Ant Financial Services, Alibaba’s financial payments arm, has made public its plans to launch a blockchain-based Backend-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform. Making the announcement Jiang Guoefei, the company’s vice president, reiterated its strategy of opening its technologies for commercialization.
The Launch of Baas Platform
According to China Money Network, a local media outlet, Ant Financial made the big announcement in the eastern city of Hangzhou during ATEC (Ant Technology Exploration Conference). This conference brings together cutting-edge technologies from across the globe with the key focus being the development of digital finance solutions.
The platform is expected to be launched at the same time with the Ant blockchain partner program. The program is an enterprise-focused solution aimed at creating an enabling environment for SMEs in the blockchain space to innovate and develop applications.
Ant Financial, currently valued at about $150 billion, has been actively working on two main areas of the blockchain. The first is to enhance the technical aspect and the second to make it available for commercialization of blockchain-based applications. This is according to a statement made by Guoefei.
Cross-Border Remittance Trials
In June 2018, Ant Financial through AlipayHK, its mobile wallet solution for the Hong Kong market, partnered with GCash, a Philippine-based payment service to trial cross-border remittance via blockchain technology. Never has a similar service been trialed before in any part of the world.
Users of AlipayHK were able to use the service immediately to transfer money in a secure, fast and transparent way, to the Philippines. The designated settlement bank is Standard Chartered.
Jack Ma, the founder and executive chairman of the Alibaba Group, praised the new service saying that it will help reach out to the over 1.7 billion unbanked people in the world.
Blockchain-based Electronic Medical Bills and Prescriptions
In China’s Zhejiang province, Ant Financial issued patients with 600,000 blockchain medical e-bills over a period of two weeks. According to Yang Xueqing, the company’s blockchain expert, this initiative will prevent cases of multiple reimbursements.
The blockchain e-bill platform keeps a ledger of billing records that is tamper proof, irreversible, and trackable.
In another medical-related blockchain development, Ant Financial partnered with Huashan Hospital to trial blockchain-based electronic prescriptions. Through this initiative, patients can see their doctors online through the Alipay app-based Huashan Hospital mini program.
The health records for the patients will be housed in the blockchain medical prescription platform. The platform will link every process on the prescription path starting from drug prescription to dispensing of medicine to the delivery of the same to the patient. This breakthrough ensures uniqueness of prescription drugs and puts to an end the problem of repeat prescriptions.
Alibaba Signals Increased Involvement in Blockchain Development
On June 8, 2018, Ant Financial secured $14 billion in investor funding for the development of its blockchain technology. Alibaba which owns 33 percent of the company has been at the forefront in pushing for the rollout of the various blockchain application scenarios.
Currently, the e-commerce giant has filed over 90 blockchain-related patents thus topping the global list and outstripping technology giants such as IBM.
Featured image by The Blocks