Ant Financial, the payment affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has launched a blockchain-based cross-border settlement service for consumers.
According to a local news report, Ant Financial announced the blockchain remittance service at a press conference in Hong Kong on Monday, saying it will initially be rolled out for consumers sending funds between Hong Kong and the Philippines.
By integrating its AlipayHK service with GCash – a Philippines-based mobile payment service – using blockchain tech, Ant Financial says the service will save users from having to go to intermediaries and that it will settle their transactions within "seconds."
The banking partner for the new service is Standard Chartered – an institution that is already participating in a blockchain-based cross-border payments pilot alongside Thai banks.
According to the Hong Kong government's latest statistics, by the end of 2016, there were around 200,000 Filipino domestic helpers in Hong Kong, who account for three percent of the city's population, and many of whom will use remittance services to send cash home to family.
Ant Financial added that it plans to add partnerships with mobile networks to build corridors into other regions in the future.
The news of the new remittance service comes just weeks after Ant Financial announced that it raised $14 billion in a Series C round funding, part of which will be devoted to blockchain technology development.
Alipay image via Shutterstock