Vietnam's VBC seeks funds for blockchain expansion in SE Asia
By Celine Chen
VIETNAM, NNA - Having achieved remarkable success on homeground, Vietnam Blockchain Corp. (VBC), the country's leading provider of blockchain-based software solutions, is now seeking investments and partnerships to take its innovative products to Southeast Asia and beyond.
Founded in 2016, VBC has churned out an array of blockchain-driven services and software solutions, including award-winning ones for organizations and consumers across sectors including agriculture, manufacturing, supply chain and logistics, e-commerce, financial technology, public services as well as smart cities.
Do Van Long, CEO of VBC, strongly believes blockchain technology has much potential to benefit many industries in the growing economies of Southeast Asia after he has seen good results from 37 projects launched in Vietnam.
"We've just scratched the surface of what can be done. VBC wants Vietnam to be the hub of blockchain experts not only in the country but also in the entire region. To achieve this, we will be looking to work with investors and partners across the region," said Do in a press release on September 13.
"VBC will continue to work with the Vietnam government to further expand the market reach and solve social problems. With the funding, VBC will also be able to further expand its engineering resources and presence in Vietnam," said its press statement.
One of VBC's most innovative and successful applications is CovidPass.vn which allows people to store their COVID-19 test results and certificates in a mobile app secured with anti-counterfeit protection.
The app provides a specific blockchain QR code for individual users, which they can use to register for tests and present to the authorities to verify test results in various public places as required from other countries.
"The underlying blockchain technology makes data in the app more secure than existing data storage methods. It also promotes accuracy, as blockchain technology provides verification of all records in the system and links to national databases," explained the small startup with over 40 employees.
Medical institutions also have access to CovidPass, linking test records to their data while maintaining information security and privacy.
Do said, "While blockchain is usually associated with cryptocurrency, this new-age technology also allows new applications to have a higher level of security and accuracy that we haven't seen before. With the ongoing pandemic, it's of great importance that we have a secure and easy system to store and manage COVID-19 vaccination, SARS-CoV-2 virus test records, and many other medical records."
CovidPass was developed with the help of lecturers from Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology with support from the IT Department of Vietnam's health ministry and Ho Chi Minh City Department of Science & Technology.
VBC has also used blockchain to develop various services, such as Agridential.vn to facilitate authentication from production to consumption.
The platform was designed to record, trace, and authenticate information at every stage of an agricultural process, from farming and harvesting to production, supplying and transporting to retailers, and then selling to customers and checking the quality of the food on the table.
Since 2018, Agridential has provided production management and traceability solutions to many business partners and provinces across the country. These include Vietnam's major agriculture producing provinces and wholesale markets for agricultural products with 600 enterprises in the Central Highlands.
For the international market, VBC has been working with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through International Executive Service Corps (IESC) and KPMG Vietnam to provide a traceability solution for local agricultural SMEs (small and medium enterprises).
"With Agridential.vn, Vietnam is gradually improving and solving the urgent needs of the country's agriculture, and better preparing "Made-in-Vietnam" products to be exported internationally and adapting to FTA (Free Trade Agreement) requirements," said the company.
Among the numerous awards won by the startup is first prize in AIOT & Smart Cities 2019 awards given by Quang Trung Software City, a business park in HCM City. It also snagged a bronze in Asia Smart App Awards 2020 organised by Hong Kong Wireless Technology Industry Association.
VBC is placed among the top 10 information and communications technology companies in Vietnam this year by Vietnam Software Association.
In Vietnam, blockchain is famously linked to cryptocurrency and gaming.
Earlier this year, Coin98 Ventures, the investment arm of Coin98 Finance, a blockchain-focused software company in Vietnam, launched a fund of up to $5 million in partnership with the Solana Foundation to nurture the Solana developer ecosystem in Southeast Asia, with special attention to Vietnam.
Southeast Asia is one of the biggest decentralized finance (DeFi) innovation hotspots in the world. It is also rising rapidly as a new center for developers focused on Web3.
The fund aims to support founders and projects building new Web3 or DeFi marketplaces, exchanges, dapps, or tooling.
Solana is a blockchain capable of handling up to 50,000 transactions per second. Apart from enabling high-speed exchanges, it can also reduce costs tremendously.
Thanh Le, founder of Coin98 Finance, noted how Solana had "cultivated one of the most vibrant crypto communities in Southeast Asia" within a year in Vietnam in 2020.
"The level of sophistication and the caliber of projects we’re now seeing is at an all-time high. We are excited to partner directly with the Solana Foundation to support their community and the next generation of developers in Asia," said Thanh Le when announcing the collaboration in January.
The global blockchain market size is expected to explode from $3 billion in 2020 to $39.7 billion by 2025, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 67.3 percent, according to ReportLinker.
"Various factors, such as increasing venture capital funding and investments in the blockchain technology, growing need to simplify business processes and create business transparency and immutability, reduction in operational cost, and increasing popularity of blockchain technology in retail and supply chain management are expected to drive the market," said the research firm.
However, uncertainty in the regulatory and compliance environment and limited availability of technical skill sets for implementing blockchain technology may hamper its growth, it added.