With Go-Jek’s New Acquisition, Could Blockchain Be A Secret Weapon Against Grab?

With Go-Jek’s New Acquisition, Could Blockchain Be A Secret Weapon Against Grab?

by January 18, 2019

Thanks to Go-Jek’s diversification strategy, it’s pretty easy to get a glimpse about the company’s future direction based on what companies they’ve acquired or shook hands with. This time around, it’s come out that the US$9 billion-worth company gained a majority stake in Philippine blockchain-based platform Coins.ph.

Since their entry into Singapore as a ride-hailing contender, it seems like Go-Jek is interested in going toe-to-toe with Grab in conquering a slice of the Southeast Asian market. For our interests, this is clear in the application of both Go-Pay and GrabPay, the fintech arm of both companies, respectively.

We think there’s more to this acquisition than just Coins.ph’s experience in the Philippine market, though that is a major concern as it faces accreditation issues in getting cleared for operations in the Phillippines. The acquisition of a Filipino payments company is no doubt, part of Go-Jek’s strategy in gaining entry into the Phillippines. 

Beyond that, the Indonesian unicorn’s acquisition could put them on a fast track to catch up with GrabPay.

Coins.ph, based on a blockchain network, is a platform that allows even those without a bank account to access financial services directly from their phone. Their business encompasses financial services like remittances, mobile air-time, bill payments, and even online shopping—the blockchain company is said to have processed over six million transactions per month.

Many segments of these services are a vector of focus for Grab Financial as well, so with strategic implementation of Coin.ph’s blockchain capabilities, Go-Jek could find itself catching up, and even surpassing Grab Financial’s offerings.

Experts have opined before that when it comes to consumer-facing products, good blockchain application could be invisible. This means that an application of blockchain could translate to quicker transaction speeds, for example, or more streamlined management of business, or even lowered prices.

This is exactly Coin.ph’s expertise—utilising blockchain for ‘regular’ payments transactions.

Meanwhile, Grab carries on with Grab Financial efforts with a newly minted partnership with ZhongAn, a famed insurtech company from China to offer mobile insurance products in the Grab apps on many Southeast Asian phones. It seems like 2019 will be the year that Go-Jek and Grab will clash in earnest and with similar origins and goals, we’ll be watching both unicorns to see who gains the upper-hand.

Featured image via Go-Jek