It is always quite interesting to see how financial service providers respond to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. CEOs of companies such as TransferWise readily dismiss Bitcoin whenever they can. Western Union, on the other hand, is experimenting with Coinbase integration. That is a rather shocking turn of events, considering Western Union and Bitcoin are competitors.
In a rather shocking turn of events, Western Union’s David Thompson addresses the Bitcoin situation. While Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies compete with global remittance solutions, they have not made a major impact just yet. That situation can change at any given moment, though. Thompson feels cryptocurrecy will not “wipe out” the remittance business as we know it. Not entirely surprising, although things are not black-and-white either.
Western Union Addresses The Bitcoin Elephant in the Room
With cash-based transactions on the rise across developing markets, Bitcoin will not make an impact soon. Regulators are also pushing back on the anonymity aspect of these currencies. Until that situation is resolved, Western Union will not face major competition anytime soon. However, the company is not blind either, and they are experimenting with digital currencies. More specifically, the company is trialing an integration with Coinbase.
As a result of this experiment, the Western Union option will become a part of Coinbase’s web app. This project has been in the works for quite some time. However, there is no official launch date yet. It is quite interesting to see a remittance giant agree to such a pilot program. This feature will not be used for digital currency transactions, but rather backend fiat transfers. Even so, it is a major development for Coinbase and cryptocurrency.
Western Union has kept a close eye on blockchain technology these past few years. Streamlining compliance and standardizing bank integrations are two potential use cases. Additionally, the technology can be of great value for real-time settlement moving forward. None of these pilots may ever come to market, though, but they are all quite interesting to keep an eye on. It is not the development people would have liked to see, but it is still great news.
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