Singapore is big on blockchain, amid the city state’s Smart Nation Push. It is running through a slew of blockchain initiatives to make Singapore the blockchain hub of the world.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP), the leading higher education institution, announced back in May that it has joined up with Attores, UOB FinLab’s blockchain start up. Students will be awarded digital certificates called Diploma Plus Certificates, which will speed up their career and university applications and it is directly displayed on the students’ LinkedIn profiles.
This move is the first among local polytechnics. Because of blockchain technology, potential employers or university admissions personnel will be able to validate the authenticity of the certificate with great ease. If it is successful, the plan is to extend it to all of NP’s Diploma Certificates.
Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s blockchain initiative is in line with Singapore’s efforts to become a Smart Nation. They aren’t the only ones either! Singapore’s decision makers are incorporating blockchain in to the lives of ordinary Singaporeans in various ways.
From cheaper power to secure tenant agreements
Blockchain, also known as distributed ledger technology (DLT), is a digital database that is synchronised and shared across many sites, networks and countries.
This tech has now extended to Singapore’s property industry. Because of blockchain, real estate transactions can be more transparent, with all the required paperwork such as titles, contracts and agreements digitised and secured using blockchain technology.
Averspace is a platform that lists properties for rent and for sale, connecting buyers and sellers and brokering sales using digitised contracts secured by blockchain. It is the first of its kind in Singapore and it enables home owners and tenants to sign their digital tenancy agreements on their smartphone. Once signed it is then stored safely and securely. A PDF copy of the tenancy agreement is also sent to both parties.
This technology saves users thousands of dollars in real estate commission and fees. Averspace is supported by Attores and they also back Popety, a directory of property listings that are maintained by blockchain technology.
In May, utilities provider SP Group announced that it is collaborating with various global energy players to develop blockchain solutions which will save customers money and help to drive greater integration of renewable energy sources on the electricity grid.
The energy sector could be transformed by blockchain technology by lowering the cost of transactions, which will reduce the cost of utility bills. For consumers, it allows energy devices such as heating, ventilation and cooling systems, electric vehicles and batteries to transact with each other. While supporting utilities and grid operators to integrate more renewable sources at a much lower cost. Blockchain technology could also provide higher levels of cyber security for the industry.
Blockchain challenges in Singapore
There are still obstacles for Singapore’s drive to integrate blockchain in certain areas. One such area is finance, and to retain Singapore’s reputation as a finance hub. This topic is being taken seriously by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
In March, the MAS concluded a proof-of-concept project to conduct inter-bank payments using distributed ledger technology (DLT). The project was formed in partnership with R3 and a consortium of other financial institutions.
The project was begun because of the need to explore the use of blockchain in financial transactions. Project Ubin evaluated the implications of having a tokenised form of the SGD on a distributed ledger and its potential benefits to Singapore’s financial ecosystem. If blockchain-based inter-bank payments are successful, it could lead to faster settlements in securities and bond trading.
Credit risk was a liability that occurred during the study. Project Ubin stated in a report that an appropriate legal structure is required to ensure that the transfer of digital SGD is equivalent to a full and irreversible transfer of the underlying claim on the central bank’s currency. This would ensure that there is no credit risk associated with the creation, distribution, use or redemption of the digital SGD.
There is an unprecedented push for the adoption of blockchain led by Singapore’s government. Singapore is clearly on their way to being at the forefront of the technology and possibly an example on how blockchain can work to improve the lives of its citizens.
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