IMDA, Enterprise SG and National Research Foundation invest SG$12m to boost blockchain ecosystem

Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), Enterprise Singapore, and the National Research Foundation Singapore have tied up to launch a SG$12 million programme named “Singapore blockchain innovation programme” to further strengthen Singapore’s blockchain ecosystem.

Supported by the Monetary Authority of Singapore and funded by National Research Foundation Singapore, this investment aims to align blockchain technology research with the needs of the industry, to facilitate the development, commercialisation and adoption of wider real-world applications. The industry-driven initiative will engage close to 75 companies to conceptualise 17 blockchain-related projects within the next three years in various sectors, starting with trade and logistics, and supply chain. These companies include multinational corporations (MNCs), large enterprises and information and communications technology (ICT) companies. For example, the programme will see the engagement with Dimuto, a trade technology service championing “Collaborative Commerce”, to work on using blockchain to track and trace high-valued perishables for improving farmers’ credit worthiness.

According to Enteprise Singapore, blockchain technology has multiple advantages for enterprises as it enables decentralisation and data immutability, and enhances security and transparency. One such advantage is allowing business entities to conduct speedier and more efficient transactions with one another at lower risk and cost, without the need for intermediaries.

Beyond research translation, the Singapore blockchain innovation programme will look into blockchain scalability to enable the adoption of blockchain in environments with high transaction rates. It will also support blockchain inter-operability, to enable value exchange across blockchain systems and address the current challenges of siloed blockchain networks. Additionally, the programme will look at growing the blockchain tech talent pool to enable ICT companies to further tap on blockchain technologies.

Lew Chuen Hong, chief executive, IMDA, said: “As the architect of Singapore’s digital future, we are constantly pushing the forefront of innovation in areas such as Blockchain.” He added that the intent of the programme is to proliferate blockchain adoption to a much broader set of industries beyond just finance. This includes “levelling up” industry manpower and know-how. Lew said these efforts will allow Singapore to build a strong blockchain ecosystem and establish its role as a Trust Hub.

Peter Ong, chairman, Enterprise Singapore, added that COVID-19 has emphasised the need for trusted and reliable business systems in the new digital world. “Blockchain technology helps to embed trust in applications spanning logistics and supply chains, 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 said.

Meanwhile, Low Teck Seng, CEO of National Research Foundation Singapore said as blockchain technology is increasingly playing an important role in industrial transformation and digital finance, the programme will help companies accelerate their technology adoption and be ready for the next phase of digital evolution.

This investment comes two months after IMDA launched a programme to hire and train Singaporeans for tech-related jobs. Partnering with Shopee's parent firm Sea, the programme is said to benefit 500 Singaporeans, comprising 400 entry-level and 100 mid-career. Trainees who complete the programme will be equipped in the eCommerce and tech industry, and will be ready to take on roles such as data/business analysts, product managers, software engineers and user interface/user experience designers.

IMDA has also invested in the media sector, most recently partnering with audiobook entertainment creator Audible and multimedia company KC Global Media Singapore. These partnerships will see IMDA rolling out a series of new initiatives and capability development programmes aimed to develop innovative content, nurture local media talent, and cultivate fresh opportunities for international collaborations. The programmes are said to further strengthen the competitiveness of Singapore’s media ecosystem.

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