Rethinking Cross-Border Payments

Imagine a migrant worker anywhere in the world, wanting to remit money to their family back home, or parents sending tuition money cross-border to their children. For these small to medium value transfers, the cost is unbearably high. Due to proprietary back-end systems, and complex regulatory compliance, the existing cross-border transfer services are an appalling nuisance: expensive, slow, opaque with poor user experience.

Building a global network

In an ideal scenario, having one middleman in the transaction flow structure, acting as an instrument of cross-border payments, with high efficiency at a low cost, would solve most of today’s money-transfer bottlenecks. However, for this to be remotely possible, it would require:

  • Vast amount of capital support for the middleman to scale
  • Thorough Know Your Customer (KYC) checks
  • Compliance with regulatory requirements across different jurisdictions

In return, the end-user always has to bear the cost, either through transaction fees or time. The biggest pain point of the existing cross-border financial system is the lack of efficient ways to conduct small amounts of money transfers or micropayments, without a significant percentage of cost. Should any country be unable to service value transactions of $200 or lower, their economy will likely come to a halt.

When rethinking how to remove frictions among cross-border payment stakeholders, OKLink has come up with an answer. Our solution entails breaking the one single intermediary into the following components:

  • Licensed Sender – company that offers money-transfer service for senders
  • Settlement Network – a global seamless settlement platform based on blockchain technology
  • Payout – company that processes the money to recipients via bank account, cash pick-up or mobile wallet

The polar ends are SMEs including banks, fintech, traditional, and innovative remittance companies. These financial service providers can leverage either their marketing skills to find new customers, or their existing banking/cash pickup networks locally. Once connected to the OKLink network, they can achieve a global reach and gain access to a high volume of transactions.

Network nodes

Our money transfer network enables small and medium financial service providers to compete with traditional financial institutions that utilize legacy networks, or local traditional clearing networks to transfer funds. Our network nodes are empowered by continuing to focus on their local markets, while our network helps bring additional business with only nominal API-based integrations.

Licensed Sender nodes are provided with a wide array of payout countries and options with transparent pricing. Both pre-funding, and counter party risk issues are undertaken by the network. Payout nodes receive high-volume of transaction orders from all over the world. We are responsible for your business expansion, so you could can focus solely on optimizing your service to the end-users.

Underlying technology

OKLink is built on top of an open blockchain protocol, allowing network nodes to engage in a secure, trustless, and cost-effective transactions. Features like instant settlement, and real-time transactions between our network nodes are made possible by our implementation of blockchain technology and matching algorithms. We removed global complexity, and enabled nodes to focus solely on their users and local markets. This reduces barriers to entry for our network, as it remains open to all participants.

Jovan is currently responsible for strategic initiatives, partnerships, and business development at OKLink, a global blockchain settlement network helping forward-thinking businesses make cross-border money transfers. We are growing rapidly with a settlement network being connected globally with over 150 licensed nodes from more than 40 countries. To become a partner in our network, contact us at partner@oklink.com

OKLink expands to South America

South America

We are excited to announce our expansion to South America. Using OKLink, businesses can now send money to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Peru at a greater speed and lower cost than any other alternative.

Thanks to our strong local partners in the region, sending money to and from these countries is available for both C2C and B2B transactions.

The total payout fees are calculated at a mid-market rate with no hidden charges. Payout fee for Argentina and Chile is 0.85%, Peru 0.6%, and Brazil 1%.

Supported banks include:

Argentina: Banco Columbia, Banco Comafi, Banco Credicoop, Banco Galicia, Banco Hipotecario, Banco Industrial, Banco Macro, Banco Naciоn, Banco Patagonia, Banco Provincia, Banco Santander Rio, Banco Supervielle, BBVA Banco Frances

Brazil: Itaú, Bradesco, Banco do Brasil, Santander, Caixa Econômica Federal, Sicoob, Intermedium, Neon, Ecobank

Peru: BBVA Continental, Banco de Crédito – BCP, Interbank, Scotiabank

Chile: Santander-Chile, Banco de Chile, Banco Estado, Banco de Crédito e Inversiones (BCI), Banco Itaú Chile, BBVA, Scotiabank Chile

Stay tuned for more corridor updates to follow soon.

Results & Achievements in 2017

Poster

When we look back at 2017, we have reasons to be proud and optimistic about the future of our network. The past year has been exciting and dynamic, both for OKLink and the entire cross-border payment ecosystem.

Together, we achieved significant results and look forward to the challenges in the coming year. We hope that our open financial infrastructure will continue to help businesses send money more seamlessly, faster, and cheaper than before.

We thank all of our partners for making 2017 such a memorable one, and look forward to our continuous collaboration in the future.

OKLink admitted into Abu Dhabi Global Market Sandbox

The Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) announced yesterday that OKLink has been accepted into the second cohort of its Regulatory Laboratory (RegLab).

Abu Dhabi Global Market is the international financial centre located in Abu Dhabi and the RegLab is a specially-tailored regulatory framework which provides a controlled environment for FinTech participants like OKLink to test innovativeFinTech solutions.

