Today Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) announced the launch of the Blockchain for Trade & Connectivity (BTC) Network. Not to be confused with Bitcoin, the BTC Network enables blockchains to interoperate with each other as well as other technologies such as IoT. Partners in the initiative include China’s Blockchain Based-Service Network (BSN), Global E-Trade Services (GeTS), and public business blockchain VeChain.
The announcement was made on the first day of the Singapore Week of Innovation and TeCHnology (SWITCH),
As Singapore is one of the world’s primary hubs for commodities trading, the network aims to test blockchain solutions with digital trading platforms, supply chain companies, and other technology firms. This is to improve blockchain interoperability with existing networks and systems, integrating networks and technologies all across Asia. The solution will target SMEs.
VeChain has already hashed and uploaded the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the six commercial partners onto its blockchain as a sign of assurance in blockchain’s immutability. BTC Network will integrate with the BSN project backed by the State Information Center of China (SIC), which aims to help individuals and small businesses to adopt blockchain.
“The most critical element necessary for trade facilitation is interoperability,” said Prof. Michael Sung, Co-Director Fudan Fanhai Fintech Research Center, Fudan University via email. “There are numerous trade facilitation/trade finance platforms that have already been developed, but in most of these cases there is limited scaled use cases thus far since it requires both counterparties to be on the same platform. Blockchain interoperability platforms such as the BSN can interconnect between these various platforms and provide the ability to connect opportunities together such that these platforms can achieve critical mass.”
Additionally, the BTC Network will be integrated with Singapore-backed trade network GeTS, which has major reach across Asia and has a blockchain document verification feature. Plus, the network involves the Commodities Intelligence Centre (CIC), a physical commodities trading platform partly backed by GeTS and SGX.
The need for digitalization has been rapidly realized in countries all around the world due to the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. This blockchain project, supported by Singapore’s National Research Foundation, aims to remove trade barriers for a better connected and secure digital trading future.
“Assuring reliable supply chains and trusted connectivity to the world are key considerations that will maintain our status as a trade and connectivity hub,” said Satvinder Singh, ESG’s Assistent CEO. “Through the BTC network, we can connect enterprises with Institutes of Higher Learning, to co-create or adopt digital solutions that will promote greater efficiency and transparency across global supply chains.”
Singapore already has significant activities in the blockchain and digital assets space. It set up TradeTrust to help develop standards so that trade blockchains can become interoperable. The project has received the endorsement from the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and numerous major enterprises and it has created some open source technical implementations.
Another initiative from Enterprise Singapore is the recently launched Singapore Trade Finance Registry (TFR) that includes 14 banks such as Standard Chartered and DBS. It aims to prevent trade finance fraud following several high profile collapses of commodities traders.