It doesn’t come as a surprise that Singapore is home to numerous promising and well-funded blockchain startups. After all, its business and tech-friendly policies helped it earn a spot among the top cities for startups and may even help it become a leader in blockchain disruption in the Asian region.
Recently, researchers discovered that the global blockchain market could surpass $7.7 billion come 2024, due in part to the growth of the financial sector in India and China, therefore it is wise to have a friendly regulatory and financial environment. Singapore will be able to attract profitable investments and opportunities in the future if it positions itself as a blockchain hub. The government seems pretty aware of this, as shown by its recent actions.
Just this week, the Monetary Authority of Singapore proposed for the revision of regulatory standards to include blockchain-based decentralized exchanges. Singapore’s Central Bank is also exploring blockchain applications for clearing and settling payments and securities. Furthermore, there are talks of putting the national currency on the blockchain too. In April, the Intellectual Property Office announced it would expedite the patent process for fintech companies, particularly those making blockchain applications.
Singapore also has a strong academic environment, which is embracing the application of blockchain technology as well. The National University of Singapore (NUS) recently announced its partnership with IBM to develop a curriculum focused on blockchain and distributed ledger technology.
Blockchain startup Zilliqa was created from NUS. Zilliqa’s founders created a hyper-efficient, accessible blockchain platform built on sharding, a concept developed b NUS researchers at the university. Sharding is described as the process of dividing blockchain networks into “shards” that is able to process transactions at the same time, enhance network accessibility and reduce the amount of computing power necessary for those processes to function.
” Sharding significantly improves the energy efficiency of cryptocurrency mining . With multiple shards working on their respective consensus processes in parallel, this is a more efficient way to generate blocks instead of the entire network of miners working on a single block together,” Zilliqa CEO and co-founder Xinshu Dong, said.
“In Zilliqa’s design, the computationally intensive proof-of-work process is only required periodically while the main consensus algorithm does not require much computation.”
Dong stresses out, “sharding in Zilliqa has an energy footprint that is at least an order of magnitude less than today’s Bitcoin or Ethereum.” In December 2017, Zilliqa also released the design document for Scilla, a smart contract language.
Dong, a former NUS researcher, said his company’s scholarly background is what makes their startup stand out from the rest. With regards to the sharding and smart contract functions, “The fundamentals have been reviewed, discussed and vetted by some of the top computer sciene researchers in the world,” he said. Dong added that Zilliqa and Scilla are based on peer-reviewed academic research, which gives them a huge advantage. The company’s research on the sharding platform was based on a paper co-authored by Zliliqa’s Chief Scientific Advisor Prateek Saxena.
Singapore’s overall business ecosystem is what makes it exceptionally supportive of blockchain visionaries. “It’s [embrace] of the blockchain technology is tremendous and stems from the regulatory [and] financial institutions to academics and entrepreneurs,” Dong explains. He adds that it is a unique socioeconomic case for the propagation of blockchain technology and applications.