OKLink is a cross-border payments platform provider that utilizes blockchain to provide services in over 40 countries today. OKLink’s objective under the RegLab is to expand our payments solutions to empower Middle Eastern businesses, develop Abu Dhabi as a regional hub, and to be fully licensed under the ADGM financial regulation by the end of testing period.

Jason Lau, OKLink’s Vice President, says: “We are excited to join the ADGM Fintech RegLab as we continue our mission of improving cross-border payments for all. OKLink strives to provide its partners with safe and effective low-value payment solutions, and the ADGM Fintech RegLab’s forward-thinking regulatory framework will allow us to continue to prove out our innovative blockchain based network. We are thankful for the RegLab’s professionalism, and we look forward to promoting and support the RegLab innovative initiative.”

OKLink’s Chief Risk Officer & Head of Government Relations Tim Byun stated from the 2017 FINTECH ABU DHABI Summit that OKLink applied to the ADGM’s RegLab to grow OKLink’s presence in the Middle East with the support of a healthy pro-regulatory environment. More specifically, we believe the exciting fintech landscape of the Middle East will be a promising expansion opportunity and complement OKLink’s strong Asia presence.

For more details, please refer to the ADGM’s official release here.

October 23rd 2017: Link to official press release updated.

Customer Spotlight Series: Satang

This week, we sat down with Poramin Insom, founder and CEO of Satang, our partner in Thailand, to discuss his business, vision, and outlook on the state of cryptocurrency in Thailand.

Poramin is most known as the founder and lead developer of Zcoin. A software engineer by training, he returned to Thailand after completing his Masters at Johns Hopkins University and in 2017 founded Satang Corporation, a digital asset services provider in Thailand.

OKLink: Poramin, thank you so much for spending time with us. Can you tell us about your background and your team?

Poramin: I am the founder and CEO of Satang. I have a team of four people – including one CTO and two software developer. My background is in computer engineering. I got into cryptocurrency while studying for my Masters in Security Informatics at Johns Hopkins University. In order to learn more about the subject I created a cryptocurrency to learn how the mechanism and blockchain works. During that time I created Zcoin, which is a cryptocurrency based on Zerocoin protocol. It was actually a capstone project I had to complete in order to graduate, but the project ended up attracting some bitcoin celebrity investors like Roger Ver and others.

If you want to find out more about Zcoin, read this other interview here.

OKLink: In 2017, you had again tapped your entrepreneurial streak and founded Satang Corporation in Thailand. What is Satang trying to achieve?

Poramin: When I came back from the U.S. I decided to create my own company in Thailand that focus on bitcoin and blockchain because in Thailand there wasn’t any blockchain company yet at that time.

Satang is a bitcoin application wallet that integrates social features into the bitcoin wallet. It is somewhat modelled after Venmo, a popular social payment platform in the U.S.  You can send money to your friends or do split payment with this application.  When I was living in the States my friends always used Venmo to pay money back each other after having dinner or lunch.

My idea is why don’t we integrate Venmo’s social features into a bitcoin wallet because usually people find bitcoin quite hard to understand and used primarily by traders. So I try to create the platform that makes bitcoin easier to access for people in Thailand.  That is my primary goal. We are planning to integrate Ethereum, Zcoin and other cryptocurrency like Ripple in a few months’ time.

OKLink: Why do you think people would actually use bitcoin to share payments rather than tradition methods?

Poramin: That’s a really good question.  Because we do believe in bitcoin and in fact all cryptocurrencies.  We believe it will become one of the major currencies in the world and that vision plays into why we do what we do in the first place. But in order to achieve that we need to create an ecosystem that is necessary for mass adoption and we want to be a part of that ecosystem.

OKLink: How receptive are people in Thailand to bitcoin – are they quick to adapt and use?

Poramin: Not really, from our transactions and observation they just want to buy and sell, and sometimes make cross-border transactions.  But we have yet seen mass adoption of bitcoin in day-to-day consumption and transfers between friends.  Part of this may be related to the lengthy confirmation time required for small transactions, which according to bitcoin rule should take 10 minutes but right now take up to one or two hours.

So, while our goal is to focus on social payments locally in Thailand, we have evolved to focus on cross-border transactions due to the obvious advantage of using blockchain technologies in this space. That said, we are hopeful that the number of local people that know about bitcoin and use it will grow over time.

OKLink: Interesting. So you actually want Satang to be a social app where people share taxi bills and things like that using cryptocurrency; while processing remittances is just one of the services you offer but not the main one.

How did you decide to partner with OKLink?

Poramin: Some of your representatives contacted us via email.  You are affiliated with OKCoin which we already have transactions with, and we thought that partnering with OKLink will open our market to operating remittance and not only bitcoin wallet. What OKLink is valuable for us is you connect us to the remittance industries in the world.

OKLink: What are some of the biggest challenges so far in building Satang?

Poramin: I would say I have two challenges.  The first one is a technical challenge because, in Thailand, we don’t have many qualified software engineers. There is a culture of buying software from other countries and a lack of innovation, which means it is quite hard to find software engineer to develop our platform from scratch.  So what I do is I find people who just graduated from university and train them in-house, and that education process takes time.

