Standard Chartered Picks Ant, not Ripple, for New Remittance Service

Source: Adobe / Igor Golovnev

The British bank Standard Chartered, together with the mobile financial service provider bKash and the Malaysian provider of digital transfers Valyou, launched the first blockchain-based cross-border transfer service in Bangladesh and selected the Chinese giant Ant Group as a technology partner.

The bank has previously worked with Ripple on a number of blockchain projects around the world. But this time it turned to Ant Group, the blockchain arm of tech giant Alibaba.

Standard Chartered is part of the RippleNet Committee, an advisory team that was set up in 2015 to develop rules and standards for the global payments network. The bank also said it made a key strategic investment in Ripple at the end of 2016.

The British bank has also selected talent from the Ripple talent pool. Kahina van Dyke, a former senior vice president at Ripple, was hired as global head of digital channels and customer data analytics in February this year.

As reported in August, major Spanish bank Santander, another member of the RippleNet committee, is still reluctant to use the XRP token associated with Ripple as it is not yet actively traded in enough markets to fully meet their needs to satisfy.

In an official press release, Standard Chartered claimed, “Ant Group’s applied blockchain technology helps streamline the remittance process, radically improve delivery speed, improve information security and improve process transparency.”

It added that the new deal would enable “Bangladesh to deliver a seamless remittance experience that can now send money from its digital wallets in Malaysia to a bKash account in Bangladesh through Standard Chartered Bank.”

The bank also said that “the remittance of wage earners by Bangladeshi nationals working abroad is one of the main pillars of the Bangladeshi economy and makes a significant contribution to the country’s foreign exchange reserve.”

And it added that “Malaysia is an important part of this remittance ecosystem,” claiming that its new service would enable the Bangladeshi diaspora in Malaysia to send wage transfers using Valyou to recipients in Bangladesh using bKash.

The bank claims the service is in the final stages of commercial testing.

According to the New Straits Times, figures released by the Malaysian Ministry of Interior in 2017 showed that more than 221,000 Bangladeshis worked in the country, more than any other group except Nepalese workers.

bKash operates a chain of around 240,000 agents across Bangladesh, where recipients can withdraw money from digital wallets in Malaysia.

Standard Chartered is the largest international bank in Bangladesh, and the blockchain project is another technological first for the company in the nation. Standard Chartered said it was also the first bank to introduce ATMs and credit cards in the Bangladeshi market.

Ripple declined to comment on the article. has also contacted Standard Chartered for comment.
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