The world’s leading global remittance provider, Western Union has signaled its intention through a video that it’s evaluating the use of cryptocurrencies and is “ready” to add them to its platform when necessary.
President Odilon Almeida doesn’t think the industry has made it yet. Almeida explains that if there is any firm that is well placed to make the most out of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, then it would have to be Western Union due to the business actively moving payments across different countries and have “deep knowledge” of its nature.
“Cryptocurrency might become one more option for a way for assets to be exchanged between people and countries. If that happens we would be ready to launch,” he said.
Western Union’s has the unique ability to operate as an “on-ramp and off-ramp for global money payments,” due to its access to “billions of bank accounts and over half a million retail-agent locations.” This position makes it a tether between the cash and the digital world, which cryptocurrencies occupy.
Almeida explains that cryptocurrencies have so far failed to achieve mass adoption because they have yet to master three things: governance, compliance, and volatility. However, in his opinion, WU is already better equipped to solve for such variables because it “devotes substantial resources to all of those three challenges.”
Almeida then says WU is uniquely ready for digital currencies because they have "already done it decades ago." He says whenever you send money with WU, they use a unique code that is actually worth the value of your money, and this is essentially the same. He does not address the fact that their service in no way compares to the speed, low cost, and immutability of a blockchain.
He ends on reiterating that WU is ready because they already use 130 different global currencies and that crypto is "just another currency."