Western Union is taking on crypto; thousands of other retailers have already done it

December 19, 2018
Darya Karatkevich

In a somewhat anticipated official video statement, President of Western Union Global Money Transfer, Odilon Almeida, has stated they’re fully equipped to add cryptocurrency to the 130 currencies they already serve, and are looking into the blockchain adoption possibilities to get ahead of the game.

western union

The video opens with a statement:

“Western Union is uniquely positioned to connect the cash and digital worlds.”

This is followed by a statement that Western Union is currently considering adding cryptocurrency transfers to their services.

In his speech, Almeida has addressed multiple use cases of blockchain as a technology, along with its ability to solve multiple complex tasks – from real estate to legal framework to financial services:

“It’s all about exchanging information in a very efficient way.”

However, he also addressed that in his view, before cryptocurrencies become widely adopted on a global scale, there are three matters that have to be addressed by the industry members: volatility, governance and compliance.

Additionally, Almeida underlined that once that happens, they have no issue to add cryptocurrencies to their currency ledger, pointing that they actually did that “decades ago.” For those of you who might be surprised by this statement, Almeida was actually referring to a technology that Western Union uses for sending and receiving payments, when each “cash” transaction is digitalized and being assigned with a number, which has an exact monetary value and can be “cashed” at any time.

What’s interesting is that Western Union might not actually stay entirely ahead of the game. As it often happens, smaller businesses are more nimble and therefore can adapt to a changing landscape faster. Across the U.S. and globally, independent currency exchanges, grocery stores and other retailers have already quietly rolled out bitcoin sales earlier this year. Among the places where you can buy bitcoin for cash in the U.S., which we personally have come across recently, is the large cryptocurrency exchange in Chicago, IL and the Shell gas station and convenience store near Los Angeles, CA. Both businesses have posted signs announcing bitcoin sales on the windows, and have announced the service on their website. Click here to check the full list of locations in your country.

Post written by Darya Karatkevich
Darya is a blockchain market observer with 5+ years of experience as an author and editor for major tech blogging platforms. Her fortes are blockchain technologies and solutions, cryptocurrencies and crypto-related regulations.

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