Why Western Union decided against implementing cryptocurrency

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  • Western Union will not turn to cryptocurrency solutions
  • Blockchain technology under consideration if it serves the needs of customers
  • Company will continue to monitor cryptocurrency market

With numerous platforms for crypto money transfers such as Moneygram and Flywire available, as well big banks experimenting with Ripple payments, many have begun to wonder when Western Union might do the same. However, it has been revealed that Western Union has decided to say no to cryptocurrencies and will not be implementing this version of international money transfers any time soon.

Still, the company prefers to keep its options open and will be monitoring the cryptocurrency market.

Simon Millard, the Australian Western Union Director, revealed the following three reasons behind their decision not to take part:

1) Regulation

Millard explained that Western Union spends approximately AUD $200m annually on compliance demands. Given the fact that the company enables money transfers between 200 countries and has 550,000 agent locations, this should come as no surprise.

Cryptocurrencies are still mostly outside of the scope of regulation, and using them for international money transfers can bring legal complications. Furthermore, supporting 200 countries and all the possible combinations – with each country having its own regulations – is too problematic and complex for Western Union to manage, especially given that cryptocurrency regulations are a grey area.

2) Security

Millard said that security, trust and credibility are critical, and cryptocurrencies can perform poorly in all these departments. New cryptocurrency scams arise every day, and some argue that popular options such as Bitcoin are nothing more than a legitimised “Ponzi scheme”.

Cryptocurrency is still in its infancy. Western Union, on the other hand, has been around since 1871. It seems obvious why they would not want to put their reputation at risk.

3) Stability

As we have seen over the last three months, cryptocurrency markets are rather volatile and are prone to changes in currency value. Western Union would be wise to be patient and observe developments in the new trend to see how the market stabilises over time. 

Nigel Frith
Nigel Frith
Former Global General Manager
Nigel was the Global General Manager at FXcompared. Nigel has a background in marketing for businesses and consumers as well working in a variety of online financial services roles. Read more

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