US-based financial services provider Western Union has announced that the company is ready to accept bitcoin only if it will be totally regulated.
In the recent interview to Bloomberg TV, Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek told about the firm’s strategy of jobs creation and how it works on improving security level. Still, the bitcoin news made the interview interesting for the digital currency entrepreneurs and investors.
Ersek was also asked about the high prices that the company charges for its services and the benefits of bitcoin, as it is much cheaper to make transactions using the cryptocurrency. He said the fact that clients are using Western Union services shows that the pricing is not too high.
Already offering the possibility of moving 121 different currencies, the firm could add bitcoin to the list only if it’s fully regulated: “Once bitcoin should be regulated by the regulator as a proper currency, why should we not also use bitcoin?”
He also added that they are ready to integrate bitcoin “if it is regulated as a currency, but it is not regulated as a currency”. Ersek said: “That’s the issue with bitcoin. We are a very regulated industry. If bitcoin is regulated and the customer wants that, I mean, why not? […]
I am not sure bitcoin is a currency. Bitcoin is a system. It is not used as a currency, it is defined as an asset. When the reserve bank issues bitcoin and when it is regulated we would be more than happy.”
Although it may sound promising that Western Union is ready to integrate bitcoin, the digital currency is still unregulated in the majority of countries and is not even considered a currency.
Ersek’s comments demonstrate that the bitcoin is not likely to be accepted soon in its current form. However, it opens the door for the virtual currencies supported by traditional finance sector.
Ersek has recently criticized bitcoin and other digital currencies and called the payment method “first-world in nature”. According to Western Union CEO, virtual money is not ready for international transfer and that bitcoin has no users in underdeveloped countries. He said bitcoin adoption has to become more widespread.
This is crucial to the business strategy of Western Union. Besides, the company cleared its position on digital currencies last year. At the 2013 Consumer Protection & Compliance Conference, which took place in October, the firm’s executives said bitcoin is yet suitable for international use due to a number of reasons.