Circle+ is a creation of Singapore’s SGCN forum. It uses blockchain technology transformation and has officially launched. The SGCN forum was established in 2001. It has a base of 1.1 million users, tens of thousands of merchants, an average of 100,000-page views/IP and 51,000 posts per day.
Circle+ defines itself as a ‘decentralized smart city database based on blockchain technology’. At its simplest, there are three points of intersection – shopping, payment and reviews. The data collected is stored with blockchain technology. Where consumers authorise payments, institutions (or individuals) can exploit selected data to improve original products or services.
For example, when consumers use Circle tokens to pay for food sold by a merchant, during the payment by tokens, it could be possible to analyze that consumer’s location, time and taste though the updated data on the blockchain. With this data, related companies can use data analysis to provide a better and more efficient service. Of course, this raw data always belongs to consumers, and third-party service companies need to have the right to use data obtained from the consumer with or without compensation.
Decentralization and transactions costing ‘only 0.3%’
Traditional centralized market organisations acquire data through a user’s behavior which is then explored to improve product and service offerings. A decentralized organization enables users to possess ‘ownership and control’ over their data, which use the DAPP provided by Circle+. Services enable users to profit – if and when they authorise third parties to use their data.
In Southeast Asian countries – where traditional money transactions dominate – the cost of cash transactions, credit card systems and the necessary staff exchanges amounts to about 3%. Even if local banks have lower interest rates, they still have to pay 2%.
On such a decentralised platform as Circle+, if you use digital currency for trading, the cost is about 0.3%. This is an order of magnitude less.
Technology support, safety and efficiency
The Circle+ blockchain database can currently only handle 144 transactions per minute (compares this with Visas’s peak rate of tens of thousands of transactions per second). The long term goal of Circle+ is to be as efficient as China’s Alipay.
In order to achieve this goal, Circle+ uses Directed Acyclic Graph (DAG) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directed_acyclic_graph as a storage structure. The characteristic of this structure is that:
- the more users involved
- the stronger the performance of the system
- the higher the level of security.
Circle+, Singapore, policy support in a young market
The population of Southeast Asia exceeds 600 million people. Mobile device coverage reaches as high as 112% in some areas. However, there is still no decentralized third-party transaction and credit evaluation platform. While rapid economic growth exists in Southeast Asia, the local credit systems and financial institutions have not kept pace with the times. In effect, the development of Internet financial markets is not perfect.
The Circle+ team took this as representing an opportunity to leverage blockchain technology – in an attempt to bypass conventional steps forward. In this context, Singapore’s efforts to develop digital payment and accelerate its advance into ‘smart territory’ matter.
The SGCN forum has 16 years of experience to apply to a decentralized platform based on blockchain technology. The Circle+ team believes this provides a ‘bilateral advantage. It helps to switch the entire business network to the ‘bottom’ of the blockchain. The intention is that this will change the existing marketplace by removing inefficiencies, deficiencies and shortcomings.
What does this mean
It is quite possible that the creation of Circle+ is only possible in a place like Singapore, which is famous for its ability to organise. Irrespective, what matters is that this Circle+ initiative takes on financial sector interests in ways that are not likely to please the latter – unless they see some of the benefits.
What is clear is that there are inefficiencies in today’s, traditional, handling of financial transactions. If transaction costs can really reduce by an order of magnitude, then blockchain technologies will be playing a prominent role. That this is in a geographical region with so many people makes the Circle+ initiative all the more interesting.