In Brief
Migrant workers in Singapore are often unable to open a bank account. Now, one community is implementing blockchain technology to give residents access to their pay.

Pay Packet

Maybank Singapore has announced plans to use blockchain to give migrant workers access to their earnings. The company will use InfoCorp Technologies’ CrossPay network to cater to the 16,800 laborers living in the Tuas View Dormitory, with a further trial set for a smaller community of 2,000 in Mandai.

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CrossPay is a mobile app that will facilitate cashless transactions within the dormitory. Residents will be able to pay for goods and services, with their identities tracked via blockchain. An initial trial will get underway at a supermarket before the end of 2017, with plans to expand it out to other merchants.

The aim is to confine as much of the workers’ financial activity as possible to the cashless CrossPay platform. When sellers want to cash out of the system, they’ll be able to settle payments with the dormitory operator through Maybank.

New Money

The decision to introduce CrossPay in this fashion is a response to the fact that many migrant workers in Singapore have little to no experience using a conventional bank account. Upon arrival in the country, it can be difficult for them to access these services.

“These solutions are not suitable for migrant workers as many of them have no experience with banking services,” said InfoCorp CEO Roy Lai, referring to existing cashless payment platforms that require a bank account, according to a report from the Business Times. “Introducing CrossPay to migrant workers therefore makes sense as it is a solution that specifically caters to their needs.”

Thousands of Syrian refugees stationed in Jordan’s Azraq camp purchase food with an eye-scan, which records the transactions on a blockchain computing platform. The U.N. agency behind the futuristic system began with a one-month pilot including 10,000 of more than 50,000 refugees dwelling in Azraq, to cut costs and seek out troublesome bottlenecks. The project is due to help more than 100,000 refugees in camps across Jordan by yearend, according to a Reuters report.

All around the world, the way we use money is changing. It remains to be seen whether regulation can keep up with the technology at hand.

 

Disclosure: Several members of the Futurism team, including the editors of this piece, are personal investors in a number of cryptocurrency markets. Their personal investment perspectives have no impact on editorial content.