Western Union, one of the world’s leading payment service providers, has been in talks with Ripple over some time. Last weekend, a prominent crypto analyst mentioned on Twitter that, WU doesn’t need to integrate Ripple when they are using Earthport. And, his claim seems to hold substantial weight.
Before we move any further with the story, it’s worth noting that Western Union has been doing a test with Ripple and a couple of months back WU CEO, Hikmet Ersek said that they are still working with Ripple and learning from it.
Ripple has influenced a lot of financial institutions with its revolutionizing technology. Moneygram’s adoption has added significant value to the American Fintech firm. With several top banks using Ripple’s services, Western Union has always been interested in integrating Ripple, and it tested Ripple’s product (xRapid).
Officials from the blockchain firm mentioned regarding a potential collaboration with the money transfer giant, it said:
“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.”
The world thought that Western Union is going to integrate Ripple, but things changed when WU CEO in the recent Brainstorm Finance 2019 conference changed his tone and said that they are providing the service even cheaper than Ripple (almost five times low). Ersek made sense, and he was logical. However, he didn’t neglect that they have stopped working with Ripple as he added:
“I’m open, any cost savings, any innovation. I’m there. We can sign a deal tomorrow.”
Despite all these uncertain circumstances, the thing to notice is that Western Union is using Earthport, a Fintech firm being regulated under the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Earthport is currently providing cross-border services across 88 countries.
— Eric XRP Vail-Naylor 🇫🇷🇨🇦🇺🇸 (@naylor_vail) September 14, 2019
A brief look into Earthport makes things very interesting. Back in 2015, it partnered with Ripple, and in 2016, the fintech firm announced its Distributed Ledger Hub. It then made the first cross-border payment transaction through the Santander bank UK (again a Ripple partner), which made it the first DLT service to be provided to a UK bank for the cross-border transaction.
Now Western Union is using Earthport, which indirectly leads it to Ripple, and makes a connection between them substantially. However, who knows in the coming time Western Union may settle down with Ripple directly, and end up in a potential partnership just like Moneygram.
If Western Union goes on to announce a collaboration with Ripple in the future, it would be a massive breakthrough for the blockchain firm. Having the two biggest money transfer giants in the pocket could lead it to the pathway of new heights in the remittance world.
In case Western Union announces to stay away from Ripple, it would not have a massive impact on the Fintech firm, as it is still popular among banking world and almost all top banks and financial institutions are using its products in some manner.
Moreover, as the blockchain technology grows and makes waves into the masses, Ripple will more likely bring innovations in the industry. And that is where it has the edge over all the firms providing cross-border services. In the end, blockchain technology is the one that will make a difference.
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