By EDD K. USMAN
Twitter: @edd1819, Instagram: @bluestar0910, Facebook: Science, Digital & Current Affairs
(SDN) — THE Philippines startup community has just received a shot in the arm injected by a Singapore-based blockchain company.
It is a fund injection worth Php15 million administered by BCB Blockchain, which the company announced in one of major events of the Philippine Startup Week (PSW) 2019. “BCB” stands for Building Cities Beyond, obviously a reference to its offerings of smart city solutions.
Douglas Yi Dong Gan, founder of BCB Blockchain, told SDN — Science and Digital News the Php15 million is a grant and, thus, beneficiary startups do not have to payback the company.
He said the Department of Science and Technology through its Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) will manage the grant.
To implement the grant, BCB Blockchain and PCIEERD signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) on November 20 as Gan formally announced the grant. Gan is also the CEO and co-founder of GBCI Ventures, a leading smart city solutions provider, which founded the BCB Blockchain technology company.
BCB committed to support incubators and startup accelerators in the country under the DOST. The Singaporean company plainly made this clear during the 3rd National Technology Business Incubator (TBI) Summit, one of the highlights of the PSW held at Crowne Plaza Manila, EDSA, Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila.
The blockchain technology company emphasized that the MOA with DOST signifies its dedication to collaborate with the Philippine government in powering up the development of the local startups using BCB Blockchain’s fund, not to mention its blockchain technology protocol to create smart city projects and applications.
PCIEERD is headed by Dr. Enrico C. Paringit, executive director. He welcomed the partnership with the Singapore-based technology firm.
“We are enthused to have this collaboration with BCB and eager to partake of their expertise, knowledge base, ecosystem, relationships and experience in blockchain technology, venture building and accelerating local startups.
“We hope that this partnership will ignite the next wave of applications and innovations for the development of sustainable and smart cities,” said Paringit.
BCB, a co-sponsor of the TBI summit, is determined to leave a larger footprint in the Philippines.
To do this, the technology company signed partnership with many universities and startup technology incubators located in across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao to strengthen its commitment to work closely with its academic partners in critical areas covering co-incubation of projects, research and development (R&D), seminars and trainings, promotional activities, competitions, hackathons and collaborative endeavors for smart city or blockchain development.
Covered in the project collaboration are promotional activities, development of tech communities, mentorships, funding of projects and access to global markets across variety of sectors upon successful commercialization of the projects.
Its partners include Far Eastern University (FEU), De La Salle University (DLSU) Manila, Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP), Adamson University, Holy Angel University, Batangas State University (BatSU), TIP-Visayas, University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP), Caraga State University, Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MUS-IIT), Siliman University, and QBO Innovation Hub of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The company said its partnerships is targeted at reaching out and engaging researchers, startups and community members to use BCB platform and its technologies to create smart city solutions.
BCB Blockchain introduces anti-fraud R3D Global
Gan acknowledged the potential partnerships’ benefit to his accompany.
“By providing DOST, universities and TBIs the resources and technical knowledge that BCB Blockchain has, we expect them to deepen their competencies in the area of designing and developing applications and projects for smart cities.
“We will guide and provide them the access to hands-on workshops, funding, materials, events and technical support,” he assured.
To be launched in 2020 as part of the partnership activities are competitions, hackathons, and bug bounty as part of the BCB education initiative. Prizes amounting to US$15,000 await winners of the competitive events, while selected projects will get opportunities to participate in the incubation programs for commercialization and fund-raising.
As this developed, BCB also introduced its collaboration with R3D Global, an Australian-listed firm, to push the adoption of DigiCerts in the Philippines. DigiCerts is described as a tamper-resistant system stored on a decentralized blockchain to replace paper certificates and reduce fraud cases’ incidence.
Vanessa Koh, chief technology officer of BCB, noted the rising cases of fraud cases, which she said occur frequently in some Asian countries.
“The frequency of fraud cases for certificates issuance have risen in recent years. This fraud certification happens especially in Asia (the Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore).
“Together with R3D, our goal is to build a secure platform to resolve fraud certification issue and to create a secure and publicly accessible registry of academic qualifications for universities in the Philippines and Asia,” Koh said.
Main organizers of the PSW were the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), DOST, DTI, and QBO. (SDN)