Singaporean Startup Plans to Transform Cities through Blockchain

Limestone Network, a blockchain startup for modern cities based in Singapore, is seeking to revolutionize the face of cities in Southeast Asia, according to a report by Tech in Asia.

Starting with the Capital of Cambodian, Phnom Penh, the startup will kick-start the project with an ambitious 100-hectare mixed-use development. The project, although privately backed, will affect about 10,000 business tenants and a population of 190,000 people daily. 

It is expected to span schools, residential homes, shopping malls, office buildings, and a massive exhibition hall.

The insight to build an entire smart city that is powered by blockchain technology was first nurtured by two friends. Eddie Lee, A 39-year-old tech entrepreneur, and his real estate developer friend.

Far from the concept of installing hardware like sensors and cameras, the company’s co-founder and managing partner, Eddie Lee said: “[…] our starting point begins with the software [ Limestone mobile app ].” 

“Building on a hybrid blockchain infrastructure, the smart city collects information through residents’ multiple daily touchpoints. These create an understanding of how the city moves, lives, and functions,” Lee added.

The blockchain-oriented project for the Phnom Penh city will reportedly feature the creation of digital passport for the residents onto the Limestone mobile app.

Once residents’ identification details are scanned against any criminal records and found clear, it will then be mapped to the blockchain network. With a verified ID, the citizens are entitled to a digital wallet on their phones to quickly pay for purchases online.

The idea is to bring back power to consumers. It will disintermediate the ties between enterprises and the public, and provide secure data portability using blockchain. As such, a firm can bypass the middlemen in delivering services directly to consumers. 

Emir Hrnjic, a visiting senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore Business School, highlighted that the main advantage of blockchain-based smart cities is its potential to aggregate, analyze, and distribute real-time data. 

The project, however, is likely to face the challenge of blockchain governance, as per the report. Hrnjic further acknowledged the regulatory and data privacy challenges that both centralized and decentralized technologies are facing could catch up with the project.

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