The Business Times

Singapore a key hub for blockchain research and commercialisation: report

Published Mon, Dec 7, 2020 · 08:48 AM

SINGAPORE has produced the highest number of blockchain research publications in Asean and the third highest in the world, thanks to contributions from both academic institutions and the private sector.

This is according to the Singapore Blockchain Ecosystem Report 2020, launched on Monday at this year's Singapore FinTech Festival x Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SFF x Switch).

The report is co-presented by OpenNodes, Temasek, IBM, PwC Singapore, EY and SGTech, and supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority and the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

For its size, Singapore has produced nearly 28 blockchain-related publications per million resident population, which is one of the highest in the world.

In addition, the quality of such research in Singapore is also notable, the report found. The Republic ranks sixth place globally among all blockchain-related publications identified as highly-cited in their field by citation database, Web of Science. The average number of citations for blockchain publications from Singapore is also one of the highest in the world, significantly ahead of other countries like the US.

To assess the developments of blockchain-related activities in Singapore, PwC Singapore conducted a survey for the report. Results showed that blockchain emerged as one of the top three technology trends in Singapore for 2021, with 70 per cent of the respondents showing support for the technology. The survey also ranked Singapore among the leading countries for blockchain in the Asia-Pacific region.

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In particular, it highlighted the optimism for the growth of blockchain in Singapore, as nearly half the survey respondents believed the growth of blockchain technology will accelerate with more applications and opportunities.

Said Pradyumna Agrawal, director of investments (blockchain) at Temasek: "We are heartened to see the growth of the ecosystem and the many positive outcomes from industry efforts to bring parties together. These efforts reaffirm our commitment towards areas that are important to us - digital identity and credentials, programmable money and digital assets."

Interestingly, more blockchain startups are progressing towards mature funding stages, pointing towards the vibrancy of the blockchain startup ecosystem, the report noted.

Asset tracking and traceability were the most popular applications of blockchain, with more than half of the respondents selecting them as their use cases in the survey, followed by digital tokens. This reflects the growing trend of companies using blockchain for supply chain improvements.

Of the respondents not currently engaged in blockchain initiatives, the majority (77 per cent) believe that more awareness on its applications and use cases would encourage their organisation to consider using such technology.

Separately, the report also shows how Covid-19 has accelerated the application of blockchain technology, which is being used to verify health credentials amid the pandemic.

Said Ng Yi Ming, managing partner at OpenNodes: "The blockchain field is abuzz with a lot of activity and innovations, more so after the pandemic. Use cases like verifiable digital health passports leveraging blockchain technology will go a long way in tackling the travel challenges."


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