Chinese payment services Ant Financial – a subsidiary of e-commerce giant Alibaba and operator of Alipay – is set to launch its enterprise-focused Ant Blockchain Open Alliance platform this month.
According to local media outlets on January 8th, Guofei Jiang, vice president of Ant Financial, announced the news at the company’s annual media meeting. He further revealed that the blockchain platform had been available in beta form since last November and will be launched soon as a fully operational chain.
Jiang claims the platform will be the first open alliance chain to share platform user rights that will help small and micro enterprises to develop as well as launch their own blockchain applications at a lower cost. He further added that the platform can support 1 billion daily transactions as well as achieve 100,000 cross-chain information processing capabilities per second.
According to the company, the Ant blockchain open alliance has helped resolve trust issues across 40 sectors, including cross-border remittances and trade finance.
The platform had been announced by Jiang in September 2018, stating at that time the project came to be to help improve the technology as well as expand the company’s in-house technologies to the wider commercial sector.
Ant Blockchain Open Alliance was then beta-launched in November 2019, with key words such as low-cost, low-threshold, trusted and multi-value networks. Once the beta testing had begun, Ant Finacial senior director of technology and business innovation Jieli Li carefully used the word “open” for the blockchain platform, saying that whilst the platform’s name does include the word ‘open’, not everyone would be able to run the network’s nodes.
“As for the selection of node operators, we are more cautious. […] Because to form a credible value network, not only do they need to be a consensus accounting node, but they also need to provide authoritative endorsements,” Jieli said at the time.
In the meantime, vice president Jiang believes blockchain to be the most valuable technology in the current era, explaining that the technology will change people’s productivity and life and mobile payments and will ultimately become the infrastructure of the digital economy.
Ant Financial has been steadily diversifying its blockchain investments over the years. In 2018, same month that the company had announced the Ant Blockchain Open Alliance platform, the company also launched its blockchain-as-a-service platform, having trialed its first-ever blockchain remittances in the summer of 2018, using its new blockchain-based electronic wallet cross border remittance service.
In 2019, Ant Financial expanded its involvement in global blockchain development by taking part in a $10 million Series A round for an Israeli blockchain privacy solutions firm that develops zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) technology.
In addition to that, the company has also joined hands with pharmaceutical giant Bayer Crop Science, to create a blockchain solution for the food and crop industry.