SMEs in Singapore will soon be able to use this blockchain-based trade platform
BY the first quarter of 2018, Singapore will have its first blockchain-based digital trade platform for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
The new Fasttrack Trade (FTT) platform, a partnership between Prudential Singapore and Starhub is being developed by fintech startup Cites Gestion with funding from Prudential, Business Times reported.
In a joint statement on Wednesday, the companies said the tie-up would see FTT provide its services to enterprise customers while Prudential will offer insurance to mitigate business risks.
Under the FTT platform, SMEs will be able to seek business partners, buy and sell goods, and sign up for insurance, among others.
By using blockchain, all of its users will be able to share an audit trail on the platform that is powered by the distributed ledger technology.
Since all transactions are recorded and traceable, SMEs would be able to conduct trade transactions and access financing safer and cheaper.
For instance, for transaction values of between SGD3,000 (US$2211) and SGD20,000 (US$14,741), an SME can get access to financing within 24 hours and insurance cover for its outstanding loan for premiums as low as SGD20 (US$14.74).
“We are creating a digital ecosystem based on cross-industry collaboration that will transform commerce and drive the growth of enterprises,” Prudential’s chief partnerships distribution officer Stephanie Simonnet, was quoted as saying.
“Convenient and affordable access to non-traditional sources of funding and to protection will help smaller businesses fulfil their growth ambitions and manage risk.”
Both StarHub and Prudential say the partnership is part of wider plan to develop a digital business to business (B2B) marketplace that will see a collaboration of providers from different industries to support growth of SMEs.
The two companies were also open to setting up the FTT to SMEs outside Singapore.
“Today, there is a huge trade financing gap in Southeast Asia because of a lack of financing and access to business services, especially for smaller businesses,” Cites Gestion CEO and co-founder Agnes Hugot said.
“A digital platform such as FTT could help boost the trade corridors in Southeast Asia, strengthen business communities, and bring about significant economic benefits to everyone.”