In a first, Telenor Microfinance Bank, in partnership with Valyou of Malaysia, has introduced Pakistan’s first blockchain-based cross-border remittance service. The service has been developed by China-based blockchain company, Alipay, which is the the online payment platform operated by Ant Financial Services Group (“Ant Financial”).
As per the official press release, provided by Ant Financial, the aim of the service was to promote and encourage the use of formal channels for remittances, with all existing incentives offered by State Bank of Pakistan.
In an event, which was attended by State Bank of Pakistan Governor Tariq Bajwa, the partnership was announced. While the remittance service will be provided by Telenor’s Easypaisa, Valyou on the other hand, is a financial technology company that provides remittances to underbanked communities.
In a statement, Tariq Bajwa said, “This puts Pakistan on the map of very few countries in the world that have launched International Remittance using blockchain technology. At around USD 20 billion per year, international remittances are important from the perspective of overall macroeconomic stability and their positive spillover in improving lives of millions of families. Home remittances contributed to over 6% in GDP, equivalent to over 50% of our trade deficit, 85% of exports and over one-third of imports during FY 2017-18.”
He added that he expected the financial sector to take advantage of current favorable market environment by investing in innovative technologies, such as these.
Commenting on this partnership, Eric Jing, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Ant Financial said, “The new remittance service is one of the examples of how emerging technologies can help countries meet their digital and financial inclusion goals. We’re thrilled to be part of Pakistan’s financial inclusion efforts and we’re dedicated to exploring breakthroughs and applying them to benefit more people in more places. I would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to State Bank of Pakistan for all the great support to make this project possible. I congratulate both Easypaisa and Valyou on this major development that will facilitate the people in both countries, putting Pakistan on the map of fintech innovation and promoting financial inclusion.”
Despite crackdown on cryptocurrencies, Ant Financial has been doing very well. A few months ago, the company was awarded World Leading Internet Scientific and Technological Achievements Prize for the second time, after its distributed relationship database product OceanBase was recognized in 2015.