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Financial innovation firm R3 has collaborated with the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to launch its first dedicated distributed ledger technology (DLT) Center of Excellence in Asia, as it continues to expand its presence in the region.

As Singapore's central bank and financial regulatory authority, the MAS will support the development of the R3 Asia Lab to foster collaboration across traditionally competing institutions in the region on use cases and projects in order to innovate and further the advancement of distributed ledger technology (DLT). These solutions will be intended to radically improve efficiency, transparency, and reduce costs for financial institutions and ultimately be commercialised across global capital markets, said a statement.

The R3 Asia Lab will host a dedicated research and development centre as well as a physical Centre of Excellence to accommodate visiting specialist DLT technologists, innovators and business leaders. By positioning itself in the heart of the Asian financial services community, R3 can effectively support its regional members, manage local client relationships, and stimulate technology development to complement the work being undertaken in the R3 Global Lab and Research Centre.

The lab will be established at Lattice80 in the Central Business District (CBD) of Singapore and will have a number of senior staff members supported by a team of business and technology experts, including those seconded from member firms, academic interns and local technologists.

The technology-neutral approach to DLT and blockchain inspired platforms that R3 explores in its labs means there are no potential conflicts arising from vendor lock-in. The non-exclusivity of R3's technology choices leaves the option open for members to contract with Singapore-based systems integrators and fintech firms to implement production-ready systems, therefore streamlining implementation of DLT in the region, it said.

Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer at the Monetary Authority of Singapore, said: "The practical spin-offs from fundamental research in distributed ledgers and blockchains are beginning to be realized. MAS is pleased to collaborate with the financial industry through broad, international, consortia such as R3 to create and conduct rigorous experiments that will inform and encourage adoption of these advances."

Tim Grant, CEO of R3's Lab and Research Center, and member of the Monetary Authority of Singapore International Technology Advisory Panel, said: "We are honoured and delighted to build on our relationship with MAS and to signal our strong intent to support Singapore as a leading global fintech hub as well as the entire Asia-Pacific region. We look forward to deepening our relationships with local financial services companies, regulatory bodies and the tertiary education community, and to using Singapore as a means to connecting the region with our many initiatives around the world."

David Rutter, Group CEO of R3, added: "As one of the world's leading fintech hubs and a key global financial centre, Singapore is the ideal location for our Asia lab. We are honoured to have the support from the MAS and we look forward to working closely with them as we continue to research and develop applications that can help regulators and financial institutions improve efficiency, transparency and reduce costs."