Western Union Still Testing XRP (Four Years Later)

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Ripple Labs has taken a bit of a bashing since Facebook’s Libra token arrived on the scene last week. Ripple and Moneygram announced a “strategic partnership” (the kind that requires one party to pay $50 million to the other) just hours before the Libra whitepaper dropped and stole all the headlines. Many predicted that Libra’s arrival could be another nail in the coffin of the XRP token, which also faces competition from the likes of JPMorgan’s proprietary cryptocurrency, but Ripple received a welcome boost from money transfer giant Western Union who announced that they were “still doing” a test using XRP technology for fast, cheap cross-border transactions.

XRP Tests Continue, But Optimism Fades

Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek told a Fortune-hosted round table that the testing that began way back in 2015 was still continuing, although the potential outcomes of the trial sounded less positive for Ripple:

We did a test with Ripple and we are still doing it. It’s still ongoing. We are looking at it and we are learning from Ripple…We are in a different position than MoneyGram. We have our own settlement system which is extremely cost-efficient.

To add further salt into the wounds, the most recent test Western Union conducted revealed that their proprietary settlement system is five times less expensive than using digital currency, suggesting that they won’t be in a rush to formally implement XRP. This was all but confirmed by Western Union President Odilon Almeida who said that Western Union might add digital currencies “one day” and that if they did it would be “just one more currency”. How XRP fans will take to their beloved token being called ‘just one more currency’ remains to be seen.

Garlinghouse Galvanizes the Troops

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse circled the wagons in the wake of the Libra announcement, saying that the introduction of Facebook’s token would act as a “call to action” and added that “this is going to be a record week for Ripple” although he didn’t specify in what sense.

Of course no one wants to see cryptocurrencies squabbling (ok, we love it), but it can’t be denied that the fireworks that might be coming our way as Libra takes on XRP could be even more spectacular than 4th July.