British bank Standard Chartered has teamed up with mobile financial service firm bKash and Malaysian digital remittance provider Valyou to launch the first blockchain-based cross-border remittance service in Bangladesh – choosing Chinese giant Ant Group as its tech partner.
The bank has previously partnered with Ripple on a number of blockchain projects worldwide. But this time it has turned to Ant Group, the blockchain arm of tech giant Alibaba.
Standard Chartered is part of the RippleNet Committee, an advisory team set up in 2015 to develop rules and standards for the global payments network. Also, the bank claimed it made a major strategic investment in Ripple in late 2016.
The UK bank has also cherry-picked talent from the Ripple talent pool. It said that it had hired Kahina van Dyke, a former Senior Vice President at Ripple, to become its Global Head for Digital Channels and Client Data Analytics, in February this year.
Also, as reported in August, another member of the RippleNet Committee, major Spanish bank Santander is still hesitant in its approach to the Ripple-affiliated XRP token as it’s not actively traded in enough markets yet to fully support their needs.
Meanwhile, Standard Chartered claimed, in an official release, that “Ant Group’s applied blockchain technology helps streamline the remittance process, radically improving the speed of delivery, improving information security and enhancing transparency of the process.”
It added that the new deal would allow it to provide a “seamless remittance sending experience to Bangladeshi who can now send money from their digital wallets in Malaysia to a bKash account in Bangladesh through Standard Chartered Bank.”
The bank also said that “wage earner remittance by Bangladeshi nationals working abroad is one of the key pillars to the Bangladesh economy and a major contributor to the nation’s foreign currency reserve.”
And it added that “Malaysia is an important part of this remittance ecosystem,” claiming that its new service would let “the Bangladeshi diaspora in Malaysia send wage remittances using Valyou to Bangladesh-based recipients who use bKash.
The bank claims the service is in the final stages of commercial testing.
Per the New Straits Times, Malaysian Home Office figures released in 2017 showed that over 221,000 Bangladeshis were working in the country, more than any other group except for Nepali workers.
bKash operates a chain of around 240,000 agents located across Bangladesh where recipients can cash out the money sent from digital wallets in Malaysia.
Standard Chartered is the largest international bank in Bangladesh, and the blockchain project represents another technological first for the firm in the nation. Standard Chartered said it was also the first bank to launch ATMs and credit cards on the Bangladeshi market.
Ripple declined to comment for the article. Our has also contacted Standard Chartered for comment.
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