Chinese powerhouse Alibaba and Ant Financial Move Further into Blockchain

Ant Financial Services Group is preparing to go live with its “Ant Blockchain Open Alliance” platform later this month, which will focus on sales to financial institutions.

The announcement was made at the company’s conference in Hangzhou China. Ant had already revealed the project was in live beta testing in November, with the firm’s senior director of technology and business innovation, Jieli Li, saying at the time that Ant was being “cautious in terms of selecting nodes on the platform.”

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He added that the company will choose partners based on their industries rather than on location, with plans to include educational and certification agencies as nodes.

Once the platform is fully operational, it will be the first open alliance chain to share platform use rights so that small-scale and micro-enterprises and developers can launch their own apps via blockchain.

The platform will offer five product portfolios: large-scale financial transaction technologies, financial security technologies, financial intelligence technologies, next-generation interaction technologies, and blockchain applications.

Ant Financial, which is an affiliate company of the Chinese powerhouse Alibaba Group, has been made several recent strides in the blockchain industry. In September it announced a partnership with Bayer Crop Science to develop blockchain solutions in the food and crops industry. The companies will work together to bring the technology’s transparency and traceability to food safety and agricultural supply chains.

“Agriculture is the foundation of human civilization. Together with Bayer, our exploration of blockchain in agriculture will improve the transparency and responsiveness of its supply chain, and bring more value to consumers, farmers and the society,” Geoff Jiang, the VP and GM of the firm’s Intelligent Technology Group, said.

In addition, Ant used blockchain tech to its advantage during Single’s Day, a popular shopping event held on November 11 in China, but also becoming an international event. The company used blockchain to support shopping traffic on the day, using Alipay for traceability, copyright protection, identity verification, and supply chain financing for its eCommerce platforms and partners including local online marketplaces Lazada and Daraz, as well as six national e-wallet providers based in South and South-East Asia.