Asia Business Channel

Singapore offers funding to boost Blockchain adoption

The government of Singapore will offer financial incentives in order to grow the blockchain ecosystem in the country. According to media reports, the Singapore Ministry of Communications and Information, Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), will provide seed funding to players in the ICT and media sectors. This is with a view of incentivizing them to develop platforms which link special interest groups in the blockchain space, solution providers as well as other related groups.

In order to obtain seed funding from the IMDA, the platforms to be developed will be required to meet various criteria that the IMDA has established and this includes a capacity to connect with other blockchain communities spread across the globe.

Expanding Beyond Finance

In Singapore blockchain adoption has largely been restricted to the financial sector and there are few, if any, large-scale successful cases that exist outside banking and insurance. In the IMDA’s view, this has hampered the adoption of blockchain in other sectors due to lack of interoperability.

The IMDA said in a statement: “This has resulted in the industry showing signs of siloed, specialised blockchain solutions rather than interoperable network blockchains, which would deliver the most benefit to users.”

Singapore has a national goal to become a “Smart Nation.” In order to reach its goal the government has come up with various other initiatives aimed at boosting the country’s blockchain ecosystem.

As one example of the governments commitment, earlier this year, the IMDA launched the “Singapore Blockchain Challenge” whose goal is to incentivize firms to develop pioneering solutions that go beyond financial applications using distributed ledger technology. Through the Blockchain Challenge, participating firms are required to come up with either Proofs-of-concept or Minimum Viable Products that solve particular problems.

As well as its own projects, three months ago, a fund to assist tech firms in sectors such as blockchain was launched jointly by the governments of Singapore and China. Known as the China-Singapore ICM Joint Innovation Development Fund, the sectors that the initiative sought to target were in ICT and Media and hence the initials ICM.

The Singapore government has also undertaken other pro-blockchain initiatives including a move by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) to grant firms in the FinTech space, including blockchain companies, special treatment when awarding patents. Rather than having these companies wait the usual two years, the IPOS announced in April that the waiting period would be cut to six months.

Daren Tang, the CEO of IPOS said this would serve to assist Singaporean fintech firms to compete globally. Tang said: “By significantly reducing the time needed for grant of a FinTech patent, our innovative enterprises will be able to compete effectively through their intellectual property and use these intellectual assets to scale up and enter the world’s market.”

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