IBM new project is to open a blockchain innovation center in Singapore with the cooperation of the government, as the city-state strives to become Asia’s paramount of financial technology. The tech giant will be working with the main economic planning agency, the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to advance blockchain adoption for finance and industry. One project, together with PSA International – one of the world’s biggest container transshipment ports owned by state investor Temasek Holdings [TEM.UL] aims to connect fintech with global trade and logistics.
The blockchain technology works by creating permanent, public ledgers of all transactions that could potentially replace complicated systems such as clearing and settlement with one simple database. Singapore has been at the crossroads of trade and a melting pot of cultures for millennia, with traders having plied the ancient spice, silk and ceramics routes. The new center is Research-led and will attract top talent to Singapore to explore, design, develop and test blockchain solutions that will help transform many different businesses. Singapore is rushing to reinvent itself as Asia’s fintech paramount to fend off a regulatory threat to its wealth management industry and to bring back to life a slow-moving economy. Observers say it is ahead of long-time rival Hong Kong, but measures to curb the number of foreign workers and previous regulations creating a risk averse culture at odds with the trial-and-error approach of fintech start-ups, remain key restrictions in prospering the region.