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Singapore will have its first blockchain-based trade platform for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by the beginning of 2018. Prudential Singapore is collaborating with StarHub to support it. Fasttrack Trade (FTT), as the platform is called, will be developed by fintech startup Cites Gestion. 

The companies announced that StarHub, one of the three largest telecoms in Singapore, would bring FTT to its customers as an option. Prudential Assurance Company Singapore, a subsidiary of UK-based insurance major Prudential, will provide insurance to help customers manage risks.

The FTT platform will allow SMEs to search for partners, insurance plans, and buy or sell goods.

Stephanie Simonnet, Prudential Singapore's chief partnerships distribution officer, said: “We are creating a digital ecosystem based on cross-industry collaboration that will transform commerce and drive the growth of enterprises. Convenient and affordable access to non-traditional sources of funding and to protection will help smaller businesses fulfill their growth ambitions and manage risk.”

Chong Yoke Sin, head of StarHub’s enterprise business division, added:

“In recent years, the role of telcos has evolved into much more than facilitating communications between people or businesses. At StarHub, we ease adoption of digital solutions for enterprises by integrating partner solutions into our digital platform of offerings, to propel businesses in the digital economy.”

The partnership between the two companies comes amid a broader initiative to build a digital B2B marketplace that would connect businesses from different industries. The goal is to contribute to the development of SMEs in Singapore. Additionally, Prudential and StarHub plan to offer their FTT platform to SMEs outside Singapore.

Based on blockchain, the FTT platform makes it possible to record and track every transaction, which makes it secure and affordable for SMEs.

Cites Gestion co-foudner and CEO Agnes Hugot commented:

“Today, there is a huge trade financing gap in South-east Asia because of a lack of financing and access to business services, especially for smaller businesses. A digital platform such as FTT could help boost the trade corridors in South-east Asia, strengthen business communities, and bring about significant economic benefits to everyone.”

The city-state has emerged as a blockchain-friendly ecosystem after the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the nation’s central bank and main regulatory body, partnered with the central bank of Hong Kong (HKMA).

MAS is in also the middle of a blockchain-oriented long-term project – Project Ubin - which will culminate in the creation of its own cryptocurrency.