Singapore has poised itself as a hub for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in Asia, with more blockchain-based startups formed in the city state than in Switzerland, which is known as the hub of crypto in Europe.
At the 2020 Singapore FinTech festival, PwC Singapore conducted a survey to assess the industry development and results showed that blockchain ranks among three top technology trends in Singapore.
The survey also ranked Singapore as a leader for blockchain in the Asia Pacific region.
However, the same survey revealed that the majority of respondents feel that the awareness around blockchain technology is still very much lacking — this is a primary challenge in propelling the industry development forward.
In another PwC’s ongoing global blockchain survey, it is found that “lack of understanding” contributes to the trust gap in the blockchain mass adoption and growth. In fact, many executives and the average public still have no idea what blockchain really is and how it is changing all facets of business.
Most people still confuse cryptocurrency with blockchain, thinking that these terms are synonymous.
A Deloitte’s global blockchain survey showed that most people heard of blockchain only through its association to bitcoin.
Currently, the most renowned blockchain-based companies in Singapore are all cryptocurrency trading platforms such as Coinhako and Binance. This shows that the average public tends to associate the industry with volatile and speculative trading assets with no other use case in mind.
However, plenty of blockchain-based companies are actually flourishing in Singapore, outside of decentralised finance and financial applications.
To give you a better idea on blockchain use cases, here are three under-the-radar blockchain-based companies in Singapore that you should know about:
1. Yojee – Logistics Software
Founded in 2015, Yojee is a platform that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and a blockchain-based system to automate and improve the security of logistics and supply-chain operations.
This ranges from optimising fleet schedule; managing tracking, pickup, and delivery; to organising invoicing, job allocation and driver rating.
Machine learning is used to constantly analyse and improve the efficiency of all aspects of operations, especially for a more seamless logistics planning and ensuring the best allocation of jobs between drivers and delivery partners.
When it comes to blockchain application, Yojee uses decentralised smart contracts to track, archive, and verify transactions as well deliveries securely without any intermediary’s involvement or time loss.
When conditions and agreement of partnerships in the blockchain contracts are met and verified, a network of computers will execute automated actions. The contracts are securely encrypted and shared transparently between all parties involved.
As of 2017, Yojee has a client portfolio of 70 leading e-commerce sites in Southeast Asia.
According to its CEO Ed Clarke, companies that use Yojee have been able to reduce their delivery times from three days to the same day, in some cases.
The company also has plans to develop driverless trucks, as well as further automate their services and offerings, to keep pace with other rivals in the logistics industry.
2. Electrify – A Retail Marketplace For Energy
Since 2001, Singapore has worked on a steady campaign to democratise the electricity market, thus allowing consumers more options to manage their energy cost.
However, it was only in April 2018 that Singapore announced plans to deregulate the electricity market.
Electrify saw this opportunity to become the first retail marketplace for energy in Singapore. Founded in 2017, it allows consumers to compare the available options on a single platform without having to approach individual retailers.
Consumers can simply sign up with an Electrify account, submit their energy needs, and the system will then match them with relevant providers to create the most suitable energy subscription plan.
They have another special product for solar energy — a peer-to-peer energy trading platform that connects owners of rooftop solar panels to consumers. This way, owners can earn revenue from their excess energy production while consumers can purchase a lower-cost energy supply.
Electrify started adopting blockchain technology in 2018 to improve the security, transparency, and efficiency of Electricity Marketplace and Synergy.
With smart contracts built on blockchain technology, consumers can secure and authorise transactions directly with providers, removing cost associated with middleman. Consumers can also choose to transact using Electrify’s cryptocurrency ELEC.
That same year, Electrify raised US$30 million through token sales. Founders Julius Tan and Martin Lim said that that they plan to use the funding to expand across Asia Pacific, where countries are starting to liberalise their electricity market as well.
3. Bluzelle – Peer-To-Peer Data Storage Sharing
Founded in 2014 by Pavel Bains and Neeraj Murarka, Bluzelle is touted as the “Airbnb of data space“.
Its platform allows users to get paid to share extra space on their computer that they don’t need to willing buyers. In short, they revolutionise the world of data storage with blockchain technology.
Using a decentralised database system, users of Bluzelle can interact with different computers and nodes directly to store their data. Anyone with a reliable Internet connection and a reasonably-powered computer will be able to run a Bluzelle node, potentially earning a passive income in the process.
This decentralisation eliminates the risk of downtime and central points failure as users can now have multiple node storage points without the need of a central intermediary.
Computing power workload is spread across multiple points and this speeds up the performance of computing operations. In addition, it also reduces the risk of cyberattack — if one node gets hacked, only a fraction of data or information will be stolen.
Users of Bluzelle can also transact using secure and transparent smart contracts, in which providers and customers can compensate each other with Bluezelle’s token BLZ.
Bluzelle has expanded the functionality of smart contracts to generate “consensus entity” — a function that allows all users to vote securely to decide the arbitrary value of pricing in data storage. Other non-blockchain use cases include gaming network content and data storage.
Moving forward, Bluzelle will continue to develop more use cases for non-blockchain projects. It has pledged to support projects that apply its technology for censorship resistance.
The Blockchain Potential Is Limitless
As evident from the overview of the startups above, we are currently only scratching the surface of blockchain technology development.
What began as the basis of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, blockchain technology is now spreading across a wave of industries.
For instance, Daimler has partnered with Singapore-based Ocean Protocol, a decentralised data exchange, to explore how blockchain could be used to share supply chain data among its manufacturing hubs and partners.
Airline loyalty is another area where blockchain is already being executed. Singapore Airlines’ KrisPay is a digital wallet built on a blockchain that securely turns miles into cryptocurrency that can be used with merchant partners.
While the mass adoption of the technology still has a long way to go in Singapore, it’s clear to see that the future potential of blockchain application is limitless.
Featured Image Credit: CryptoSight