Western Union is looking to expand into the virtual digital assets sector in the coming days. The money transfer service provider has filed for a bunch of trademarks in the US, seeking approvals to provide exchange and transfer services for virtual currencies. Western Union is an established facilitator of cross-border remittance services. In recent times, however, complaints about the platform charging really hefty fees for its services had dragged the platform under bad light.
Western Union has shared three trademark applications, attorney Mike Kondoudis shared on Twitter.
The platform is also planning to offer crypto trading services whenever it revamps.
Back in October last year, Lord Fusitu, a parliamentarian in the Polynesian country of Tonga had criticised Western Union as a provider of traditional remittance transfers.
At the time, he had said that Western Union chugs down 30 percent of the remittances that must reach Tonga from its diaspora working in foreign countries.
“Our GDP in 2020 was $510 million (roughly Rs. 3828.8 crores), so 30 percent of that or $60 million (roughly Rs. 450 crores) is fees alone to Western Union,” the parliamentarian had said, while pushing for legalising cryptocurrencies.
Since cryptocurrencies are largely unregulated and provide instant cross-border money transfers, several remittance-depended nations have backed their usage over conventional money transfers like Western Union.
El Salvador, a central American country that relies its economy from its diaspora living abroad, became the first nation in the world to legalise Bitcoin as a legal tender last September.
Owing to the intrigue around the crypto sector, Western Union’s indulgence in the crypto sector does not seem surprising.
This is not the first time, however, that Western Union has shown an inclination towards the crypto sector.
In 2015, Western Union teamed-up with Ripple to settle payments of remittances. The partnership stayed in its test phase and three years later Western Union announced that it had decided not to expand as a crypto transfer provider.
Despite the delay in providing crypto services, Western Union continued to be in terms with crypto wallet service providers. It partnered Coins.ph blockchain platform, for instance, to boost its services in the Philippines.