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Shaping the future of finance

Ant Financial’s Strategy for AI, Blockchain, Cybersecurity and more

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I’ve been flying around a bit and was lucky enough to find myself onstage the other day, chairing the Ant Financial Technology Forum at Money20/20 Singapore. I was honoured to accept to be the moderator of the afternoon and guess I was chosen because Alipay and Ant Financial are a 30,000 word in-depth case study in new book, Digital Human.

There were several standout moments during the afternoon. For example, Ant Financial have more blockchain patents than any other company in the world and they have the most live blockchain-based production systems.

Another one I noted was the payments game Ant Forest that offsets carbon emissions. The game works by encouraging you to do things for a greener planet. For example, if you walk to the office rather than drive, you get credits. This has been incredibly successful. It is the world’s largest gaming system with over 250 million players who, in just 15 months, managed to offset enough carbon to plant over 13 million trees saving 1.22 tonnes of emissions. That’s an amazing story and is covered in-depth in my new book.

What really struck me is how candid the guys are with their internal developments. During the course of the afternoon, the leaders of the artificial intelligence, blockchain, cybersecurity and other areas each took to the stage and shared their ideas and developments.

Most of what they presented, if it were an American company, would have been under a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). It would be top secret and not shared openly without lots of contract signatures and background checks. Not so with Ant Financial. These guys just took to the stage and shared everything. I guess it’s because, by the time someone else has worked out what they’re doing, it’s going to be too late to catch-up.

So I asked if I could have the slides to share here and, guess what? The answer was yes. So, without the explanation, here’s the slide decks on Ant Financial’s strategic plans in these key technology areas.


The day began with Cheng Li's, Ant Financial's Chief Technology Officer and star interviewee in my new book.

This was followed by specific presentations on the technology building blocks for Ant Financial's future, starting with Artificial Intelligence for better analytics of customer habits for security and marketing purposes with Xiaolong Li.

After AI, a look into blockchain with Danqing Hu, who heads up their blockchain developments.

Then a discussion of their cybersecurity plans with Wenbiao Zhao.

And a concluding presentation about how challenging it is to keep up with all these technology changes with Zhenyu Guo.

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Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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