Western Union Collaborates with Ripple to Pilot Blockchain Payments

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In an interview with Reuters Plus, the president of Western Union Global Money Transfer has asserted the company is ‘ready to adopt any currency’ possibly including digital currencies.

Mr. Odilon Almeida said there is no significant difference between digital currencies and regular digital payments, the likes of which Western Union has been managing for years.

Mr. Almeida thinks that the firm’s long-term stance makes it potentially ready to launch any currency, including blockchain-enabled ones:

“We already operate with 130 currencies. If one day we feel like it is the right strategy to introduce digital currencies to our platform, technology-wise, it’s just one more currency. I think digital currencies may become one more option of currency or assets around the globe to be exchanged among people and businesses. If that happens, we would be ready to launch.”

Although, Mr. Almeida believes that to mass adoption, digital currencies have to resolve problems with volatility, governance, and compliance. According to Western Union executive hinting at the concept behind some stablecoins, the issue with volatility in cryptocurrencies markets can be addressed by pegging coins to some “strong currencies, such as the United States dollar.”

Aside from digital currencies,  Western Union is also exploring the use of digital currencies. As per a press release, accompanying the video, the firm has already collaborated with Ripple to ‘test whether sending payments by blockchain was faster and less expensive,’ adding that the ‘tests are ongoing.’

Western Unions position towards cryptocurrencies has considerably changed within the last few months. Prior in June, the company’s CEO Mr. Hikmet Ersek stated that Western Union will not add a digital currency transfer solution to its services anytime soon. “The customers tell us what they want. People aren’t paying their hospital bills in cryptocurrencies,” he said at the time.