Blockchain technology is a growing force in Southeast Asia. The Business Research Company’s report shows that although the COVID-19 pandemic caused a slight market decline of 7.27% from $2.45 billion USD in 2019 to $2.27 billion USD in 2020, the blockchain market is likely to make a quick comeback showing a potential annual growth of 91.25% to reach $15.88 billion USD by 2023.
The Asia Pacific region appears to be the fastest-growing during this period. The need for security, transparency, and digitalisation amidst the pandemic has contributed to the rise of blockchain in Asia. With such promising prospects on the horizon, it is not surprising to see many blockchain startups rising to prominence in the Southeast Asian market.
We look at the emerging blockchain trends in Southeast Asia
Founded in 2018 in Singapore, Triterras Fintech aims to help fill the nearly $1.5 trillion USD funding gap in SME trade finance. International trade finance is a complex process, and banks tend to deny many SME loan requests as they are not cost-effective. Triterras saw an opportunity to connect lenders with commodity traders and, in 2019, launched their blockchain-enabled global trade and finance platform, Kratos.
Kratos promotes transparency, security, and efficiency throughout the whole trading process and highlights the many benefits of fully digitalising trade, such as reducing paperwork, risk, fraud, and human error and has 24/7 accessibility with traceable, timestamped transaction history. The platform also helps to reduce overhead costs leading to increased profitability. As of August 2020, Kratos has facilitated over 4,800 transactions and over $8.7 billion USD in transaction volume.
Based in Indonesia, the name HARA comes from the Bahasa word meaning soil nutrients—very fitting for a company focused on hard to obtain agricultural data from rural areas. HARA states that its mission is to “promote inclusive sustainable growth and contribute to the economic prosperity of people in rural communities through the exchange of valuable data.” They have built an ecosystem that rewards and connects rural farmers to banks and insurance companies by sharing data.
These field agents, or “Agripreneurs”, use the gamified app to supply data and are rewarded with HARA Token redeemable for various products and services. The ecosystem’s four main components are data providers, data qualifiers, data buyers, and value-added services that all share and benefit from using the platform.
As of February 2020, HARA has connected over 31,300 farmers in 741 villages across Indonesia and facilitated $13.5 billion IDR in microloans. It hopes to expand into other international markets in the future.
Currently operating in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and China, ShuttleOne is building a “DeFi” solution to digitise lending and remittance flow for SMEs. DeFi, a portmanteau of ‘decentralised finance’, refers to building an open, global financial system in the blockchain space with more complex use cases, such as digital lending, borrowing and risk management.
So far, ShuttleOne has served more than 4,000 ASEAN SMEs, enabling its customers to perform remittances and loan transactions. Its platform also creates end-to-end loan documentation using blockchain to increase effective loan processing while focusing on mobile integration. By connecting SMEs to licensed money service providers, it hopes to facilitate international remittance services in real-time.
Founded in 2017, LuxTag is the digital age solution to the issue of counterfeit products in the luxury consumer goods sector. It uses blockchain to seamlessly blend real-world physical products and digital assets, providing product verification, timestamped proof of ownership, and track & trace of goods to deter copycats.
LuxTag offers several products, including LuxTag SUN (Secure Unique NFC) Authentication Service, verifying the NFC tags’ authenticity, and Papyrus, which creates digital tokens of real-world assets to create a trail of ownership in just four easy steps. After signing up, it’s possible to generate a blockchain certificate of the physical product, add images and detail, claim the certificate by scanning with the LuxTag app, then create a QR code or NFC link to connect the physical and digital asset. The integration of blockchain in this manner has great application in the fight back against counterfeit goods in retail.
DiMuto describes itself as: “a trade technology service championing Collaborative Commerce. We provide end-to-end supply chain visibility for global businesses, ensuring the traceability and trackability of business documents, goods and services with every transaction on our platform.”
We speak to the DiMuto CEO about the agri-food trade and how they are disrupting it
The Singapore-based startup, founded in 2018, offers a 360 trade service for a complete supply chain solution with 4 T trade visibility: trackability, traceability, transparency, and trust.
These are just a sampling of the numerous blockchain startups emerging in Southeast Asia. With the market continuing to grow, we can expect to see many others join their ranks in the coming years. Each startup has a specific focus that helps them find a particular niche in the ever-diversifying blockchain market.