Western Union confirms it’s testing transactions using Ripple technology

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Global payments company Western Union is testing transactions using technology from cryptocurrency platform Ripple, its CFO Raj Agrawal said.

It follows speculation in early January that Western Union planned to start using Ripple to facilitate money transfers.

Agrawal told Bloomberg News in an interview that efforts were in a “testing phase” and there was nothing so far in the process that would be a “big unlock”.

Ripple maintains the blockchain for the XRP cryptocurrency, which made headlines at the start of 2018 when prices skyrocketed to almost $US3 per token — before an equally sharp decline.

It’s currently trading around $US1.

The value of XRP tokens was little-changed in the wake of this morning’s announcement, with prices slightly lower on the day — in line with the moves in other major cryptocurrencies.

Ripple has built up a large network of global banks that are trialing its platform.

Last week, it signed a deal with foreign exchange giant UAE Exchange to help facilitate cross-border transactions, although the deal is with the Ripple company itself and the UAE Exchange won’t use XRP tokens.

The company also announced in January that it had added two other payments companies to its roster of clients.

However, this morning’s announcement appears to be the first confirmation that Western Union — the world’s best known money transfer company — is also engaged with Ripple technology.

The announcement came as Western Union reported its full-year 2017 earnings, with a 5% increase in revenue to $US1.4 billion.

Western Union shares closed today at $US19.75, down 0.10%.

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