CentralWorld, the largest lifestyle shopping destination in Bangkok

The second issue is liquidity. There are lots of restrictions in Thailand for startups like us to grow further. For example if we want to operate as money transmitter we would need to have at least 7 million USD just for the license. In Thailand, there are only two licensed money transmitters: the first one is Central, a top shopping mall operator in Thailand, and the other is the post office. Central also has shopping malls in Germany, France, and Italy. In Vietnam, they have shopping malls, hotels and other businesses. As you can see, the bar is pretty high.

OKLink: Do you have any investors in Satang?

Poramin: Not yet, but we are talking to banks right now. They want to have a stake in us because they know that eventually bitcoin is going to come, whether than wait and see, they want to invest right now.

OKLink: So far how many people have been using Satang? What kind of growth are you experiencing?

Poramin: Right now it’s around 2,000, and we expect the user base to grow to 10,000 by the end of this year.

OKLink: Nice.  How do you plan to achieve the 10,000 target by the end of this year?

Poramin: As of now we haven’t done that much advertising, for example only on Google but not Facebook. And as you know Facebook users in Thailand is number two after Indonesia, if I’m not mistaken.  And we also haven’t started our referral program yet. We have so many more opportunities to do marketing and PR, and that is our plan in the line in order to achieve that number.

OKLink: It definitely sounds like a lot of potential growth in that regard. On that note, that’s all the questions we have and once again, thank you so much for your time!


Interested in joining OKLink or want to be featured? Talk to us at partner@oklink.com.

A fast, simple way to send an airtime reload – with 0% fees

OKLink now supports real-time mobile airtime top-up to the Philippines for all partners in the first phase of a global rollout. Sending mobile airtime with OKLink is easy and economical, and all partners will enjoy completely free transfers until 30 September 2017.

Mobile transactions are fast becoming a key component in global cross-border payments. Recognizing the value of mobile airtime as a form of currency in emerging markets, we partnered with the best mobile remittance companies around the world as part of our efforts to build a network infrastructure that allows people to send and receive money easily, in the payout format of their choice.

Partners on the OKLink network can now offer their customers the option to send airtime instantly to prepaid phones of their friends and relatives in the Philippines. Accessible on a computer, smartphone or tablet, OKLink currently supports some of the biggest mobile operators in the country including Cignal, Globe Telecom Philippines, Smartbro, Smartgold, and Sun Philippines.

                        

Here is a step-by-step guide to get your started:

Sending with OKLink is fast, reliable and convenient – and we hope it will help your customers become more connected with their loved ones back home. Start using it today or send us a message at partner@oklink.com if you have any questions.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority adds OKLink to its regulatory sandbox

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), one of the UK’s top finance regulators, yesterday provided an update on its regulatory sandbox and unveiled the list of firms that were successful in their applications to begin testing in the second cohort of its regulatory sandbox.

OKLink is accepted along with 24 other firms, of which nine are blockchain-related.

The regulatory sandbox allows businesses to test innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms in a live environment while ensuring that consumers are appropriately protected. It is part of Innovate, an initiative kicked off in 2014 to promote competition in the interest of consumers.

Tim Byun, Chief Risk Officer and Head of Government Relations says, “We applaud the FCA’s vision and leadership in allowing companies to trial new emerging technologies by introducing a financial regulation test bed system. This is a major development for OKLink and it puts our company in a better position as a new player in the market. OKLink endeavors to provide U.K. consumers superior money remittance with speed, reliability and competitive costs through our innovative technology and services.”

Send to Australia for only 0.1%!

From now until 30 September 2017, enjoy as low as 0.1% fee for transfers to Australia of up to $100,000USD per month!

Whether you are a new or an existing user of OKLink, experience the speed and ease of transferring cross-border from your home country to Australia.

See more information at oklink.com/pricing. If you have any questions, please contact us at partner@oklink.com.

OKLink Partners – How to earn bitcoins

Every week bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are breaking records and setting new all-time highs. In fact, yesterday marked the first time in history when the total market cap of digital currency exceeded the US$100 billion mark.

Getting more bitcoins is easy. Just join OKLink as a payout partner, process cross border payments from all over the world, and receive Bitcoin in real time for every payout you process.

Register now or contact us at partner@oklink.com to request a trial account.

 

Brazil: Now live on OKLink!

Within two working day, OKLink users can now transfer up to BRL 30,000 to bank accounts via our payout partners in Brazil for a total delivery fee as low as 1%, calculated at the mid-market exchange rate with no hidden charges.

Using OKLink, licensed money remitters and other businesses can allow customers to send money to Brazil much quicker and at a rate cheaper than incumbents like Transferwise.

If you already have an account with us, simply log on the web version and start sending. The API version will be integrated shortly.

Here are more details on sending to Brazil with OKLink:

Payouts are currently available at 9 major banks, including:

                              

Try out OKLink by signing up for your trial account. Alternatively if you would like to try the OKLink API, contact us at partner@oklink.com and we’ll get you ready to go with a trial account for the API.