The Singapore firm using blockchain tech to build a smart city

16-Aug-2019 Intellasia | TechinAsia | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Singaporean startup Limestone Network is looking to transform the face of Southeast Asia by building smart cities powered by blockchain technology starting with an ambitious 100-hectare mixed-use development project in the heart of the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh.

Spanning residential homes, office buildings, shopping malls, schools, and a massive exhibition hall, the privately backed project will affect 10,000 business tenants and a daily population of 190,000 people.

The idea was first conceived three years ago by 39-year-old tech entrepreneur Eddie Lee and his real estate developer friend. Eager to tap the possibilities of blockchain technology, they took on the challenge of building an entire smart city.

“Most cities try to become smart cities by installing hardware like sensors and cameras, but our starting point begins with the software,” said Lee, the firm’s co-founder and managing partner. “Building on a hybrid blockchain infrastructure, the smart city collects information through residents’ multiple daily touch points. These create an understanding of how the city moves, lives, and functions.”

With a startup capital of S$1.5 million (US$1.1 million), they officially established Limestone Network in December 2018, naming it after one of the ancient Egyptian civilisations that used limestone as one of its main building materials.

“People come up with a lot of fanciful and futuristic names for blockchain, but we wanted a name that traces back to the roots of how things are traditionally built,” said Lee, who is also the vice president of the Singapore FinTech Association.

How it works

The first step for the Phnom Penh smart city project is to create a digital passport, which involves registering all residents and workers in the Limestone mobile app.

The identification details are then scanned against global databases to check for any criminal records. Once cleared, the residents’ identities are mapped onto the blockchain network.

A verified digital passport unlocks Limestone’s full features for citizens, one of which is a digital wallet on their phones. This allows residents to pay for purchases digitally, much like how Alibaba’s Alipay operates. Alibaba owns the South China Morning Post.


Category: Singapore

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