IBM will set up its first research center for blockchain technology in Singapore, as the island city-state seeks to establish itself as the world’s capital for banking innovation and smart finance, the company announced.
In a release, the company said it was partnering with Singapore’s Economic Development Board and its central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, to launch the Center for Blockchain Innovation.
“IBM researchers will work with government, industries and academia to develop applications and solutions which are based on enterprise blockchain, cybersecurity, and cognitive computing technologies … to grow new markets in finance and trade,” the company said.
“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,” said Robert Morris, vice president of global labs for IBM Research.
Morris said that blockchain — the technology that underlies the cryptocurrency bitcoin — has “profound and disruptive implications in a range of settings including finance, banking, IoT, health care, supply chains, manufacturing, technology, government, the legal system and more.”
The center will allow companies across multiple sectors “to partner with IBM in co-creating cutting edge digital solutions for global markets from Singapore,” said Kiren Kumar of the EDB.
The center will initially focus on trade — using blockchain to improve efficiency and integrity of multiparty trade finance transactions. And the work is in line with MAS’ vision to develop Singapore as the world’s smart finance capital.
“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 the bank.
Over the next three years, the company said, the center is expected to deliver “a number of technology pilots across the finance and trade industries,” building on IBM’s previous work with the Linux Foundation Hyperledger platform. The center’s staff will be recruited in Singapore and include researchers from IBM worldwide.