ShuttleOne, a Monetary Authority of Singapore Financial Sector Development Fund recipient, is quietly building a Decentralised Finance (“DeFi”) solution on the Tezos blockchain to digitise lending and remittance flows of ASEAN small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). DeFi is a term in the blockchain space that refers to building an open, global financial system with more complex financial use cases, such as digital lending, borrowing and risk management.
SMEs remain a largely underbanked segment, despite contributing to at least a third of ASEAN GDP. Until now, traditional financial services players are still unable to service lower loan sizes typically required by SMEs with affordable credit rates, due to high costs from operating legacy systems. SMEs are also deemed to have higher risk profiles, as they lack the credit history relative to more mature institutions.
According to World Bank data, the global average cost for sending remittances was 6.84% in the third quarter of 2019. If an SME had annual remittance flows of S$200,000, it would be paying close to S$14,000 in cross border transaction fees alone. Recognising this issue, the United Nations has set a 2030 Sustainable Development Goal target to reduce the Transaction costs of migrant remittances to less than 3%, and eliminate remittance corridors with costs higher than 5%. At 3%, this provides significant cost savings of over $7,500 on the same $200,000 transaction for an SME.
ShuttleOne founder and Chief Executive Officer HongZhuang Lim said, “By running our solution on the Tezos blockchain to facilitate B2B and eCommerce invoicing/purchase order remittances, we are able to remove the need for working capital, pool on-demand liquidity, and reduce transaction costs by up to 80%. This enables us to service SME remittances at 1% per transaction.”
ShuttleOne has served more than 4,000 ASEAN SMEs, enabling its customers to seamlessly perform remittances and loan transactions. It operates a platform that leverages blockchain technology to facilitate ASEAN SME remittance services, by connecting them with licensed money service providers to provide real-time settlement of cross-border money transfer services. ShuttleOne’s platform will also create end-to-end loan creation documentation on the blockchain, from verification of identities to issuance of a loan. This will increase the effectiveness of loan processing, speed of risk management and credit scoring, with mobile integration to serve the mobile-first ASEAN region.
“By building on the Tezos blockchain, we plan to scale up cross-chain compatibility between other public blockchains to the Tezos chain to build a robust enterprise blockchain ecosystem,” said Lim. “We would like to thank TZ APAC for advising us on the next steps of our growth journey in the blockchain space, to better serve our customers and partners.”
“We are proud to be supporting Singaporean startups that are breaking barriers in the fintech space, and within the blockchain world, DeFi, to build an interoperable blockchain platform for financial services that will serve ASEAN SMEs,” said Julian Low, Head of Business Development for South East Asia at TZ APAC. “We look forward to advising the ShuttleOne management team on their blockchain growth and adoption strategy by bringing the benefits of Tezos blockchain to serve the new digital economy.”
Currently, ShuttleOne only services SMEs in Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia and China, with plans to expand their services to Singapore in 2021.