ED: Tech helps transfer

We have not been able to create a reliable system for sending remittance income home

Blockchain technology, the record-keeping tech behind the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, could be the solution for Bangladeshi workers to send remittance earnings home. No doubt, there will be some initial resistance on part of some workers who feel more comfortable with the old ways, but in time, this tech could change our entire remittance earnings scenario for the better.

The first step — and it is a big one — has already been made. Standard Chartered bank, in partnership with mobile financial service bKash and Malaysian money service Valyou, recently announced the first blockchain-based cross-border remittance service in Bangladesh, which will facilitate instant transfers from Malaysia.

We can hope that the success of this project will open up possibilities of partnerships with other countries to make the remittance-sending process smoother and faster, and in a way that is fully legal.

It is widely known that along with RMG, our remittance earnings form the backbone of our economy, and yet, over the years, we have not been able to create a reliable system for sending remittance income home.

Many have, for this reason, resorted to illegal channels, thus skewing the data regarding our economy. Malaysia is, of course, one of the main destinations for Bangladeshi workers abroad, and while the pandemic created some bumps along the road, all areas of life are becoming increasingly digitalized as we move into a new normal, and blockchain tech for sending remittance is a sensible and natural step forward.

Our government should embrace this tech, and encourage more deals like this across the board. Other banks can be brought into the fold gradually. Finally, the importance of educating our migrant workers on how to use these new technologies — which are simple and not at all daunting when learned properly — should not be ignored.

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