Finance giant Western Union ‘ready’ to adopt cryptocurrency

Western Union looking into Ripple for cross-border payments

Financial services company Western Union has revealed it’s evaluating the use of cryptocurrencies and is “ready” to add them to its platform when necessary.

In a blog post and video, the company’s Global Money Transfer President Odilon Almeida said Western Union’s deep knowledge about international money transfer makes it well positioned to benefit from the cryptocurrency movement.

“Western Union is ready today to adopt any kind of currency,” Mr Almeida said.

“We already have 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 would be ready to launch.”

western union cryptocurrency
Odilon Almeida, President Western Union Global Money Transfer

Observers have claimed the 167 year old company could be threatened by the emergence of currencies like Bitcoin, which can be transferred across borders for relatively low fees.

Western Union’s money transfer fees can be as high as $4.50 to send $50 and $9.50 to send up to $900.

However, in its new video, the presenter claims Western Union can actually benefit from cryptocurrency technology.

“Western Union is uniquely positioned to connect the cash and digital worlds,” the presenter said.

“With access to billions of bank accounts and over half a million retail agent locations, they are an on-ramp and off-ramp for global money movement.”

Mr Almeida also expressed his belief that blockchain technology will transform finance and business.

“Blockchain technology has many applications. It’s all about storing information and sharing information in a very efficient and effective way,” he said.

“This technology I believe has a lot of potential. You’re going to see more and more ways of using the technology platform.”

The application of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are continuing to evolve. Only this week, Micky reported on a Sydney-based start-up that’s created a way for Bitcoin and Ethereum to be used at any business or ATM in Australia. M

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