THE Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) on Monday launched a digital platform to innovate and test blockchain solutions for supply chains and trade.
The Blockchain for Trade & Connectivity (BTC) Network is a unifying platform that will allow blockchain and other technologies to work together. This is expected to reduce barriers to trade while advancing the trade and connectivity sector towards a secure and effective digital future.
Supported by the National Research Foundation, the initiative will focus on enhancing interoperability between blockchains, by integrating mesh networks that will streamline connectivity between existing systems or platforms.
It will offer a test bed for blockchain solutions with global supply chain companies, digital trading platforms and technology specialists.
ESG assistant chief executive Satvinder Singh said that Singapore will need to assure reliable supply chains and trusted connectivity to the world in order to maintain its status as a trade and connectivity hub.
"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," he said.
The initiative includes plans to develop a risk assessment framework for small and medium-sized enterprises, to assess how blockchain can be used to meet their business needs, and to help them understand its potential.
SUSS and ESG also signed a memorandum of understanding with six commercial partners to create, trial and lead the BTC Network's implementation.
The partners are developers and adopters who will look into interoperability between blockchains and the risk assessment framework.
Their role will be to jointly assess and address issues of blockchain adoption to promote correct usage and reduce barriers to trade.
One of the commercial partners is end-to-end supply chain orchestration technology company Trames, which works on streamlining and unifying digital shipment workflow for shippers and their logistics partners.
Chief executive officer (CEO) and co-founder Kevin Lim said Trames has seen numerous blockchain use cases in the trade and transportation sector, through its engagements with customers.
These use cases often leverage different blockchain protocols and are difficult to scale and implement across different networks in a cost-effective way, he said.
"Initiatives like BTC Network that promote interoperability across platforms and open adoption are necessary for enterprises of all sizes to leverage blockchain infrastructure," he said, adding that this will help address issues of scale, reduce barriers to entry, and accelerate adoption.
"Transferring data and assets across networks while ensuring trust, auditability and fungibility of those digital assets are important tenets to ensure that blockchain projects are able to achieve critical mass to realise economies of scale across all stakeholders, regardless of size," he said.
As part of the agreement, SUSS will also work with academics and industry practitioners to curate courses and programmes to equip the local workforce with digital skills and knowledge.
Said SUSS provost Tsui Kai Chong: "The BTC Network is one of SUSS' endeavours in harnessing transformative technologies to serve society's changing needs and contribute to building an inclusive and resilient society for social good.
We are excited that the resulting programmes and courses will better equip our students and adult learners with future-ready digital capabilities."