Recently, at the Brainstorm Finance 2019 conference, Western Union’s CEO, Hikmet Ersek shared his thoughts on cryptocurrencies and Ripple especially. He explained that WU has been testing Ripple technology, however, they find it 5 times more expensive than their own. All-in-all, the company is open to cryptocurrencies, and believes that they have a unique money transfer system.
The conversation moderator asked him how has blockchain and crypto worked out for Western Union. To which WU CEO replied that they have their own group of investors, who only invest in crypto and blockchain-related projects.
MoneyGram Will use Ripple’s XRP for Cross-Border transfers
Additionally, in recent news, MoneyGram, the money transfer company, also a competitor to Western Union, announced their partnership with Ripple. The partnership means that MoneyGram will use XRP for cross-border payments.
Ripple invested $50 million in MoneyGram and will acquire from 8 to 10% of the company’s shares in return. MoneyGram’s stock price went through the roof amidst the recent news by +160%, while Ripple’s XRP experienced a little decline. As Hikmet Ersek comments:
“MoneyGram needed something, and Ripple needed something, so it sounds like a good deal.”
Western Union is “Pretty Much OK” With Their Settlement System
When referring to the MoneyGram and Ripple partnership in relation to Western Union, Ersek said that they are “pretty much ok” with their settlement system. He claims that they can move money in a unique way, “in a way that nobody can”.
All this sounds like an excuse, and it may seem like they have the feeling of being left out, hence the MoneyGram and Ripple partnership. They find the Ripple tests not successful, yet they still test them. They say that their unique money moving system is better than every other, but still, they don’t disclose switching to cryptocurrencies or any cost-saving technology or innovations. They say that they will be ready to make the switch to crypto.
At the end of the interview, Hikmet Ersek showed his openness to various partnerships, which is good, but sounded a little desperate in the shadow of MoneyGram and Ripple partnership:
“Look, hey, I’m open, any cost savings, any innovation. I’m there. We can sign a deal tomorrow.”