Regulators and representatives from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) recently held their 4th MAS-CSRC Supervisory Roundtable in the city of Wuhan, China, which was co-chaired by the China Securities Regulatory Commission’s vice chairman Fang Xinghai and the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s deputy managing director Ong Chong Tee. Regulators from both countries held discussions on how best to strengthen greater cooperation for promoting cross-border capital market activities, as well as touching on the subject of recent regulatory developments. Additional topics that were explored during the joint roundtable include the implementation of blockchain tech in capital markets and the utilization of data analytics for supervising capital market activities.
Both regulatory bodies held their first roundtable in 2016 with the purpose of igniting greater collaborative efforts between the two countries to strengthen economic ties. According to Ong Chong Tee, the roundtable serves an important function whereby both parties are able to hold open and frank discussions regarding important topics of mutual relevance and interest. One particular area that is of significant interest and importance for both sides is the emergence of blockchain technology, which has increasingly been implemented and applied across a wide range of industries and sectors.
China’s President Xi Jinping, while speaking as part of a collective study of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee late last year in Beijing, stated that the country must seize the opportunities presented by blockchain and leverage the technology as a tool for innovating and creating new core technologies. The president further noted in his speech that any application and implementation of blockchain technology must closely adhere to the nation’s rule of law, and that the implementation of a comprehensive legal framework for providing oversight is necessary. Hence, a centralized top-down approach towards the development and implementation of core technologies such as blockchain is mandatory, Xi argued. Since Xi’s encouraging remarks on blockchain tech last year, there have been more than 300 new enterprise blockchain projects registered with the Chinese government.
For Singapore, MAS introduced a FinTech Regulatory Sandbox with the aim of enabling the country’s fintech startups and companies and financial players to test and innovate new promising financial solutions and products in a fast-tracked environment designed to spur the adoption of new technologies such as blockchain. The country’s vibrant blockchain ecosystem has seen the active participation of global blockchain protocols such as Ethereum, Quora, Ripple, and Corda. Likewise, the country boasts several noteworthy homegrown blockchain-based startups and companies: Digix and Tenx are both startups that specialize in asset tokenization, while Legalese and Korporation are blockchain-enabled startups that provide legal services for the corporate world. Singapore’s government has also been accelerating the growth and adoption of blockchain technology and innovation in the country through several initiatives and projects such as Project Ubin and OpenCerts.
As the use and application of blockchain technology becomes more widespread, thus causing more disruptions and innovations across industries and sectors that are still dominated by legacy systems, China and Singapore’s collaboration and cross-border cooperation will see to it that both countries are well-prepared to leverage on the emerging technology for use in capital markets. This augurs well for the fintech ecosystem of both countries, as the increased cooperation and growing connectivity will spur the development of more blockchain enterprises and products.