US-based financial services firm Western Union has hinted that it is ready to accept cryptocurrencies. In an interview with Reuters Plus, Western Union’s President Odilon Almeida said that the company has been testing and analyzing the use of cryptocurrency and exploring how they can improve their services using blockchain.
The financial firm is interested in accepting cryptocurrencies as an option for users to exchange the same for fiat currencies. However, Mr Almeida said that the move would only be executed if it connects with the global audience. He talked about some of the limitations of cryptocurrencies and why the technology has not achieved mainstream adoption.
He listed volatility, lack of governance and improper compliances as the top three blocks on the road of growth for cryptocurrencies. However, Stablecoins are working towards solving the problem of volatility in crypto markets.
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.”
In June 2018, Western Union has run a blockchain trial using Ripple where company’s CEO Hikmet Ersek argued that the firm had not seen any cost-saving metrics in the trial and hence would not be interested in integrating Rippe into the system for cross-border payments as of then.
“We are always criticized that Western Union is not cost-efficient, blah blah blah, but we did not see that part of the efficiency yet during our tests. The practical matter is it’s still too expensive,” Ersek told Fortune, in an interview.
Asheesh Birla, Ripple’s senior vice president of product said it was impossible for Western Union to witness the benefits after making just ten transactions using the technology. If the company were to move volume at scale, then maybe it would see something, but with 10, it’s not surprising that they do not see any cost saving, explained Birla.