Ant Financial, an affiliated company of the Chinese Alibaba Group, is reportedly running the first international blockchain-powered payment service in Pakistan. This is a major milestone in the Asian nation’s journey to enable greater financial inclusion.
Ant Financial is notably the world’s highest-valued Fintech firm, and it’s also the most valuable unicorn (having a market cap of at least $1 billion). At present, Ant Financial’s market capitalization stands at over $150 billion
On February 11, the Telenor Microfinance Bank of Pakistan revealed the new DLT-based cross-border payments service, which is available via Easypaisa, a leading mobile-based digital wallet.
The Easypaisa online wallet app lets Pakistani citizens, working in Malaysia, send money back home instantly and securely, via Telenor’s Malaysia-headquartered payment platform Valyou.
Tariq Bajwa, former governor of the State bank of Pakistan (the nation’s central bank), remarked:
“This includes Pakistan among the few countries in the world that have introduced international payments using block-chain technology.”
As mentioned in a joint statement from Ant Financial and Telenor, the cross-border payments platform will aim to enhance the speed and overall efficiency of digital payments. It will also enable secure and instant digital transactions, which is now a key requirement in a country with the world’s fourth fastest-growing freelance market.
Eric Jing, chairman at Ant Financial, noted:
“The new payment service is one of the examples of how evolving technologies can help nations meet their digital and financial inclusion goals.”
Currently, Pakistan receives around $1 billion in remittance payments from Pakistanis working in Malaysia.
The nation’s government recently announced its five-year National Financial Inclusion Strategy, which aims to create 3 million new jobs while boosting total exports by $5.5 billion by improving small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs) access to capital needed for growth and development.