Singapore fintech funding rose to a record of US$229.1 million in 2017, driven by two large deals in the fourth quarter.
Two of the top 10 deals in Asia took place in Singapore during Q4 of 2017. Mobile commerce startup GoSwiff brought in $100 million in funding whereas, global asset management fintech player Smartkarma raised $13.5 million, according to KPMG’s Pulse of Fintech report, reports The Business Times.
This boost in funding has also been fuelled by the government’s efforts to establish Singapore as a major fintech hub.
Singapore’s central bank, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) was continuing financial technology activities, demonstrating the country’s value in the fintech space, the report found. For instance, this could be seen in areas such as blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning.
KPMG also cited the fact that Singapore had succeeded in attracting established venture capital (VC) funds and large corporates to make investments or set up a base for a local presence in the country.
Chia Tek Yew, KPMG in Singapore’s head of financial services advisory, said that ‘financial inclusion is a big focus area’ in Singapore and across Southeast Asia, adding:
Given the fragmented markets, fintechs are not taking a disruptive approach to these services, focusing instead on building partnerships with telcos and other local players in order to better engage with potential customers.
MAS is continuing its research into the crypto world and what role it could play in the financial sector. Yesterday, it was reported that Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer of MAS, said that digital currency investors speculating in the market could ‘destroy the experimental value of cryptocurrency.’
According to Mohanty, he explained:
The speculators and the people who are making money out of this speculation of the cryptocurrency (market) are perhaps negatively impacting the whole experimentation of cryptocurrency.
The central bank is currently experimenting with its own blockchain, called Project Ubin. It’s hoping to complete a trial this year with a digital currency version of the Singaporean dollar. The project is aimed at helping MAS and other industry players to understand the technology better and the benefits it could bring.
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