Western Union, the American financial services firm that provides one of the world’s most popular fund transfer services, has revealed that they are “ready for crypto” and could add it as an option for their clients.
The firm has also worked with Ripple and its xRapid product, though tests are ongoing and it is too early to form any conclusions.
In a Reuters video, Western Union Global Money Transfer President Odilon 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.
Western Union has been mulling over Ripple’s blockchain technology since 2015, and in the video Almeida stresses how Western Union’s decades of money transfer experience puts it in a good position to expand the technology, as it has access to billions of bank accounts and an established presence.
There's a lot of hype around cryptocurrencies.
— Western Union (@WesternUnion) December 17, 2018
Almeida also says that cryptocurrency is restricted because of 3 factors: governance, compliance, and volatility.
Speaking of Ripple, he said:
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.
Ripple Laying the Groundwork for Crypto-Based Cross-Border Payments
The acknowledgement from Western Union is another feather in the cap for Ripple, which has done well in attracting some notable financial institutions, including American Express and Santander. American Express has even called Ripple’s technology “very promising.”
Ripple’s Managing Director of the Middle East, Asia, and North Africa regions said that cross-border payments remains the primary focus of the company, Indeed, they have had much success in this regard, seeing multiple institutions transfer funds via RippleNet.
On top of this success, they have also managed to overtake Ethereum in terms of market cap.
Still, the market is in an uncertain state, and may remain this way for some time. With 2019 appearing to be a watershed year in terms of technical developments, enterprise adoption and regulation, anything could happen, and Ripple will certainly be in the thick of things.