$150 Billion-Valued Ant Financial Makes a Big Bet on Blockchain Technology
Jack Ma-led Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s fintech conglomerate Ant Financial considers blockchain technology as one of the five key technologies that will dominate every industry in the long-term. In terms of immutability and decentralization, blockchain technology in its current form is impeccable. It is able to process sensitive data and personal information in a peer-to-peer manner without the involvement of intermediaries. Neverthless, scalability is a major issue of blockchain technology that needs to be addressed to bring in conglomerates and industry leaders into the blockchain sector.
In the long run, the team at Ant Financial believes that, the company will implement blockchain technology onto its core businesses and platforms, as Alibaba founder and chairman Jack Ma suggested in 2017. But, in order for the technology to have significant impact on existing financial infrastructures, its capacity will need to be improved exponentially to handle tens of thousands of transactions per second. Again, the company’s vision is create new business models for the company and not just provide value-added services via blockchain.
Ant Financial’s core platform Alipay is widely utilized as an alternative payment method to cash. By mainstream adoption, Alipay is ahead of Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and Apple Pay in most Asian countries including Japan, China, Thailand, and Taiwan. Due to this rapid growth, Ant Financial was able to raise a staggering $10 billion from a group of global and local investors, valuing the company at $150 billion. One of the investors in Ant Financial is Khazanah Nasional, a sovereign wealth fund of the Government of Malaysia, which holds commercial assets of the government.