Aim: advancing blockchain use within the academic community, fostering innovations that can shape the future of different industries.

WeBank, a digital bank in China, and OpenNodes (a deep tech ecosystem platform powered by Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority and its blockchain accelerator Tribe) have joined hands to offer the financial blockchain platform, Financial Blockchain Shenzhen Consortium (FISCO) BCOS (Be Credible, Open & Secure), as an ‘innovation playfield’ to technology students and academics in Singapore.

Students from universities like Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore University of Technology & Design, and Singapore Management University are expected to join and leverage the FISCO BCOS platform, which is aimed at advancing blockchain use within the academic community and encouraging them to pioneer innovations that can shape the future of different industries.

Under the partnership, students shall receive support from this joint ecosystem to test their disruptive ideas as they use FISCO BCOS like LEGO bricks to build. Should their project development be identified as potential game-changer, the students will be required to open source the application as responsible members of the community—an approach meant to hone a collaborative mindset.

As the students build, ‘unassemble’ and rebuild, they will receive mentorship and attend technology workshops and hackathons for market education and talent cultivation. According to the press release, the synergy between WeBank and the neutral entity OpenNodes is driven by “their common vision of building an inclusive ecosystem, and the fact that both understand that collaboration can greatly catalyze the growth of deep tech innovations.”

China’s WeBank is already a partner with NTU to jointly run a Fintech Research Centre to support Banking 4.0 innovations, and this platform is expected to support these ambitions. FISCO BCOS was completely open-sourced for the market in 2017 to promote the adoption and development of consortium chain. It is driven by FISCO which is China’s first financial blockchain consortium comprising over 100 enterprise members including WeBank, which utilizes blockchain technology in in the areas of finance, supply chains, amongst others.

Said Henry Ma, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer, WeBank: “We seek to spur the next-generation talents into building viable solutions using blockchain to serve the general public. Providing this open-source technology as a developer arena will also help us strengthen the stack of our technologies in the process while allowing for better products and services for the general public. We see OpenNodes as an enabler of tech innovations across academics, government agencies, and corporates, and mirror their focus on solving public problems. Combining forces is the first stepping stone to expanding the consortium into Southeast Asia, and ensures we are well fed by a constant source of knowledge, technology expertise, and domain experience.”

WeBank’s success as a digital-only bank in a highly competitive Chinese market is attributed to its adoption of advanced financial technologies like AI, Blockchain, Cloud computing, and Big Data as well as talents on product designs. The company’s strategy is to be a connecter – to connect the internet economy with the traditional financial world – a role for which sparking and leveraging cutting edge technologies is a must. Joining forces with OpenNodes helps WeBank foster such innovations on the FISCO BCOS platform.

Said Ng Yi Ming, Managing Partner, Tribe: “Having a digital banking trailblazer like WeBank join our OpenNodes ecosystem opens new doors for our partners, and most importantly the student ecosystem since FISCO BCOS offers them an exciting opportunity to create and turn their ideas into reality using blockchain. Now is the time more than ever, for industries to ramp-up technology capabilities, and academics are the best source of disruptive innovations. What they need are the right tools and mentoring. Fueling the brightest young minds with knowledge, skills, and opportunities will help shape the next technological frontier for industries including financial services.”