Snippets from the Singapore Deep Tech Summit: Part 2/2

Posted by Jun on October 07, 2018

We sieve out the best bits from the inaugural Singapore Deep Tech Summit held on 18 September 2018. Check out the first part of our coverage here!


In this second part, we provide snippets from the keynote presentation by Don Tapscott (Founder and Executive Chairman, Blockchain Research Institute) on the blockchain revolution, and a panel discussion on blockchain and the decentralized world featuring Joseph Lubin (Founder, ConsenSys and Co-Founder, Ethereum).

Keynote 2 – The Blockchain Revolution

Don Tapscott, Founder and Executive Chairman, Blockchain Research Institute

While Don Tapscott needs no introduction, the way he delivered his speech deserves a mention. Can a person be in two places at the same time? Apparently yes! Don was beamed live as a hologram to a full audience in Singapore. Turning now to the key points of his presentation…

  1. Blockchain is the trust protocol.

  1. The foundational technology of the second era of the digital age will be blockchain. We are moving from an internet of information to an internet of value. Anything that has value has the potential to be secured and digitized. The internet of value will be owned by investors.

  1. There will be many kinds of cryptoassets, such as cryptocurrencies, utility tokens, security tokens, natural asset tokens, crypto-collectibles, crypto-fiat currencies and stablecoins.

  1. Blockchain will transform financial services in eight key ways: (a) authenticate and attest to value, (b) transfer value, (c) store value, (d) lend value, (e) exchange value, (f) fund and invest, (g) insure value and manage risk, and (h) account for and audit value.

  1. Instead of using aggregators, blockchain will enable direct interaction among prosumers. Imagine a blockchain AirBnB.

  1. The prediction that venture capital would be transformed by ICOs within 5-10 years was wrong. Instead, the effect of ICOs on venture capital was felt within 2 years after his book The Blockchain Revolution was published in 2016.

Don also shared his ranking of the contenders for the next “Silicon Valley” of the Internet’s second era. Singapore ranked a highly respectable second! More details on the criteria and other contenders are available here.

Panel Discussion – Blockchain and the Decentralised World

Moderator: Emma Cui (CEO, Longhash Singapore)

Panellists: Soeren Duvier (Managing Director - Asia, Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA)); Martin Lim (COO, Electrify); Joseph Lubin (Founder, ConsenSys and Co-Founder, Ethereum); Humayun Sheikh (CEO & Founder, Fetch.AI); Meeta Vouk (Director, Singapore Research Center IBM)

  1. Importance of decentralisation: Decentralisation is important as it creates the trust structure - a rule-based system that has automatic trust and guaranteed execution.

  1. Two main challenges for mass adoption of blockchain: Firstly, the technology needs to be scalable. Ethereum is the trust infrastructure and scalability will be built in layer two. Ethereum 2.0 will incorporate sharding and proof of stake. Secondly, the user interface for blockchain applications need to be more user-friendly and accessible. Blockchain needs to be forgotten; instead, let people focus on the use cases.

  1. On the necessity of digital tokens: While certain sophisticated applications make use of incentives by adopting a token-based model, distributed ledger technologies do not necessarily require the use of tokens. However, digital tokens can be used to incentivize good behavior (e.g. in supply chain blockchain applications) and align interests among different stakeholders. The use of digital tokens makes a lot of sense in the energy sector where margins are very low because processing transactions through intermediaries incurs MDR (merchant discount rate).

  1. On the issue of security tokens: Security tokens, such as tokenized property, will give people more options to invest in new asset classes. The presence of a marketplace/ exchange will allow better price discovery. Digital tokens, whether security tokens or otherwise, will also be useful for disenfranchised communities as it allows them to transact.

See how Bancor Foundation is helping residents of a slum in Kenya exchange goods and services using localised digital tokens dubbed “Bangla-Pesa”.


That rounds up our coverage on the Singapore Deep Tech Summit! While the decline of the cryptocurrency market seems to have dampened excitement among the general public, we hope that our summaries shed light on how companies continue to build upon technology that can, and will, transform our lives dramatically (climate, energy and health in deep tech) and improve human capital (blockchain as the trust protocol).