For the better part of an hour, Ng Yi Ming deftly unravels the mystery that is blockchain to me, a writer whose tech expertise barely extends beyond Excel. Decoding deep technology for the layman has become second nature to the 29-year-old, who has been running Tribe Accelerator, the Singapore-based blockchain accelerator he co-founded and is managing partner of, for over two years now. I am just one of those he enlightens every week, given the enigma that is blockchain and the fact that his company is one of the few of its kind in the world.
Tribe Accelerator is Singapore’s first government-supported blockchain accelerator and aims to enable start-ups to leverage blockchain solutions. It counts more than 40 global corporates including AXA, BMW Group Asia, Citibank, IBM, Intel, Temasek and more as partners. In just over a year, it has raised more than $40 million for its early-stage portfolio firms. The accelerator is the main arm of the Tribe group, where Yi Ming is co-founder and CEO. He likens it to a “professional matchmaker of the digital age” as it provides a neutral platform to connect corporations, governments, universities and technical talent in one ecosystem.
TECH FOR GOOD
Essentially, blockchain functions as an immutable ledger that records all modifications made to it, making transactions transparent, reducing risks and preventing fraud. But, as he explains, it is the applied uses of this technology in solving real-world problems that make it truly revolutionary. These include allowing consumers to trace their food right up to the source, track the history of their second-hand car purchases and ascertain the authenticity of luxury goods. It enables a deeper sense of trust in products purchased – especially those that come at a premium.
One start-up that has greatly benefited from this is Mighty Jaxx, which develops designer toy and art collectibles. These are often limited-edition pieces made in collaboration with renowned artists and international brands like DC Comics, Warner Brothers and New Balance. As it ships its products globally, the local company faced issues where collectors were sending them photos of products and trying to authenticate them virtually.
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