Myanmar’s Shwe Bank to Use Blockchain for Accepting Migrant Worker Money

The distributed ledger technology-based remittance service will connect Myanmar and Thailand.

Myanmar’s Shwe Urban and Rural Development Bank have signed a deal with Everex crypto company for the developing of a blockchain-based remittance service with Thailand, Everex said on Monday. The mid-tier challenger bank will use blockchain in the banking transactions in a bid to attract millions of Myanmar migrant workers living in the neighboring country.

According to the latest data from the United Nations Migration Agency (IOM), around three million people from Myanmar work in Thailand, as the economy there is significantly more developed. Most of the workers use unofficial channels for sending fiat currency home, the so-called informal money-agent networks, due to the high bank taxes.

“Myanmar people working in Thailand are foreign currency earners of our country, and their hard-earned money is at risk when they send it home via informal channels,” U Thein Zaw, Shwe Bank’s executive vice chairman, was quoted as saying in the statement.

Myanmar is one of the poorest countries in Asia, ruled several decades by the military junta until 2015 that brought the opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi to power. More than 4.25 million people work abroad. IOM estimates that 70% of migrants work in Thailand, followed by Malaysia (15%), China (4.6%), Singapore (3.9%) and the USA (1.9%).

“Everex and Shwe Bank are currently building the operations of the new service. Following the launch of the remittance platform in the Myanmar-Thailand corridor, the service will be expanded to other Asian countries,” the crypto company explained.

Blockchain, the technology that underpins the cryptocurrency like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), has broadened its usage in various sectors: from sport to health, and from agriculture to banking.

Developed as a distributed ledger technology (DLT), blockchain has the capabilities to lower the cost, to speed up transactions and to bring transparency by tracking all activities. These advantages have attracted several major banks that have started eyeing on the cryptocurrency technology.

In a report published in April, credit rating agency Moody's stated that cryptocurrency technology has the potential to meaningfully lower the costs and time involved in cross-border banking transactions.