Speaking on Wednesday with Bloomberg’s ‘Street Smart’ program hosted by Trish Regan, Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek made some interesting comments on the topic of bitcoin.
Particularly, Ersek suggested that his company, a leader in money remittences, could look to adopt bitcoin if customers demand it — with a catch. It must first be regulated.
“But on the bitcoin, you know we settle and pay out in 121 currencies […], once bitcoin should be regulated, by the regulator which should be a proper currency, why not we should also use bitcoin?” he responded when asked by Regan for comment on the digital currency and how it relates to their present model.
“It’s not regulated as a currency,” he added, “…that’s the issue with bitcoin.”
That’s not to say that things can’t change — but there will need to be some laws on the books.
“We are a very regulated industry,” Ersek said. “If bitcoin is regulated and the customer wants that, I mean why not?”
Missing an opportunity
Could Western Union’s waiting for widespread regulation of bitcoin spell the end to the company? Already bitcoin has proven that money can be moved around the world in mere minutes for very little (we’re talking cents here), so Western Union is making it more about how the government would react toward them over how they could help customers.
But even then, some argue that Western Union adopting bitcoin would just give the company a opportunity to charge hefty fees as they do now.
So we ask you, is Western Union entering the bitcoin space a good or bad thing?