Ant Financial, the biggest payment service in China, is looking to tap into blockchain technology to transform its businesses. At TechCrunch Hangzhou, Zhang Hui, Director of Blockchain Department at Ant Financial, spoke about blockchain’s use cases in the financial sector and the biggest challenges implementing the technology.
“As a fintech company, we are very invested in future technologies,” Zhang said, the company’s strategy is focused on 5 BASIC technologies: Blockchain, AI, Security, IoT, and Computing. For blockchain technology, Ant Financial now focuses on the development of the consortium chain. Zhang said currently Ant Financial has no plans of issuing tokens. The company is developing its own blockchain-based platform and at the same time it is also exploring other use cases base on three principles:
- To create social value by solving real-world problems
- To overcome the scalability issue—to apply blockchain technology on a large scale
- To foster a blockchain ecosystem with partners in the industry
“In terms of the system’s scalability, currently challenge is not insurmountable,” Zhang said, however, the challenge is to build a high-performance blockchain-based platform to support high-frequency transactions, cross-border payments, etc. Security and privacy protection is another big challenge—how to keep the data and information safe when the high-level block is shared across businesses and financial institutions.Ant Financial recently launched a blockchain based remittance service between Hong Kong and the Philippines, which allows users to make cross-border payments within seconds at a lower cost. Looking forward, Zhang hopes that blockchain will create new business models for the company and not just provide value-added services. Zhang also hopes to expand their blockchain-based cross-border payment services globally and explore more B2C use cases.