On Day 2 of the Singapore FinTech Festival, attendees were invited to an in-depth exploration of key technological pillars of the Web 3.0 ecosystem – distributed ledger technology (DLT), artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), 5G and quantum computing. Through a series of foundational discussions, deep dives, and overviews of key global trends, the current state of each of these technologies, along with future developments to look out for, were thoroughly explored. The day culminated in a session with a panel of chief executives – Calvin Choi of AMTD Group, Helen Wong of OCBC Bank, Mike Wells of Prudential and Piyush Gupta of DBS – who offered their thoughts on the global trends in Web 3.0 and how it might transform financial services.

Some of our key takeaway’s from the days’ experts:

DLT (or blockchain) is driving incredible innovation in the financial services sector and beyond as its applications in speeding up and reducing the cost of transactions and transforming legacy processes are further explored. DLT solutions under development seek to bring a level of sophistication and automation to interactions between entities that, until now, could only be achieved internally. Of particular note is the advent of central bank digital currencies (CBDC’s) which can improve cross border payments whilst maintaining governmental oversight – approximately 80% of the world’s central banks are or have engaged in studies as to the implications of issuing CBDC’s. Challenges to DLT still need to be managed however, including the impacts of increased transaction volumes and system complexity, and determining the roles of regulators.

With more organisations implementing AI systems into their operations, it is critical that these systems are embedded in a responsible way that ensures AI-driven decisions are made fairly and without bias. This requires an awareness at the individual and organisational level by those designing, developing and using AI systems of the implications of those systems, especially in regards to the data inputs and their decision drivers. For example, is an unintended bias in the data set used to train the AI system causing a bias in the decisions being made? Thought should also be given to the environmental impact of AI – studies have shown that the machine learning model, the processors used to run that model, the data centre where the system is held, and the type of energy used to supply that data centre all have a profound impact on the carbon footprint of AI computations.

IoT solutions are greatly benefitting from the deployment of 5G as the extra and faster bandwidth helps to facilitate real time communication between devices. This presents a broad range of opportunities, such as in fraud detection and security (e.g. combining machine learning with facial recognition for ATM identity verification) and creating hyper-personalised customer experiences where feedback can be accounted for in real time.

Finally quantum computing solutions, although perhaps not ready for immediate commercial application, continues to be explored. Exciting possibilities for the use of quantum computing include internet security (quantum-safe cryptography as a replacement to RSA), chemistry (replicating chemical reactions on a computer) and optimisation (e.g. improving efficiency of travel routing, scheduling, or even financial portfolios).

Continue reading: Day 3 – Themes of the Singapore FinTech Festival