Western Union: “We Are Open to Cryptocurrency”

Western Union, global money transfer and financial services provider looks set to adopt cryptocurrencies.

Speaking at a recent interview, Odilon Almeida, President of Western Union hints that the firm has been carefully evaluating the use of cryptocurrencies. He explained that Western union is considering adoption of cryptocurrency payments as an option for its customers to exchange for fiat currencies; while also exploring ways to improve efficiency and service delivery using blockchain technology.

Reiterating his stance, the President opines that there is no big difference between cryptocurrencies and other regular digital payments which Western Union has been handling for years; as he expresses optimism that the firm’s long term financial services and experience with P2P transactions make them potentially ready to handle any type of currency.

In his words:

There are two elements to the cryptocurrency. The first one is the digital currency itself and the second one is the technology behind it: blockchain…Western Union is ready today to adopt any kind of currency.

We already operate with 130 currencies. If we one day feel it’s the right strategy to introduce cryptocurrencies on our platform,technology–wise it’s just one more currency. I think cryptocurrrency 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. He continued

Even as the company looks to incorporate the digital currency and blockchain technology, Almeida explains that a major limitation to its feasibility is the lack of a full fledged global audience and mainstream adoption. This limitation he believes stems from three (3) issues – volatility, governance and compliance. The Western Union boss however lauded the introduction of stablecoins as he believes pegging digital currency to some strong currencies like the U.S. dollar is a welcome panacea to the volatility issue.

This is not a first of interests or crypto activities linked to Western Union. In June 2018, the company ran a blockchain trial with Ripple (developers of the XRP coin) to ‘test whether payments by blockchain were faster and less expensive’; a project which is currently undergoing tests and analysis.

Almeida while referencing the Ripple project, believes the company is essentially in its learning phase as regards the use of blockchaun technology as results from the tests are not 100% efficient at this time. In all, the company acknowledges the hype, possible potential of the industry and its technology while they remain open to incorporate both.

The crypto industry on its part, continues to brace up for more adoption and inclusion by traditional financial institutions despite initial criticisms and an unprecedented bearish year. With this trend on the rise, many experts believe the industry could flourish jointly or compete directly with the traditional fiat system.

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