UTM and firm team up to develop blockchain technology

(From left) Medini Iskandar Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Dr James Tee, founder and executive chairman of OKWave Group Kaneto Kanemoto, Matsuda, Prof Ahmad Fauzi and UTM School of Computing chair Prof Dr Abdul Samad Ismail at the launch of OK Blockchain Centre Sdn Bhd in Medini City.

ISKANDAR PUTERI: Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and OK Blockchain Centre Sdn Bhd (OBC) have started a partnership to enhance research and development of blockchain technology in the region.

UTM deputy vice-chancellor of research and innovation Prof Datuk Dr Ahmad Fauzi Ismail said RM150,000 was also donated by OBC to the university for the setup of a blockchain lab in the university.

“In line with the establishment of this lab, OBC has also channelled a digital currency called Wowbit (WWB) worth RM50,000 to be used in the blockchain case studies.

“Studies on social impact from blockchain technology will also be implemented and the results of these studies will help build a user-friendly system as well as assist in determining blockchain system development policies,” he said in a press conference after an agreement was signed between OBC and UTM in conjunction with OBC’s opening ceremony.

He added that apart from research, UTM would also hold awareness campaigns on cryptocurrency through a series of talks for the surrounding communities in an effort to enlighten and educate them on the new development.

“Blockchain technology is created to prevent digital transaction scams and one of the benefits of blockchain is that it uses cryptocurrencies.

“Although cryptocurrency is increasingly being accepted by the public, many are still unclear about the technology and hence more efforts are needed to educate them,” he said.

He added that partnership is also a step towards expanding FinTech (Financial Technology) in the region and make Johor a centre for blockchain technology known as Cryptobay.

OBC chief executive officer Gen Matsuda said about 40 fresh graduates from a local university, mainly from UTM School of Computing, have been recruited as the pioneering team of OBC.

“By the end of this year, OBC plans to employ up to 100 engineers with a combination of fresh graduates and experts with blockchain background.

“At full operation, OBC is expected to house up to 150 programmers in our office here at Medini City,” he said, adding that Medini City has potential to become a Cryptobay in the region.

He added that the collaboration with UTM would also include industry visits, practical training, sharing of information and technological expertise, sharing of real-world solutions, exchange of academic materials as well as collaboration in publications and research.

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