Article By Ana Alexandre
The Pakistan-based subsidiary of global telecommunications giant Telenor has launched a blockchain-powered cross-border remittance service, according to a press release published Jan. 8.
Per the announcement, the Pakistan-based Telenor Microfinance Bank (TMB), Valyou — a Malaysian fintech subsidiary of Telenor — and Telenor’s Easypaisa have jointly launched a blockchain-based international remittance service in Pakistan. The service is reportedly powered by blockchain technology developed by Ant Financial’s online payment platform, Alipay.
The new service is reportedly geared to significantly increase the speed and efficiency of remittances between Malaysia and Pakistan. Pakistan currently receives about $1 billion in home remittances from Malaysia, according to the Senior Vice President of Telenor Financial Services. The remittance service will purportedly allow nonstop, real-time money transfers, while eliminating intermediary costs and tracking customers’ funds.
Commenting on the initiative, Eric Jing, chairman and CEO of Ant Financial, said that “the new remittance service is one of the examples of how emerging technologies can help countries meet their digital and financial inclusion goals.”
According to Tariq Bajwa, Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, “[h]ome 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.”
Other countries have also implemented blockchain-based cross-border remittance products. Recently, the National Bank of Kuwait became the first financial institution in Kuwait that launched a cross-border remittance product based on Ripple’s blockchain technology.
In November, Japanese insurance company Sompo partnered with pan-African digital payment platform BTC Africa, also known as BitPesa, in a bid for the “digitalization of global remittance services.” Sompo outlined that it “will extend [its] presence in the international remittance service market and consider the application of this technology to the insurance field.”