Blockchain is back

After a brief lull during the crypto winter, the resurgent digital technology is regaining solid momentum across Southeast Asia

Vietnam’s financial capital Ho Chi Minh City is developing a blockchain infrastructure to aid its smart city transformation, which will be used to mitigate risks and streamline processes. While the Thai Revenue Department is adopting blockchain to track VAT payments and prevent fraud by companies using fake invoices for deductions, Malaysia is developing the Zetrix blockchain platform to onboard the nation’s private and public sectors to Web 3.0. Play-to-earn games and remittance payments are driving the surge of blockchain in Vietnam and Philippines. Singapore continues to lead from the front, with more than 400 players implementing blockchain usage across sectors. Singapore’s Global eTrade Services (GeTS) has launched the world’s first cross-border blockchain for trade, linking ASEAN and China’s Digital Silk Road. After a lull of almost one year due to the meltdown of crypto- currencies, blockchain is back in the reckoning across the ASEAN region – at the forefront of the digital transformation initiatives of governments and private sector.


The rise in usage of blockchain may have been muted over the past one year, but the long-term prospects of the technology are intact. Even as the Singaporean state holding company Temasek Holdings recently wrote off a $275 million investment in a crypto exchange, it has stated that it continues to recognise the potential of blockchain applications and decentralised technologies to transform sectors and create a more connected world. Southeast Asia is home to more than 600 crypto or blockchain companies and a notable component of recent growth in venture capital funding across the region is coming from crypto, blockchain and Web 3 startups.


While the booming economies are ripe for technological transformation, the young populations and favourable demographics offer tremendous potential in consumer-facing services. The ASEAN region already accounts for a notable percentage of all crypto-currency and non-fungible token (NFT) transactions globally. While governments and private sector are increasingly adopting blockchain for improved efficiency and transparency, high-networth individuals are also adding virtual assets like cryptocurrency funds, NFTs and stablecoins to their investment portfolios.


Waking to its potential, organisations are adopting blockchain to effectively mitigate business and supply chain challenges. Managing today’s supply chains that can span over hundreds of stages, across multiple geographies, with a multitude of invoices, payments and processes, involving multiple individuals and entities, over a period of months, is extraordinarily complex. The modern supply chain ecosystem is about management of data, services and products, and their bundling into solutions. From frictionless supply chains to delivering products that can be trusted, the industry is transforming business with blockchain – the shared, immutable ledger that facilitates the process of recording transactions and tracking assets in a business network. Blockchain is also hugely effective in building trust between trading partners with a shared, permissioned record of ownership, location and movement of parts and goods. The emergent technology is not only enhancing transparency and compliance, but also enabling much faster real-time resolution of unforeseen issues.


Enabled by growth-friendly legislations and a conducive policy framework, blockchain is tipped to grow exponentially across domains – from trade and commerce, to retail and services – in the years to come. Even as governments will fortify the regulatory mechanism to govern digital assets and mitigate illicit transactions, Web 3 startups will drive innovations to increase the use cases and improve the existing processes, expanding the reach and influence of blockchain in the region. With blockchain being a natural fit for AI, the cumulative impact of the twin technologies will span across sectors, emerging as key drivers of economies in the years to come.

About the Author

Kavita Panda
Chief Operating Officer | Profile

Kavita Panda is our Chief Operating Officer and Country Manager for India. Kavita was Executive Director of The Walt Disney Company India, wherein, she spent a decade and half in various business roles across Content Syndication, Licensing and Merchandising, Solution Sales and Advertising Sales.