The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has unveiled its plan to invest $150 million in funds to promote technological innovation, including blockchain development in the financial sector. In a Monday press statement, the regulator said the move is in line with its commitment to build a vibrant technology ecosystem. The funding will run for three years under its renewed empowerment initiative, tagged the Financial Sector Technology and Innovation Scheme (FSTI 3.0).
Before launching FSTI 3.0, MAS already carried out FSTI 1.0 and 2.0 respectively. With the schemes, it strengthened the digital ability of financial firms to serve their customers better. However, through FSTI 3.0, the regulator seeks to empower technological innovations by offering support to emerging projects. It wants to focus majorly on projects that subscribe to cutting-edge technologies. Meanwhile, according to the announcement, the renewed scheme comes with several tracks.
FSTI 3.0 is in three tracks
One of the tracks is known as the “Enhanced Centre of Excellence.” Here, the regulator plans to expand its scope of grant funding to cover corporate venture capital entities. These entities will receive funding support of 50% of qualifying expenses, equivalent to $2 million per project. According to MAS, this strategic investment will allow them to avail robust mentorship and support startups looking to build viable business models.
Notably, the second track in this FSTI scheme is identified as the “Innovation Acceleration track.” Through this track, MAS wants to sustain its collaboration with the industry to empower innovative FinTech products from web3. According to the agency, it will initiate open calls to ensure the adoption of innovative techs in the industry use cases. Further, it wants to provide grant funding to empower the trial and commercialization of these innovations.
The last track, identified as the “Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) FinTech track” is tailored towards ensuring the widespread adoption of ESG FinTech products. Here, MAS wants to support the advancement of projects that address the ESG data analytics needs of the financial sector. Therefore, it plans to avail funding support of 50% of qualifying expenses, valued at $500,000 per project.
MAS looking to build on recent successes in FSTI 3.0 – Menon
Meanwhile, the managing director of MAS, Ravi Menon gave an insight into the renewed FSTI initiative. Menon reflected on how the Financial Sector Development Fund (FSDF) has awarded $340 million since 2015 to aid technological development. Also, he mentioned various transformative technology projects by MAS, including SGFinDex, Orchid’s Purpose Bound Money, and many more. According to Menon, the FSTI 1.0 and 2.0 helped empower the digital strengths of financial institutions. He believes the new FSTI 3.0 will also build on the successes recorded in the past.