Jack Ma’s Ant Financial, the financial services group of Alibaba, has successfully tested a custom blockchain remittance service that can transfer money within seconds. Ant Financial is the parent company of AliPay, which overtook PayPal as the world’s largest payment service in 2013. Ant Financial used AliPayHK to transfer money between Hong Kong and the Philippines to the Filipino payment app called GCash. The transaction was completed within 3 seconds. It is the first cross border remittance service in a blockchain based payment app.
The adoption of blockchain for cross border remittances by a giant like AliPay moves it to the mainstream. Likewise, the Phillippines’ banking sector has adopted blockchain solutions for remittances by partnering with IBM. They launched a pilot together last week for remittances to Japan. Jack Ma has said that this application goes far beyond remittances. 1.7 billion people on the planet do not have bank accounts, yet they do have cell phones and they can access all sorts of financial services without having to open bank accounts.
Jack Ma has been critical of Bitcoin however, citing it as a bubble that will burst. He believes that blockchain has a future in providing financial security for billions of people.