IBM recently announced plans to open a blockchain innovation center in Singapore to foster collaboration between government, academic and industry officials in creating blockchain enterprise solutions for finance and trade. Blockchain technology uses cryptographic hashing to “timestamp” and validate transactions, and was developed for the digital currency bitcoin.
In a statement announcing the center, Robert Morris, vice president of Global Labs, IBM Research, noted that “this is IBM’s first collaboration with the private sector and multiple government agencies within the same country to explore the use of blockchain and cognitive technologies to improve business transactions across several different industries.”
He added that “with new cloud services that make these technologies more accessible, leaders from all industries are beginning to take note of the resulting profound and disruptive implications [of blockchain technologies] in a range of settings including finance, banking, IoT, health care, supply chains, manufacturing, technology, government, the legal system, and more.”
For its first three years, the center’s staff, which includes Singaporean experts and researchers from IBM Research Labs worldwide, will aim to use blockchain technology to bring efficient multi-party finance transaction and process tools to market. IBM noted it could work with multinational banks and Fintech firms in this effort.
The center will also engage with small and medium-sized companies to create blockchains applications for use in finance and trade, and build on IBM’s prior work in the Linux Foundation Hyperledger platform.
Arvind Krishna, senior vice president IBM explained that blockchain technology can benefit the financial industry through its ability to “streamline technology infrastructures among different intermediaries and reduce complexity in financial networks, which helps to bring about significant efficiency gains,” as well as its ability to “reduce duplicative recordkeeping, eliminate reconciliation, minimize error rates and facilitate faster settlement. This in turn means reduced risk and lower capital requirements for financial enterprises.”