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Singapore government to boost blockchain adoption

Singapore government unveils S$12m programme to promote development and adoption of blockchain applications beyond financial services

The Singapore government has launched a S$12m blockchain innovation programme to translate blockchain technology research into commercial applications.

Funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF), the programme will engage close to 75 companies, including multinational corporations, large enterprises and ICT companies, to conceptualise 17 blockchain-related projects within the next three years.

For a start, the programme will see blockchain technology supplier Dimuto work on using blockchain to track and trace high-value perishables to improve the creditworthiness of farmers.

Besides helping to commercial blockchain research, the programme, which is being led by Enterprise Singapore, Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) and supported by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), will look into blockchain scalability so that the technology can be used for high-volume transactions.

It will also support blockchain interoperability between blockchain systems, to address the current challenges of siloed networks, and to grow the blockchain talent pool.

Blockchain has several advantages for enterprises as it enables decentralisation and data immutability while enhancing security and transparency.

For example, the technology allows businesses to conduct speedier and more efficient transactions with one another at lower risk and cost, without the need for intermediaries.

IMDA chief executive Lew Chuen Hong said the programme aims to drive blockchain adoption in a broader set of industries beyond financial services, and bolster industry manpower and know-how.

Peter Ong, chairman of Enterprise Singapore, said blockchain technology would help to “embed trust in applications spanning logistics, supply chains and trade financing to digital identities and credentials”.

“The acceleration of innovative business solutions under the Singapore blockchain innovation programme will help our enterprises be more globally connected and competitive,” he added.

Earlier this year, a government-led blockchain payments network prototype came closer to being commercialised after the technology was successfully validated in the fifth and final phase of Project Ubin, a blockchain testbed spearheaded by MAS.

MAS said the prototype had successfully settled payments in different currencies on the same network. An international settlement network, modelled after the prototype, could enable faster and cheaper transactions than conventional cross-border payments.

The use of smart contracts on the payments network was also validated in use cases such as delivery-versus-payment settlement with assets on private exchanges, conditional payments and escrow for trade, as well as payment commitments for trade finance.

MAS said commercial applications of the payments network prototype would include cross-border payments in multiple currencies, foreign currency exchange, settlement of foreign currency-denominated securities, as well as integration with other blockchain-based platforms to enable digitalisation across industries and use cases.

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