Date
20 September 2019
Ant Financial, an Alibaba affiliate and the parent company of Alipay, supported a US$10 million funding round for QEDIT, an Israeli blockchain privacy startup. Photo: Bloomberg
Ant Financial, an Alibaba affiliate and the parent company of Alipay, supported a US$10 million funding round for QEDIT, an Israeli blockchain privacy startup. Photo: Bloomberg

Ant Financial partners Israel blockchain firm for data privacy

Ant Financial, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba’s payment and technology affiliate, has participated in a US$10 million Series A round for QEDIT, an Israeli blockchain security company.

QEDIT also announced partnerships with Ant Financial, major software firm VMWare, and RGAX, a subsidiary of Reinsurance Group of America, to implement data privacy solutions across their blockchain networks.

VMWare and RGAX also participated in the financing round, which is led by MizMaa Ventures, alongside Meron Capital, venture capital firm Jovono, Collider Ventures and Target Global.

“Robust privacy measures are critical to the ongoing development of the wider finance sector. Together with QEDIT, Ant Financial is committed to providing such capabilities as part of our blockchain services,” Geoff Jiang, vice president and general manager of Ant Financial’s technology and business group, told Israeli business newspaper Calcalist.

Jonathan Rouach, co-founder and chief executive of QEDIT, told tech media Coindeskthat the ZKP schemes his Tel Aviv-based company builds are compatible with most varieties of enterprise blockchain, and this has led to the company gaining traction in Asia.

Ant Financial is quite familiar with the need for privacy when moving assets around.

Last year, Ant Financial ‘s Hong Kong venture launched a blockchain-powered cash remittance service between Hong Kong and the Philippines. Alipay said the digital wallet service was the first of its kind globally.

Co-founded in 2016 by Rouach, Ruben Arnold and Aviv Zohar, QEDITfocuses on helping enterprises develop zero-knowledge blockchain, a protocol which combines enterprise blockchain with zero-knowledge proof cryptography, serving as an enterprise solution for preserving privacy on the blockchain.

One of the dilemmas that most businesses face today when considering blockchain technology involves keeping confidential data private for business, compliance and legal reasons. Businesses don’t want to share a lot of information with competitors, but need to have ways to ensure that the information they receive is correct.

QEDIT says its zero-knowledge protocol (ZKP) technology allows clients to keep their data private and at the same time share proofs about these data with partners, and even with competitors in their ecosystem.

It is also designed to be used in audit and due diligence services for financial institutions, such as credit and risk scoring, without revealing the underlying private data used to calculate the score.

On implementing QEDIT’s ZKP technology to Ant Financial, Rouach told Coindesk that when a network operates across multiple cloud environments, ZKP solutions allow cloud deployment of blockchain without revealing any sensitive information outside of the chosen cloud provider.

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