At the Money20/20 conference in Copenhagen, Western Union announced the launch of the WU EDGE platform, designed to provide increased transaction channels and analytics opportunities for Western Union small and middle-sized business clients. The Enterprise Digital Global Exchange (EDGE) is the new Western Union business-to-business digital platform which will make buying and selling overseas much more seamless and cheap.
Western Union Borrows From the Blockchain
Given Western Union’s scale, the platform aims help business owners in the developing and developed worlds alike. Speaking to the potential impact of the platform, Kerry Agiasotis, President of Western Union Business Solutions, commented, ““WU EDGE technology will enable hundreds of thousands of businesses across the world to easily engage in global trade, potentially enabling them to grow, invest and deliver the jobs of the future. We view ourselves as business partners to our SME customers and we are proud to offer this platform to them.”
While not blockchain-based, the WU Edge seems to be applying lessons from distributed ledger technology. Through providing a centralized data collection space with global integration and reach, small and medium sized businesses will now be able to view their accounting data in a single location, thereby forgoing barriers traditionally present in integrating foreign or disparate data systems. Initial partners can additionally invite existing or new partners to trade globally and interact with them in real-time on WU Edge, which should help expand it’s use and lead to growth in international business offerings and trade.
Western Union’s announcement gives hope that the outdated and silo-based global financial architecture is evolving. Hundreds of thousands of businesses have less than fully realized business potential due to local technological and regulatory standards, disparate currencies, time lags, and burdensome fees. The traditional players can significantly help overcome these problems and bridge previously disconnected business avenues. WU Edge, for example, will operate in over 130 currencies in and 200 countries and territories. The platform also promises to provide “near real-time” service for 22 currencies, becoming real-time for 49 currencies within a few months from launch.
WU Edge will go-live on April 11th in six initial markets: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, United Kingdom and United States. The platform will be available in other select markets in 2016.
What do you think about Western Union’s announcement? Can traditional players continue to have an impact on the quickly evolving payments space? How can Western Union apply the Blockchain’s lessons even further? Share your thoughts below!
Images courtesy of Western Union