The Business Times in Singapore, announced on 22nd November, “ the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) is putting up seed funding for industry players to develop platforms that connect blockchain special interest groups, solution providers and other related services providers.”
The IMDA comes under Singapore’s Ministry of Communications and Information, and will offer seed funding to platforms in the media and ICT sector. The aim is to incentivise businesses in this sector to build platforms, which link special interest groups in the blockchain space, as well as solution providers and other related groups.
The platforms must meet certain criteria in order to obtain IMDA seed funding, and this includes a capacity to connect with other blockchain communities globally, not just in Singapore.
As the IMDA pointed out in its press release, up until now blockchain adoption has primarily been the preserve of the fintech sector and there are few, if any, large-scale successful cases that exist outside banking and insurance. IMDA takes the view that this has hampered blockchain adoption due to a lack of interoperability. The IMDA said:“This has resulted in the industry showing signs of siloed, specialised blockchain solutions rather than interoperable network blockchains, which would deliver the most benefit to users.”
Singapore — the Smart Nation
Singapore has a goal of becoming a smart nation and this initiative plays a role in achieving its aim. It has devised other initiatives aimed at boosting the country’s blockchain ecosystem and earlier in 2018, the IMDA had already launched the Blockchain Challenge with a goal of incentivising firms to develop pioneering solutions that go beyond financial applications using distributed ledger technology. This recent announcement takes it a step further.
Other pro-blockchain initiatives undertaken by Singapore include a move by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) to grant firms in the fintech space, including blockchain companies, special treatment when awarding patents. This reduced the patent waiting time from two years to six months. According to Daren Tang, the CEO of IPOS, this would assist Singapore-based fintech firms to compete globally:
“By significantly reducing the time needed for grant of a fintech patent, our innovative enterprises will be able to compete effectively through their intellectual property and use these intellectual assets to scale up and enter the world’s market.”