While countries around the globe are revisiting their views and interest in cryptocurrency at a national level, given the recent uncertainty in their charts, on the other hand, they are embracing its underlying technology with open arms.
India has been making quite a few headlines regarding blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. Well, now another country from the Asian region is jumping in on the blockchain action and that is India’s neighboring country, Pakistan. In a press release, published on the 8th of January, it was revealed that the Pakistan- based subsidiary of the global telecommunication giant, Telenor launched a cross-border remittance service, powered by the blockchain technology.
According to the announcement, this international blockchain remittance services is a joint venture between three entities, a Pakistan-based Telenor Microfinance Bank (TMB), Valyou, which is a Malaysian fintech subsidiary of Telenor and lastly, Telenor’s Easypaisa. Powering this cross the border service will be the blockchain based Alipay, developed by Ant Financial’s online payment platform.
As per the report, the aim to launch this new service is to strengthen the economic ties between Malaysia and Pakistan. Apparently, it is geared to significantly increase the speed as well as the efficiency of remittances between the two countries. The announcement of this project comes after the rekindling of ties between the two, following the election of Pakistan’s new Prime Minister, Imran Khan.
The Senior Vice President of Telenor Financial Services further revealed that presently Pakistan receives about $1 billion in home remittances from Malaysia. 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.
That is a big sum of money and surely costs a lot when it comes to monetary transfer under the traditional system. But the remittance service will allow for continuous, real-time money transfers without the hassle of intermediary costs and tracking customers’ funds.
The new remittance service is one of the examples of how emerging technologies can help countries meet their digital and financial inclusion goals
Eric Jing, chairman and CEO of Ant Financial, while commenting on the initiative.
Other Countries & Cross Border Remittances
Pakistan obviously isn’t the only country implementing the blockchain-based cross the border remittance service. Only recently, the National Bank of Kuwait became the first financial institution in country that launched a cross-border remittance product based on Ripple’s blockchain technology.
Even Japan struck a partnership with a pan-African digital payment platform BTC Africa, also known as BitPesa, to digitize the global remittance services. The list of the countries involved in this project is likely to grow as the blockchain technology evolves.