016, the two companies inked a partnership dubbed SBI Ripple Asia. The collaboration got a license to introduce its blockchain-based app for clients in September 2018. A month later, the app MoneyTap was rolled out.

SBI Ripple Asia also established a consortium in 2018 to explore the use of blockchain technology in securities products, in order to enhance efficiency for clients and decrease operational costs for companies.

Meanwhile, the Saudi British Bank (SABB) revealed on May 2 that it has rolled out “instant” cross-border money transfer services through Ripple to enhance client experience. On the other hand, SBI recently launched a new subsidiary to develop and produce cryptocurrency mining chips and systems.