U.S.-based financial service provider Western Union is looking to explore cryptocurrencies. Western Union President Odilon Almeida during a video interview with Reuters stated that the company has been evaluating the use of cryptocurrencies in its operations.
Western Union looking to use cryptos and blockchain
He further added that the company is exploring the different ways they can improve their services using blockchain technology. The company stated that they are interested in offering cryptocurrencies as an option for their users to exchange with fiat currencies. Almeida, however, noted that the plan would only come to fruition if it can connect with a global audience.
During his interview, Almeida talked about the various limitations of cryptocurrencies and why they have found it hard to achieve mainstream adoption. He pointed out that volatility, governance, and compliance are the three major issues affecting the growth of cryptos at the moment. He stated that stablecoins are however working towards reversing that trend and solving those problems.
Almeida said: “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.”
Back in June, Western Union ran a blockchain trial with Ripple. However, it wasn’t successful for them as CEO Hikmet Ersek revealed that they didn’t get any cost savings from the Ripple trial as they attempted to integrate Ripple into their cross-border payment system.
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.”
Responding to this, Ripple’s senior vice president of product Asheesh Birla stated that it wasn’t possible for Western Union to notice any cost savings benefits using their technology since they only made ten transactions using XRP coin. He added that “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 added that he is very optimistic about the prospects of them taking advantage of Ripple for cross-border payments despite the fact that the tests have been going on for a while now. He stated that “Our pilot with Ripple goes into the same space. It’s about learning. We are looking at blockchain technology and seeing if it can make us more efficient.”