It looks like international payment specialist Western Union has not yet thrown in the towel on the idea of using Ripple (XRP) and its technology. In fact, in a recent interview, Western Union CEO, Hikmet Ersek, confirmed that the money transfer company is still exploring the use of Ripple and its blockchain technology.
But before we delve in Ersek’s comments, especially those touching on Ripple Technology, we need a brief review of the history of the relationship between the California FinTech firm, Ripple, and the traditional money transfer payment provider, Western Union. Western Union and Brad Garlinghouse-led blockchain firm have significant similarities as they both specialize in providing tech solutions for money transfer across borders.
On 14th February 2018, crypto media outlets reported that during an earnings call, the Chief Executive of Western Union, Ersek, told reports that the money transfer company was looking into and experimenting with Ripple for capital optimization and settling payments.
— TplusZero (@TplusZero) February 14, 2018
Later in the day, the news of Western Union interest in Ripple was confirmed by a tweet that was done by Ripple indicating Western Union’s interest in a pilot study that entails Ripple’s xRapid product. The xRapid product uses Ripple’s default currency, XRP, as a bridge currency in cross-border, cross-currency payments.
Also, a senior Spokesperson of the blockchain firm told reporters at the time:
“We continue to test different products with Western Union. We are excited about this new partnership and our participation in a pilot implementation of xRapid. As many know by now, the xRapid product uses XRP in settlement flows.”
However, just a few months after the announcement, Western Union CEO shocked many cryptocurrencies and Ripple investors after he made shocking revelations to media outlets in an interview. Ersek stated that although he did not want to spoil the Western Union xRapid trials, the early result had indicated the failure of the tests to convince him that Ripple’s payment solution was the way to go for Western Union.
Despite the negative deduction, it is worth noting that Ersek had cautioned that this pilot test was too small to serve as convincing evidence that xRapid was unsuitable for their business. Western Union had participated on a small test operation that was held along the US-Mexico payment corridor.
Indeed, Ripple’s Senior Vice President of Product, Asheesh Birla, confirmed that Western Union had only initiated ten payments using Ripple’s xRapid product up to the point of his reporting. Most of the several months and time were spent by the Global money transfer company getting ready for the experiment, and therefore, the actual testing was done in a matter of days or weeks.
Western Union’s Change of Tune
At the Brainstorm Finance 2019 conference, Western Union CEO, Hikmet Ersek, stated his turnaround thoughts concerning Ripple and his intention to incorporate it into their system after it found out that Ripple’s technology was 5-times faster than that of Western Union.
WU still testing Ripple, looking at Ripple and learning from Ripple.
— Leonidas Hadjiloizou (@LeoHadjiloizou) June 19, 2019
According to Ersek, Ripple’s technology could be good for the company that has a global reach and is in dire need to speed up its settlement operations.
Western Union is one of the most significant money transfer companies in the world, with a customer base of more than 200 million customers. Ripple’s blockchain platform that is designed for financial institutions and banks looks like a logical choice for the company over any other; the crypto community will be looking forward to seeing what comes out from Ersek’s latest comments.
MoneyGram’s Relationship with Ripple
At the time of writing, MoneyGram and blockchain tech company have agreed to capture the cross-border money transfer market. The partnership will see MoneyGram use Ripple’s XRP digital coin that could later drive up the market value of XRP.
MoneyGram’s stock prices have surged by over 160 percent on the breakout of the news, despite XRP prices remaining dormant and experiencing an initial decline following the release of the news.
In an attempt to water down the enormous news of Facebook’s entrant into the crypto market, Ripple revealed its 50 million USD investment in MoneyGram in a move that will use XRP in conducting international money transactions. At press time, Ripple’s XRP trades at $0.4255 after going down by 1.71% in the last 24 hours.
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