Blockchain comes to Myanmar microfinance

From Finextra:

Infoteria Corporation (TSE: 3853; hereinafter “Infoteria”) and Tech Bureau Corporation (hereinafter “Tech Bureau”) have successfully transferred loan and deposit account data in the main system of BC Finance, one of the largest microfinance institutions in Myanmar, to mijin (*1), the private blockchain (*2) placed on Microsoft Azure (*3) using ASTERIA WARP (*4) and mijin adapters (*5).

We hereby announce that this verifies that ASTERIA WARP and the private blockchain mijin are applicable in the operational process of microfinance and the private blockchain technology is applicable to account data recording. This is the world’s first (*6) demonstration experiment that used a private blockchain in microfinance.

Process overview

We recorded all transaction history (account data) of active accounts at a branch of BC Finance (which operates a total of 19 branches in eight states) in the private blockchain mijin using ASTERIA WARP and mijin adapter. BC Finance assigned a total of three accounts, including one loan account and two savings accounts, to one customer.
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Future plan

(1) We plan to carry out an experiment for concurrent and consecutive operations over a certain period of time. This is scheduled to begin in the first half of July and continue for approximately six weeks.

(2) We will consider developing an application that enables data writing and viewing from clients (terminals at each branch) to mijin.

Upcoming developments

The number of bank accounts in Myanmar is still limited to approximately two million for a population of more than 50 million, and bank services are available only to the affluent, who represent only a small portion of the population. Microfinance provides financial services such as loans and deposits to a broader segment of the population, and as such plays an important role in supporting Myanmar’s economic growth. Myanmar has achieved 7-8 percent economic growth since its democratization in the spring of 2011, and in the spring of 2016, the military government came to an end, encouraging the lifting of economic sanctions imposed by the U.S. Such factors are expected to facilitate further growth, and a significant increase in the number of BC Finance customers is expected.

While the current system means rising costs of data management as the number of users grows, the introduction of the blockchain technology enables the safe and low-cost operation of account data. We expect that this will facilitate the growth of the microfinance business.

Infoteria and Tech Bureau are focusing on the promotion and penetration of blockchain technology not only in Japan, but also overseas. The two companies plan to develop this alliance on a global scale by applying the results of this experiment to other countries.