During the launch of a blockchain-based money transfer service between Hong Kong and the Philippines, the Alibaba billionaire founder, Jack Ma noted that Ant Financial Services which happens to be Alibaba`s Group affiliate, is working towards cutting down money remittance cost to the barest minimum employing blockchain technology.
CCN has reported that this money transfer service will be operated by AlipayHK, a Honk Kong joint venture of Ant Financial, CK Hutchison Holdings, and GCash, a service of the Filipino telecommunication services company, Globe Telecom Inc. The current arrangement is that Standard Chartered will be the settlement bank for this remittance service.
Ma has noted that it has been his long-held dream to engage in an initiative that will eventually ensure that the cost of remittances experience a sharp decline. According to South China Morning Post, Ma stated: “This comes from a promise I made a long time ago when Alipay was just launched. I have friends who are Filipino and they asked me when they could use Alipay to send money home because it was too expensive through banks, which charge too much.”
Ant Financial Services has asserted that the development of a money remittance service that is based on blockchain technology is novel; it is the pioneering of a money remittance solution. Test trial of the service during the launch revealed that remittances could be made in less than three seconds. This Alipay remittance service will allow for competitive exchange rates, lower transfer costs and remittances in real time.
The Philippines is reputed to be the third largest remittance market in the world. In 2017, it recorded inflows of approximately US$33 billion. According to Hong Kong`s Census and Statistics Department, Filipinos represent one of the largest foreign communities in Hong Kong. It is estimated that in 2016 alone, an estimated US$561 million was remitted by Filipinos.
Ma not enthused about bitcoin
Bloomberg reported that Ma told journalists present at the launch that “blockchain technology could change our world more than people imagine. Bitcoin however could be a bubble.” This is not the first instance Ma has been heard express ‘harsh’ views about bitcoin.
In 2017, he reportedly expressed his lack of understanding of bitcoin but stopped short of referring to the flagship cryptocurrency as a bubble. However, only last month, he is said to have called bitcoin a bubble during the World Smart Conference which was hosted in Tianjin, China.
Alibaba is presently numbered among the biggest holders of blockchain patents with some of its blockchain-related intellectual properties focusing on ensuring food safety and traceability in the supply chain as well as healthcare improvements.
Alibaba is also expected to invest heavily in blockchain solutions. Ant Financial Services disclosed earlier this month that following a Series C funding round, some of the $14 billion raised will be invested in blockchain development. The money transfer service is one of the first instances blockchain technology is being used in traditional finance by Ant Financial Services.
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Image from Benzinga