Cryptocurrencies are finally making their presence felt at Western Union, the US-based financial service company. Odilon Almeida, the President of Western Union, in a video interview with Reuters Plus disclosed that the company has been examining the possibility of using cryptocurrency. He also revealed during the interview that they are exploring different ways of using blockchain technology to expand their service delivery and adopt cryptocurrencies as a viable alternative for users in exchanging fiat currencies. Having said that, he clearly stated that the move could only be implemented successfully when they will connect with the global audience in an appropriate manner.
While explaining why cryptocurrencies have not yet seen a mainstream integration, Almeida talked about several limitations. He majorly held the factors of governance, volatility, and compliance as the challenges hindering the upward trajectory of cryptocurrencies. In order to resolve the issue of volatility in crypto market stablecoins are being hailed by many industry leaders, said Almeida.
Almeida further added –
Western Union is ready today to adopt any kind of currency. We already operate with 130 currencies. If we one day feel like it’s the right strategy to introduce cryptocurrencies to our platform, technology-wise it’s just one more currency. I think cryptocurrency may become one more option of currency, or assets, around the globe to be exchanged between people and businesses. If that happens, we will be ready to launch.
In June 2018, a blockchain trial was undertaken by Western Union with Ripple. After the trial run, CEO Hikmet Ersek had stated that the integration of Ripple into the Western Union system in order to facilitate payments across borders did not make any sense because there had been no significant cost savings during this run.
Ersek told Fortune, in an interview that “We are always criticized that Western Union is not cost-efficient, blah blah blah, but we did not see that part of the efficiency yet during our tests. The practical matter is it’s still too expensive,”
Asheesh Birla, the Senior Vice President of Product at Ripple countered this claim by saying that just ten transactions with XRP could not possibly be enough for Western Union to experience the benefits of cost saving. Birla said “If they were to move volume at scale, then maybe you would see something, but with 10, it’s not surprising that they do not see cost savings. They do millions of transactions a month, and I’m not surprised that with ten transactions it didn’t have earth-shattering results.”
Almeida’s statements now reopen the possibility of the prospective use of Ripple to carry out transactions across the border.
“Our pilot with Ripple goes into the same space. It’s about learning. We are looking at blockchain technology and really seeing if it can make us more efficient,” he explained in the video attached above.