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A look at the highlights of SFF 2021, which saw launch of MAS tech and innovation initiatives

The Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) 2021 was certainly a whirlwind event, and we’ve learnt so much. From the future of money, finance and the Internet to the blockchain-based Partior to building a fintech unicorn, it was indeed a fruitful week for everyone involved.

The sixth edition of the Singapore FinTech Festival (SFF) with the theme “Web 3.0 and its impact on financial services” was recently concluded on November 12.

The week-long event attracted 60,000 attendees, representing a 33% year-on-year growth.

Given the realities of Covid-19, SFF took a hybrid approach with in-person panels and virtual broadcasts and managed to draw over 2 million views.

Viewership was extended with live broadcasts on local and international television networks and social media. Of the more than 160 countries represented, 52 per cent of the registrations came from outside of Singapore.

This reflects the global appeal of the Web 3.0 theme and the quality of the content.

SFF 2021 also saw participation from over 7,500 organisations and featured more than 700 speakers who shared insights across 240 hours of content.

Here is a quick recap of the festival as we wait for its return next year on November 7 to 11.

A platform for continued learning

SFF 2021 also introduced a Web 3.0 certification programme to support learning, development and up-skilling in Web 3.0 focus areas.

Over 5,000 knowledge certificates were awarded digitally via blockchain technology to participants from over 80 countries.

The certificates were issued by The Asian Institute of Digital Finance in partnership with the National University of Singapore. More knowledge certificates are expected to be awarded as the programme continues until September 30 2022.

Also new this year was a dedicated SME Day where SME leaders and academics shared practical learnings on building strong and resilient businesses for the future.

SME Day participants received a Digital Certificate of Knowledge. As of November 14 2021, 84 per cent of SME Day learners successfully earned a knowledge certificate.

In collaboration with Digital Pilipinas in the Philippines, SFF 2021 supported the local community by developing the I-ITERATE Digital Knowledge Certification. This programme focused on digital infrastructure to support Open Finance, RegTech, Risk & Cybersecurity, and InsurTech & HealthTech.

A new initiative launched at SFF 2021 is ATOMS, a not-for-profit initiative that provides a community where entrepreneurs connect and share meaningful insights.

During SFF 2021, ATOMS featured more than 45 short-form videos across Asia-Pacific, USA, and Northern Europe, in which entrepreneurs can listen to and learn from in 120-second, bite-sized videos via a free mobile app.

MAS’ tech and innovation initiatives

Image Credit: PYMNTS

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the National AI Office (NAIO) launched the National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Programme in Finance.

This builds deep AI capabilities within Singapore’s financial sector to strengthen customer service, risk management, and business competitiveness.

MAS and the Smart Nation and Digital Government Group (SNDGG) launched the second phase of the Singapore Financial Data Exchange (SGFinDex). This allows individuals to view information on their investment holdings at The Central Depository as part of their consolidated financial position.

Another project MAS announced is Sandbox Plus, which enhances the MAS FinTech Regulatory Sandbox framework to further catalyse financial innovation and FinTech adoption.

The Retail Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) paper outlines MAS’s preliminary assessment of the economic case for a retail CBDC in Singapore and its potential implications for financial stability and monetary policy.

SFF 2021 also saw the launch of two innovation challenges to solve industry problems.

The Global CBDC Challenge seeks to identify and develop retail CBDC solutions that increase payment efficiencies and improve financial inclusion.

Meanwhile. the Global Veritas Challenge aims to address key challenges in validating the fairness of AI solutions for specific banking use cases.

SFF 2021 also celebrated the winning solutions of the Global FinTech Hackcelerator, the SFF Global FinTech Awards and the Most Innovative FinTech e-Gifting Award.

Industry collaborations and international co-operation initiatives

During SFF 2021, there were several industry collaborations and initiatives to drive innovation in the future of finance.

MAS announced its partnership with the industry to pilot four digital platforms under Project Greenprint to address the financial sector’s needs for good data on sustainability.

There is ChekFin on APIX, where it is a decentralised credentials platform to enable financial institutions to obtain verified credentials of FinTech firms, such as business references, awards obtained, and investor funding records.

ChekFin is a partnership among the ASEAN Financial Innovation Network, BCG FinTech Control Tower, and Affinidi, with MAS as a founding partner.

Image Credit: fxnewsgroup.com

NETS also announced the integration of Alipay+ for better cross-border digital payment. This is to enhance local merchants’ cross-border digital payments capabilities, and Western Union announced that it is supporting cross-border digital money movement with Singtel’s Dash.

Mastercard launched the world’s first “Buy Now, Pay Later” commercial card solution for small business financing in APAC.

Several important international cooperation initiatives were also announced at SFF 2021.

MAS and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas signed an enhanced FinTech Cooperation Agreement to facilitate interoperable payments between Singapore and the Philippines.

Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer, in cooperation with finance.swiss, SFF and Elevandi announced the Europe-Asia FinTech Forum in Switzerland.

This Forum will build a bridge between Asia and Europe and bring together the very best technologists with investors and leaders to develop innovative ideas and inclusive solutions.

SFF 2021 added new partners such as the World Economic Forum and a continued partnership with the Milken Institute.

Featured Image Credit: Screenshot by Vulcan Post

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