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Singapore launches the first blockchain challenge to boost innovation

To boost innovation and adoption of blockchain technology beyond fintech, Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) launched its very first Blockchain Challenge.

“To ensure every business is a digital business, Singapore’s digital economy requires technologies which can accelerate sector transformation. Through the IMDA Blockchain Challenge, we will drive awareness and spur development and adoption of this promising technology throughout our economy, including non-fintech segments,” said Mr Philip Heah, Senior Director (Sectoral Transformation) at IMDA.

According to IMDA’s press release, blockchain as a form of distributed ledger technology has the potential to accelerate Singapore’s transformation into a digital economy.

Blockchain technology is expected to grow quickly, with a potential compound annual growth rate of up to about 79% from 2017 to 2022. While blockchain technologies are mostly centred in the fintech space, the technology has room to be applied across other sectors as well.

Through blockchain, companies from food suppliers to entertainment and media companies can lower costs, expand connections, and overhaul their business models. The technology can also be applied to manage records for healthcare or property.

As such, IMDA’s Blockchain Challenge seeks to accelerate the development of such solutions, and identify possible use cases with greater commercial development.

As the strategic partner for this Challenge, SGInnovate will be providing IMDA with access to its blockchain community networks. These networks represent potential partners and participants for the Challenge, where they may collectively drive exploratory solutions.

Participants are invited to choose from 2 project categories to pitch a potential solution: (1) Enterprise or (2) Transformation.

The Enterprise category seeks projects that have the potential to improve operational efficiency, e.g. process enhancement, automation of manual tasks, reduction of reconciliation tasks.

The Transformation category seeks projects that have the potential to enable business model innovation, or have implications in how businesses, Government and society interact, and are associated with institutional change.

Shortlisted projects must then work on a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) or Proof-of-Concept (POC), with successful projects receiving prizes of S$50,000 for Enterprise or S$100,000 for Transformation.

Interested applicants may apply online. The first round of proposals will close on 28 May 2018.

Separate to the challenge, IMDA is also keen to work with (a) companies interested in trialling blockchain or distributed ledger technology within their environment for further use case identification and sector identification; (b) blockchain or distributed ledger technology companies who wish to work with IMDA. Such companies may reach out to IMDA.

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