Local news agency Bihai123 reported on Jan. 8 that Ant Financial Group vice president Jiang Guofei, who is also president of Ant’s smart technology business group, revealed that the network has been live in beta as of Nov. 2019, and will imminently be launched as a fully operational chain.
Interfacing with small-scale enterprises
The vice president alleges that the Ant Blockchain will be the first open alliance chain to share platform use rights, enabling small-scale and micro-enterprises and developers to enter the blockchain industry at a lower cost to develop and launch their own applications.
As reported, the enterprise-focus chain had been announced by Gueofei back in Sept. 2018, when he framed the project as a move to open up the firm’s in-house technologies to the wider commercial sector:
“In the past two years, Ant Financial has been working on two aspects about blockchain. One is to improve the technology, and the other is to open it up and accelerate the commercialization of blockchain applications.”
That September, Ant Financial also launched its blockchain-as-a-service platform, having trialed its first-ever blockchain remittances in the summer of 2018, using its new blockchain-based electronic wallet cross border remittance service.
In Nov. 2019, when Ant’s senior director of technology and business innovation revealed that beta testing for Ant Blockchain Open Alliance had begun, he carefully qualified the implications of “open” in the platform’s title:
“As for the selection of node operators, we are more cautious. […] Because to form a credible value network, not only do they need to be a consensus accounting node, but they also need to provide authoritative endorsements.”
Diversifying blockchain investments
In 2019, Ant Financial broadened its involvement in global blockchain development, participating in a $10 million Series A round for an Israeli blockchain privacy solutions firm that develops zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) technology.
The firm also partnered with pharmaceutical giant Bayer Crop Science, Monsanto’s owner, to develop a blockchain solution for the food and crop industry.