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Privacy has always been one of the primary issues concerning blockchains, but a company is gearing up to tackle it. On May 7, Israeli news platform Calcalist reported that Ant Financial, the investment and financial services affiliate of Chinese tech giant Alibaba Global Holdings, took part in a $10 million Series A funding round for QEDIT, a blockchain privacy solutions provider.
The round was reported to have been led by MizMa Ventures, and companies such as software developer VMWare, Ant Financial, and RGAX, a subsidiary of Reinsurance Group of America, were all announced to have been parts in the round.
Enhancing internal privacy technology
According to the reported terms of the partnership, the companies will be collaborating with QEDIT to help review some of their privacy-focused offerings and provide a corporate-level implementation of Zero Knowledge Proof (ZKP) technology.
QEDIT is an Israeli-based company which develops privacy solutions for enterprise blockchains. Its privacy products comply with safety standards and privacy laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), privacy and legal framework instituted by the European Union.
The company was reportedly founded by CEO Jonathan Rouch and Ruben Arnold in 2016. Both men had previously founded crypto startups in the past including Bits of Gold– an exchange platform- and LedgerLock, a digital asset security services provider which is now owned by Digital Asset Holdings.
QEDIT’s ZKP technology allows data sharing, powered by blockchain technology and with a focus on data privacy. A separate report claims that the technology can also be designed to help with providing audit and due diligence services for financial service providers. The publication cites Geoff Jiang, a Vice President and General Manager of Ant Financial Technology and Business Innovation Group, who said:
“We (Ant Financial) share a shared vision with QEDIT for privacy protection and data security, and if we want to continue expanding the financial sector, it is critical for us to develop robust private applications to protect users.”
While this investment round is quite a big deal (especially for the prospect of enhanced security with blockchains), it isn’t Ant Financial’s first foray into blockchain technology. In June 2018, the company launched a blockchain-based remittance platform with the aim of enabling quick and secure transactions for Filipino citizens in Hong Kong.
The platform was launched in partnership with GCash, a Filipino telecoms services provider, while banking giant Standard Chartered would handle settlement for the service. It would come as an additional feature on the GCash app, as well as Ant Financial’s Alipay mobile platform.
Essentially, it would give Filipinos based in Hong Kong the opportunity to send money back home, providing a cheaper, faster, and more secure alternative to MoneyGram, the global industry standard in international remittances. MoneyGram has been anticipating this competition. Last year, they ran a pilot with Ripple’s XRP token.
Speaking at the launch of the platform, Jack Ma, Chairman, and co-founder of the Alibaba Group, said:
“This comes from a promise I made a long time ago when Alipay was just launched. I have Filipino friends who asked me when they could use Alipay to send money home because it was too expensive through banks, which charge too much.”