Ant Financial Brings Blockchain Application to SMEs Author: Jimmy Aki Last Updated: 20 April 2020 Global FinTech and business solutions provider Ant Financial Services Group has stepped up its blockchain adoption with a new service that is targeted at developing firms. Last week, the Chinese company, which is a subsidiary of the Alibaba Group, announced the development of OpenChain- a blockchain consortium, that will provide DLT tools to small and medium enterprises. Blockchain Goes Mainstream in China’s Business Space As the announcement explained, OpenChain will allow developers and AME businesses to access some innovative blockchain solutions that will optimize their work. Amongst other things, they will be able to explore the application of the technology to develop better applications and utilize smart contracts to enhance their businesses. The release added that developers and SMEs would be able to use several combinations of tools to create products that will help business aspects such as digital invoicing, supply chain finance, product provenance, and even help them to make donations to charity organizations. All of these, as they explained, can help to diversify the technology and improve its use cases even further. Jin Ge, the company’s General Manager, also added that their initial objective is to boost the operations of almost 1,000,000 developers and SMEs in the first 36 months. Wu Xiao, the chief executive of WiteMatrix – a local company that has been developing smart contracts with the blockchain tool – made a direct comparison between OpenChaina and other blockchains. Amongst other things, he complimented the platform’s cost-effective smart contracts, as well as its ease of use for developers. “Not only are OpenChain’s transaction speeds several times faster than public blockchain platforms like Ethereum, but the cost per transaction is only one-tenth of others,” Xiao added. Ant Financial’s Involvement in the Digital Yuan Ant Financial has grown significantly over the past few years. The firm’s Wikipedia page confirms that it’s the most valuable FinTech firm in the world, with a real worth of over $150 billion. The firm, formerly known as Alipay, has now established itself as one of China’s “big tech” names. Ant Financial’s largesse has also grown beyond the private sector. Earlier this month, reports confirmed that the company had been incorporated into the government’s plan to develop a digital Yuan. Last week, ChinSci-Tech — an innovation board for enterprises and public companies listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange – revealed in a report that the digital Yuan is now being implemented in Suzhou, a city west of Shanghai. As the report added, the Chinese central bank is using the digital currency as part of a transport subsidies scheme that will benefit both enterprise workers and local government administrations. Another official report confirmed that Ant Financial has contributed to the research and development of the asset’s hardware, as well as its distribution and payment channel technology. The report confirmed that for April, enterprises in the Xiangcheng District of Suzhou would pay 50 percent of their workers’ transport subsidies with the new digital currency. All participants will have to sign a digital currency distribution agreement with a wage distribution bank, which will give them the chance to install a digital wallet for their workforce. The banks include the Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China, the China Construction Bank, and the Commercial Bank of China.