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IBM and NUS Announce FinTech and Blockchain Collaboration in Singapore

By Ken Briodagh April 25, 2017

The National University of Singapore (NUS) School of Computing and the IBM Center for Blockchain Innovation (ICBI), a part of IBM Research, recently announced that they are collaborating to jointly develop a training module on financial technology, in order to better equip students with knowledge and skill sets applicable to blockchain and the IoT.

According to studies by IBM's Institute of Business Value, the banking, healthcare and government industries are investing heavily in blockchain, and commercial solutions are expected to be in place in the next few years. The research indicated that 15 percent of banks and 14 percent of financial market institutions intend to implement full-scale, commercial blockchain solutions in 2017, and as many as 65 percent of banks are expecting to have blockchain solutions in production in the next three years.

Healthcare institutions are going all the way, too, by investing heavily in blockchain pilots, with nine in ten respondents planning to invest by 2018 across all business areas IBM surveyed them about. Nine in ten government organizations surveyed, reported plans to invest in blockchain for use in financial transaction management, asset management, contract management and regulatory compliance by 2018.

In Singapore, the government's strategic goal to become a Smart Financial Center has driven the city toward blockchain. Through its Financial Sector Technology & Innovation (FSTI) scheme, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has committed $157 million over a five-year period to provide support for the creation of a vibrant fintech ecosystem, according to a recent release. Among the planned projects is a decentralized record-keeping system based on blockchain technology aimed at preventing duplicate invoicing in trade finance.

This new module on financial technology is expected to be introduced in January 2018, and will focus on blockchain and distributed ledger technologies. It seeks to equip students with an understanding of the fundamentals of the technology behind distributed ledgers, and its diverse use cases, from banking to digital currencies to supply chain management. NUS faculty members reportedly will co-develop the curriculum of the new module with IBM researchers at ICBI to enable students to learn about the latest developments in blockchain technology, and encourage them to contribute to developing the technology further. 

“Blockchain is one of the most disruptive technologies in computing today, and it is impacting many industries including financial services, trade, healthcare and supply chain. This collaboration with the National University of Singapore School of Computing will help prepare a future workforce that is born on blockchain, ready to implement, improve and innovate: core skills required for Singapore to achieve its vision as a Smart Financial Centre and Smart Nation,” said Robert Morris, Vice President Global Labs, IBM Research.

Under the collaboration, ICBI will provide technology support in the form of access via the IBM Cloud to the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain framework. IBM is an early contributor Hyperledger, a Linux Foundation project, which now contains more than 129 member organizations.

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