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Standard Chartered selects Ant, not Ripple, for new referral service

British bank Standard Chartered has teamed up with mobile financial services company bKash and Malaysian digital remittance provider Valyou to launch the first blockchain-based cross-border remittance service in Bangladesh – and selected Chinese giant Ant Group as its technology partner.

Source: Adobe / Igor Golovnev

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

Standard Chartered is part of the RippleNet Committee, an advisory team founded in 2015 to develop rules and standards for the global payment network. The bank also claimed it made a significant strategic investment in Ripple in late 2016.

The British bank has also selected talent from the Ripple talent pool. It was said to have hired Kahina van Dyke, a former senior vice president at Ripple, as Global Head for Digital Channels and Client Data Analytics in February of this year.

As reported in August, the major Spanish bank Santander, another member of the RippleNet committee, is still hesitant in its approach to the Ripple-connected XRP token, as it is not yet actively traded in enough markets to fully meet its needs cover.

Meanwhile, Standard Chartered claimed in an official press release that “Ant Group’s applied blockchain technology will help streamline the remittance process, radically improve delivery speed, improve information security, and increase process transparency.”

It added that the new deal would allow “a seamless transfer sending experience to Bangladesh, which can now send money from their 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 Bangladesh’s economy and an important 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 Bangladeshi-based recipients 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 over 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 the money sent from digital wallets in Malaysia.

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

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