Since the announcement of a partnership between Western Union, the global money transfer service and Ripple, which saw Western Union pilot and test Ripple’s xRapid, rumours have been rife on the topic of XRP being used as a viable currency within Western Unions international money transfer service.
Of course, XRP would make a great asset to this, given that it can be sent, cross border at a very low cost, over a very short period of time. With Western Union being such a big financial name, it was only natural for these sorts of rumours to mature. Now it seems the CEO of Western Union, Hikmet Ersek has finally spoken out about cryptocurrencies and Western Unions approach to them.
According to Market Watch, Ersek has spoken out at the Economic Club of New York, stating that due to the fact Western Union customers have a clear preference for FIAT currencies, Western Union do not intend to integrate cryptocurrencies into their services any time soon. According to Market Watch, Ersek said:
“The consumers tell us what they want, people aren’t paying their hospital bills in cryptos. Nations are built on flags, constitutions, borders and currencies.”
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It seems that within this Ersek is a strong believer in traditional values and thus, traditional currencies. He doesn’t believe that people will give up their FIAT currencies and switch to cryptocurrencies if the offer presented itself because really, FIAT currencies are too embedded within national identity as a social norm. This is indeed a very interesting perspective. I don’t think its fully accurate, but it at least offers us some perspective into how Western Union are viewing the crypto-revolution. Clearly, they are more interested in the technology that can benefit them (within the blockchain) and not the actual currencies themselves.
For now, this does extinguish any rumours that focus on a Ripple XRP integration in Western Union, however in this instance, Ersek hasn’t written off cryptocurrencies altogether. In fact, if Western Unions customers start paying more of an interest in cryptocurrencies and the demand for it arises, maybe Western Union will consider cryptocurrency integration after all.
Overall, it is as if Western Union are simply going to focus on improving their money transfer service and to ensure that they continue providing for a FIAT-centric crowd, offering faster transaction speeds at cheaper rates, none of which will come close of course to what Western Union could achieve with a bit of crypto-integration.
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