This Third Generation e-Wallet Aims to Bring Singapore Closer to a Cashless Future
SGPay packs a mean punch as it enables payments, cryptocurrency trade, and integrated services in its Ethereum-powered platform
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images
The race towards becoming the ultimate enabler of a cashless future for Singapore is seeing a formidable player added into the mix.
Powered by the Ethereum blockchain, SGPay is a third-generation e-wallet and e-payment mobile application that enables users in Singapore to make payments for groceries, movie tickets, flight bookings, and more using either fiat or such digital tokens as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and the SGPay token. It also lets users buy and sell cryptocurrencies within the platform and store their credit and debit cards as well.
According to founder and CEO Deng Guangyuan, SGPay seeks to address one of the biggest hurdles to Singapore’s bid toward becoming a Smart Nation: despite being one of the leading global hubs for finance technology (fintech), 6 out of 10 consumer transactions still use cash in their everyday lives—a stark contrast to Singaporeans’ highly connected lifestyle and digital literacy.
“It isn’t for a lack of cashless payment options,” points out Guangyuan. Quite the contrary, the government’s push towards e-payments has paved the way for new payment platforms to flourish, including the development of a common QR code for Singapore (SGQR) that could be used for island-wide e-payments.
All (in one) or nothing
In his National Rally Day speech last year, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong brought up Singaporeans’ reluctance to go digital when it comes to payments, recognizing that the country’s surfeit of payment schemes and systems has been an impediment as it provides consumers with a confusing assortment of payment solutions. Thus, he had called for the industry to “simplify and integrate”.
“There’s a ready market, but currently not one true integrated payments platform that leverages on the trends that have found a more mature foothold worldwide,” says Guangyuan, pointing to the likes of all-in-one (AIO) platforms as AliPay in China and PayTM in India as inspiration.
While the e-payments industry alone holds great promise, as demonstrated by the US$59 million valuation for MC Payments, such AIO platforms recognize there’s greater potential beyond basic payments. AliPay, for example, is a one-stop shop that also covers insurance, bills and utilities payments, online ticket bookings, and even its own shopping mall within the same app. Set to launch by the first half of 2018, SGPay’s third-generation mobile e-wallet aims to build a compelling and unique selling proposition through its host of integrated services.
Giving blockchain a boost
With its regulatory-friendly environment, Singapore has been a hotbed of blockchain projects in the past year, resulting in Singapore-born cryptocurrencies like DigixDao, TenX, Kyber Network Crystals, and the SGPay token, whose use within the SGPay platform entitles both consumers and merchants certain incentives.
However, mass adoption remains beyond the cryptocurrency sector’s grasp largely because of three key issues.
The first is the high transaction fees retail investors have to bear when purchasing cryptocurrencies, with current rates ranging between 1.49% to a whopping 3.99% at major international exchanges such as Coinbase.
There is also the lack of reputable e-wallets or exchanges in Asia that users can fully trust. Coinbase, for example, specifically caters to American markets and makes it challenging for foreign users to liquidate their crypto assets into fiat currency.
Finally, the lack of merchants accepting cryptocurrencies as a form of payment keeps it from really taking off as a medium of exchange.
SGPay’s third-generation mobile e-wallet seeks to address these challenges by allowing users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies at a relatively lower transaction fee, with rewards built into the system for users who transact with the SGPay Token. The addition of SGPay into Singapore’s current payment ecosystem also provides users greater choice and diversity, which lessens the likelihood of any one e-wallet gaining monopoly and imposing unfavorable terms on users. And lastly, SGPay advocates the use of cryptocurrencies for payments regionally, thus creating a more familiar environment for users already comfortable with e-payment apps. Now users will no longer have to access a specialized wallet platform just to purchase cryptocurrencies.
Forming deep partnerships with merchants, tech innovators and even traditional financial services firms enable the platform to make good on its USP, states Guangyuan. “We’re exploring potential partnerships with the local banks because we believe traditional money still has a place beside cryptocurrencies—such collaboration would provide much more value to consumers.”
The SGPay token is set to launch its initial coin offering (ICO) on the first of February 2018, with the pre-contribution token event ending on the 14th of the same month. Public supply is set up to only 10 million SGPay tokens, with pre-sale of 2 million tokens valued at US$0.40 each and 8 million tokens at US$0.50 on the main-contribution token event. As SGPay is powered by Ethereum, interested investors may purchase tokens using either Ether, or SGD and USD fiat currencies.