Ambiguous Relationship Between Western Union & Ripple

February 21, 2019   XRP

The Western Union Company, a real colossus among the global financial and transaction services, has once again reaffirmed their intention to explore the potential methods of application of blockchain and cryptocurrencies within the framework of cross-border money transfers. In one of its recent press releases, Western Union confirmed that the company had already established a partnership with Ripple Labs Inc., a California-based tech company which is known primarily for their active implementation of the Ripple ecosystem that features the native XRP currency and the xRapid transaction solution. The media had immediately concocted a story that WU introduces cryptocurrency transaction to their range of services, but the payment giant decided to throw cold water on the sizzling hot headlines by releasing the statement that the company is currently only testing the possibilities for such implementation but harbors not aspirations to do so in the near future.

The acknowledgment and vague promises


In order to dispel the rumors, which began to circulate in the financial community, Westen Union released an interview in which Odilon Almeida, the president of Westen Union Global Money Transfer, explained the company’s stance on cryptocurrencies and blockchain. He told Reuters Plus, an American content studio associated with one of the largest media outlets in the world, that WU has a great appreciation for blockchain, as well as cryptocurrencies, and believe that mass adoption of this technology is almost inevitable.    

“I believe that this technology has a lot of potential. We are going to see more and more ways of using it, going forward.”

However, Odilon Almeida also placed emphasis on the fact that before the full-scale introduction of cryptocurrency transactions into practice is hindered by three major factors.

  • Volatility - needless to say, the violent swings in cryptocurrency prices still remain a principal argument used by all crypto skeptics against their universal implementation.
  • Governance - this remains a burning issue for cryptocurrencies, as illustrated by the infamous DAO hack.
  • Compliance - it is a well-known fact that virtually all major financial institutions have a very pro-regulation position on cryptocurrencies. Apparently, Western Union is not an exception in this particular regard.

Odilion Almeida also hinted that Western Union would be more inclined towards implementing stable coins, which are pegged to the value of strong conventional currencies like the US dollar, though the other two factors will also be taken into account. He didn’t specifically mention that Western Union has any definitive plans to introduce XRP, or any other cryptocurrencies, to their list of currencies available for money transfers, confining himself to the following vague statement.

“I think cryptocurrencies may become one more option of currency or assets around the globe to be exchanged between people and businesses. If that happens, we would be ready to launch.”

Western Union’s equivocal position on cryptocurrencies


Despite Almeida’s declared commitment to blockchain, the company seems lacking a common ground when it comes to cryptocurrencies. Just a few months ago, Hikmet Ersek, the CEO of Western Union Co., had openly discarded the idea of adding blockchain-based digital currencies to their payment scheme. He said that the WU customers, along with the majority of banking institutions, will always give preference to fiat money over cryptocurrencies. 

Judging from the latest developments, which also included another financial whale JPMorgan Chase, it is possible to conclude that even yesterday’s skeptics are coming to realize the imminence of blockchain revolution. 

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