IBM has divulged plans to establish the first IBM Center for Blockchain Innovation in Singapore. The center’s first project will focus on trade solutions using Blockchain to improve efficiency of multi-party trade finance processes and transactions.
In the first collaboration of its kind with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), IBM Researchers will work with government, industries and academia to develop applications and solutions which are based on enterprise blockchain, cyber-security, and cognitive computing technologies.
In addition to drawing from the expertise in the Singaporean talent pool and that of the IBM Research network, the center will also engage with small- and medium-sized enterprises to create new applications and grow new markets in finance and trade.
“This is IBM’s first collaboration with the private sector and multiple government agencies within the same country to explore the use of Blockchain and cognitive technologies to improve business transactions across several different industries,” says Robert Morris, Vice President, Global Labs, IBM Research.
“Now with new cloud services that make these technologies more accessible, leaders from all industries are beginning to take note of the resulting profound and disruptive implications in a range of settings including finance, banking, IoT, healthcare, supply chains, manufacturing, technology, government, the legal system, and more.”
Kiren Kumar, Executive Director, Infocomms and Media, EDB, says the IBM Center for Blockchain Innovation will allow companies across industries to partner with IBM in co-creating cutting edge digital solutions for global markets from Singapore.
The first projects for the Center will focus on trade solutions using Blockchain to improve efficiency of multi-party trade finance processes and transactions. The solutions and associated Blockchain platform will be designed and developed in Singapore.
These projects, which could also involve global banks and emerging financial technology companies known as "FinTechs", are aligned with the vision of MAS, Singapore's Central Bank, to further develop Singapore as a Smart Financial Center.
“The financial sector is well-placed to play a leading role in Singapore’s vision of being a Smart Nation. Given that technology is a key enabler of financial services, MAS is pleased to continue to work with companies like IBM to promote technology innovation in finance, and encourage the adoption of safe and efficient technology with the financial industry,” said Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer of MAS.
Connecting fintech with trade and logistics
IBM will also work with the PSA Singapore Terminals, the world's largest container transhipment port, and others to create a trade ecosystem which connects emerging financial technologies with the physical world of global trade and logistics. This will lead to new business models and attract more global trade and finance to Singapore.
“We will work with IBM and other partners, as well as through our new incubator program PSA unboXed, to explore the development and use of Blockchain technology for trade, finance, and logistics,” says Tan Chong Meng, Group CEO, PSA International.
“These are fields that we can add value to with our expertise as a hub port operator in Singapore and around the world. We believe new technologies such as Blockchain have the potential to reinvent multi-party business transactions and that Singapore is the right innovation hub to carry out field trials of such technologies across a variety of uses.”
Over the next three years, the innovation center is expected to deliver a number of technology pilots across the finance and trade industries. These projects will build on IBM’s work with the Linux Foundation Hyperledger platform. The innovation center will be staffed with technical talent from Singapore as well as researchers from IBM Research Labs worldwide.