Remittance giant Western Union plans to venture into crypto

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Alex Dovbnya

Remittance giant Western Union filed crypto-related trademark applications after several failed attempts to form major crypto partnerships

Denver, Colorado-based remittance giant Western Union has filed several crypto-related trademark applications with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, according to trademark attorney Mike Kondoudis.

The company’s trademark applications suggest that it may intend to launch a virtual currency exchange while managing and maintaining digital currency wallets.

On top of that, Western Union could issue its own cryptocurrency token to compete with crypto-native businesses.

Its trademark applications also cover financial brokerage services in the form of management and administration of cryptocurrencies and related financial instruments.

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Whether Western Union will make a foray into crypto remains to be seen, but its latest filings should come as no surprise. In 2014, former Western Union CEO Hikmet Ersek said he would be open to bitcoin if it were to be fully regulated as a currency. In 2015, his company was exploring a partnership with Ripple Labs, but that didn’t materialize.

Western Union began applying for patents for cryptocurrency transaction analysis in March 2017. During the same year, it also teased an integration with Coinbase, which didn’t work out.

In April 2019, the money transfer giant partnered with blockchain startup Coins.ph to make it easier for residents of the Philippines to receive remittances.

In June 2020, U.Today reported that Western Union intended to buy former Ripple partner MoneyGram, but the partnership did not happen.

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