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Western Union Claims It is Ready for Cryptos, Ripple Tech Put Through Tests

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by Teuta Franjkovic · 3 min read

Western Union recently released a short video in which it explains that it is ready to begin working with cryptocurrencies. That being said, the video does seem to go on to outline how they actually aren’t ready and don’t fully understand crypto.

On December 17, Odilon Almeida, President of Western Union Global Money Transfer, announced that his company was “fully prepared” to work with cryptocurrencies to secure international payments.

Almeida said that Western Union is ready to make maximum use of the blockchain and cryptocurrency technology for its work, as it specializes in international payments and “knows well” what it is.

He said:

“Cryptocurrencies can be another widespread option to ensure the exchange of values between people and countries, and if this happens, we are ready for the launch.”

However, he believes that this will not happen immediately since the crypto industry is still at an early stage of development and faces a number of problems that are common for new payment systems. These problems, he said, are related to volatility, management, and compliance.

Almeida expressed optimism about the fact that Western Union can contribute to overcoming of these problems, as “allocates significant resources to solve these three problems.”

On the introduction of cryptocurrency on his platform as a payment option, he said:

“Western union today is ready to accept any currency. we already have 130 currencies. if one day we realize that “the game is worth the candle,” then, from technology the point of view, this will be just another currency. ”

Western Union is Experimenting with the Blockchain

As Almeida explains:

“There are two elements to the cryptocurrency. The first one is the digital currency itself and the second one is the technology behind it: blockchain.”

Blockchain allows for storing and exchanging information about trades in an efficient and effective way. There are many potential applications for the financial services sector, and WU is investing in finding those that best meet our platform. Recently, for example, WU partnered with Ripple Labs to test whether sending payments by blockchain was faster and less expensive. The tests are ongoing.

Almeida’s opinion resonates with the company’s earlier stance. Back in June, the company’s CEO Hikmet Ersek said WU won’t be joining the crypto craze until these currencies become more widely used. As for the supposedly ongoing tests with Ripple Labs, WU has then stated that they had not seen a benefit from Ripple’s technology during a six-month trial period.

In the third quarter, WU generated revenue of USD 1.4 billion, which declined 1% compared to the prior year or increased 3% on a constant currency basis. Consumer-to-Consumer (C2C) revenues, which represented 80% of total company revenue in the quarter, were flat on a reported basis, or increased 2% constant currency, while transactions grew 4%. According to WU, geographically, constant currency revenue growth was led by sends originated in Latin America, Europe, and North America, partially offset by declines in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific.

In Western Union they say that they are already better equipped to solve for such variables because Western Union already moves money across 130 currencies and devotes substantial resources to all of those three challenges.

Testing Ripple’s Tech Since 2015

They have been testing Ripple’s cross-border payment tech since back in 2015. CEO Hikmet Ersek said that the tests with xRapid were early and they were a bit too early and small to draw any conclusions.

Western Union already transfers fiat digitally, and they expect blockchain tech and crypto integration to be smooth.

Some on twitter responded by pointing out that this video doesn’t really instill confidence that WU is ready for crypto or even understands it.

In response to Almeida’s explanation, a Twitter user named jas (@a1mk3) noted:

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