Blockchain in Singapore is to be boosted by a new seed fund, the capital will be provided by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) to create a blockchain engagement platform, alongside its second Blockchain Challenge.
The IMDA is a statutory board in the Singapore government and part of the Ministry of Communications and Information. According to a local media outlet the Straits Times, the IMDA press statement described an absence of sweeping successful blockchain use cases outside of fintech that, in tandem with its nascent state, are hindering the technology breaking in to mainstream adoption, saying:
“End-user companies hence have a lack of established business models on how to work together using blockchain… This has resulted in the industry showing signs of siloed, specialized blockchain solutions rather than interoperable network blockchains, which would deliver the most benefit to users.”
There is a particular set of criteria that must be met in order to receive the seed funding on offer. Companies will need to develop an overarching blockchain platform, one that connects blockchain specialist groups, companies interested in the space, solution providers and so on with local and international communities. It is also expected that the platform will feature blockchain adoption guides for enterprises, a Singapore blockchain community directory.
The second IMDA Blockchain Challenge has been announced, inviting proposals for solutions to business challenges utilizing distributed ledger technology (DLT).
As written on the official web page, participants in the challenge are required to produce “successful Minimum Viable Products (MVPs) or Proofs-of-concept (POCs) solving industry-facing challenges”.
These can be applied to two categories: “Enterprise – Projects that have the potential to improve operational efficiency, e.g. process enhancement, automation of manual tasks, reduction of reconciliation tasks; or Transformation – Projects that have the potential to enable business model innovation, or have implications in how businesses, Government and society interact, and are associated with institutional change.”
Earlier this year, IMDA hosted Singapore’s first Blockchain Challenge as a means to further awareness and adoption of the technology by exploring its potential in a competitive and incentivized format, something that is typically seen in hackathons.
This latest bid to expand the blockchain ecosystem in Singapore is part of a series of recent endeavors to foster the sector, businesses, as well as establish accommodating regulations.
Interestingly, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the nation’s financial regulator, recently declared its support for cryptocurrencies firms who were struggling to set up traditional bank accounts. The issue that is reportedly stifling domestic businesses is a result of banks and lenders being overcautious with crypto firms and declining services, which due to nefarious activities such as money laundering that are tied to digital currencies.
In addition, furthering the city-state’s seemingly pro-blockchain stance is the MAS’s recent decision to not classify and regulate all tokens as securities. Unlike the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of the United States, the MAS will divide classifications into three groups: utility tokens, payment tokens, and securities tokens in accordance with the MAS’s 2017 guidelines for cryptocurrency startups.
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