Singapore charts new growth path, seizes opportunities in deep tech


Quantum technologies have the ability to create unbreakable codes. Blockchain technologies ensure authenticity and transparency in record keeping. They are critical to Singapore's $25 billion research plans for the next five years to create new economic opportunities for the nation in a post-Covid-19 world. The Straits Times looks into the potential uses of quantum technology and blockchain.

Singapore wants to build an unhackable quantum Internet

A technician at work in one of Google's data centres here. Singapore accounts for the largest supply of data centres in the Asia-Pacific region. PHOTO: GOOGLE

Quantum computers have the ability to break encryption codes in seconds, putting the Internet at risk of being hacked.

Enter quantum cryptography, which uses the quantum properties of light particles to create an unbreakable cryptographic algorithm to secure satellite or fibre broadband communications.

There are plans to blanket the whole of Singapore with such secure links, either over the existing fibre broadband network or by using satellites.


askST: How opening up of PayNow, Fast services benefits consumers

If Nets and EZ-Link join the PayNow or Fast payment network, consumers can top up their Nets and EZ-Link online accounts from any PayNow-linked e-wallet or banking app. ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

Instant fund transfer services PayNow and Fast will open up to non-bank financial institutions from February next year, marking an era of intense competition in the e-wallet space.

Currently, only account holders with 23 banks can instantly move funds across banks through PayNow or Fast, or both. But going forward, such fund transfers may also be possible from e-wallets like GrabPay and Singtel Dash.

The opening up of PayNow and Fast comes amid the awarding of digital full bank licences to two tech firms - the Grab-Singtel consortium and tech giant Sea - early this month.


Digitalising data blocks in the supply chain

Singapore-based blockchain start-up DiMuto digitalises the agri-food supply chain to help traders ensure authenticity and transparency in record keeping, and allow consumers to know where their food comes from. Each food item is tagged with a unique QR code that links it with the relevant information. PHOTO: DIMUTO

Digital tools that engender trust in food, medicine and vaccine provenance will attract Singapore's key research funds from 2021 to 2025.

The National Research Foundation's (NRF) newly announced $25 billion fund will also cover efforts to commercialise these technologies over the next five years to secure Singapore's digital leadership.

In announcing the fund last Friday, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said: "In a post-Covid world where resilience is prioritised, Singapore can... develop 'trust mark' solutions to certify products for export in critical sectors such as food and healthcare."


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