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Singapore blockchain start-ups go full speed ahead

Singapore blockchain start-ups go full speed ahead

The explosion of blockchain-related start-ups in Singapore is showing no signs of letting up as the city-state looks to ease regulations around their business models.

On Tuesday, Singapore-based fintech start-up Chynge launched a decentralised remittance platform for cross-border transfers built on the Stellar blockchain protocol.

How does it work? Once the sender places legal tender on the platform, it is converted into Chynge’s XCLP tokens to be recorded on a distributed ledger. The tokens are then transmitted over to the country of the recipient, where they are converted into local currency.

Chynge’s destination markets include Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, India and Bangladesh, where it has partnered with the likes of Philippines National Bank, United Overseas Bank and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.

The start-up has opened bank accounts containing local currency in each target markets for liquidity, avoiding costs of transmitting funds from one country to the other and removing the risk of currency depreciation.

Commenting on the launch, Chynge founder and CEO Joe Tusin said: ‘Digital technology has allowed us to accelerate the growth towards financial inclusion for everyone in the world.

‘A cumbersome remittance service with extra costs affects people in developing countries most severely.’

While the end goal is financial inclusion, the start-up is also discussions with high-net-worth cryptocurrency buyers, Tusin told Citywire Asia.

The platform has remittance licences in Singapore and Hong Kong, and is also currently in talks with other regulators in the European Union and Asia Pacific.

The launch comes at a time when Singapore’s regulator, the Monetary Authority of Singapore, is re-thinking the market operator regime to make it easier for blockchain companies and peer-to-peer trading platforms to operate.

Published on 22 May, the proposal is currently under consultation and is expected to create a tiered framework, reducing the regulatory burdens on smaller and less risky companies.

Data privacy

Blockchain and cryptocurrency proponents often tout democratisation and financial inclusion as the biggest benefits of the technology, as it reduces the need for intermediaries like banks.

Another key advantage identified by industry players is data privacy and security, and some start-ups in Singapore are targeting that aspect of distributed ledger technology.

For instance, Singapore-based Decentralized Accessible Content Chain (DACC) conducted a private token sale in the first week of June and saw massive interest from institutional and private investors.

The platform is targeted at data privacy for the digital media industry, giving users and content creators methods to securely initiate, store and manage access permissions to their data and intellectual property.

The token sale was oversubscribed, garnering over 40,000 ETH worth of transactions for its DACC tokens instead of an initial target of 14,000 ETH.

As compared to current practices where ownership of user data is held by the enterprise, blockchain enables the creation of a self-sovereign identity, where individuals control their own identities and data, Nicole Nguyen, Asia-Pacific head of research & development firm Infinity Blockchain Ventures said in a note.

‘Blockchain may pave the road to a future where large scale cyber breaches involving millions of stolen personal identities could be a thing of the past,’ she concluded.

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