Jack Ma, the chairman of Alibaba, recently referred to Bitcoin as a bubble. However, he doesn’t think there is an issue with the blockchain technology.
Speaking at the official launch of Ant Financial AliPayHK wallet, which has been described as the first wallet of that kind globally, Ma who has the controlling shares of Ant Financial stated that Bitcoin could be a bubble but the blockchain technology wasn’t one. He added that the blockchain technology possessed the ability to change the world in ways least imagined. But he advised investors to stay away from Bitcoin due to its volatility.
The recently launched AliPayHK wallet is a payment service built around blockchain technology. It allows several Filipinos who are working in Hong Kong to transfer money to the Philippines in a manner which is secure as well as fast. The service is reportedly in a trial period during which transaction fees will not be charged.
According to Jennifer Tan, CEO of Hong Kong’s Alipay Payment Services, the company is excited about the introduction of the remittance service. Through this service the lengthy process characterizing the traditional remittance method. It involved visiting a remittance booth and staying on a queue for hours, and other technicalities would be done away with. She expressly stated that the remittance through Alipay would be secured and carried out over a mobile phone in a matter of seconds.
Sources reported that this remittance service based on blockchain technology is being launched alongside GCash which is Ant Financial’s partnership with the Philippines’ Global Telecom. The Alipay and the Gcash would be provided as mobile apps features.
At the moment, AliPay can only be used for remittance between Hong Kong and the Philippines which was recorded to be the world’s third-largest remittance market with the inflows of about USD$33 billion last year. Also as reported by World Bank, the Hong-Kong-Philippines remittances represented about 10.2% of the Philippines’ GDP in 2016.
Media outlets have also reported that Standard Chartered will function as the settlement bank for the blockchain transactions carried out on AlipayHK and GCash. At the official launch of the GCash and AliPay, a Hong-Kong based Filipino worker reportedly demonstrated how she was able to transfer funds to the Philippines in less than five seconds.
The financial secretary of Hong Kong, Paul Chan Mo Po expressed that Hong Kong remained Asia’s international financial hub and it was only just right that the Alipay project began in Hong Kong. He also stated that Hong Kong possessed a strong financial regulatory regime. Which was of international standards and its regulators were putting in efforts to make the Hong Kong industry suitable as the starting point for fintech solutions.
While Hong Kong’s traditional institutions and remittance centers charge almost HKD$18 and often impose additional commission or currency conversion rates on each transfer, Ma stated that the vision of Alipay was to become a remittance service which made it possible for people to remit a cent at no extra cost.
Commenting on Ant Financial’s reason for setting up the Alipay remittance service, Ma stated that they initially had plans to buy over MoneyGram and create changes to solve the issues related to remittances, but he noted that the deal did not succeed. The failure of the deal provided the momentum to develop a service built around a developed technology and with services better than those offered by MoneyGram.
Jack Ma Pareto rule
While speaking on the utility of the remittance service, Ma stated that a traditional financial institution offered its services to 20% of the population and made profits totalling about 80%, but he was of the opinion that the modern financial institutions should be able to offer their services to 80% of the population and accrue 20% as profits.
Ant Financial reportedly enjoys the support of top global financial and investment firms and has tried out different blockchain technology over the years, but this remittance service has been labeled as its first significant success.
Media outlets reported that Tencent launched a similar remittance app through its WeChat app. The CEO of EMQ, Max Liu, the tech start-up that helped Tencent in the development of the service stated that the transfer could be performed on the app in ten minutes.