Malaysia lacks talents to develop blockchain technology

I think the reality is we do not have cryptography skills, says expert


MALAYSIA could fall further in the digital industrial revolution race as the country lacks sufficient cryptography talents to drive the development of blockchain technology.

Blockchain has emerged as one of today’s groundbreaking technologies. It allows digital information such as transaction details to be distributed in a decentralised shared ledger across peer-to-peer networks, offering a more efficient, faster and cost-effective method in content management.

The technology has progressed from the first phase of version 1.0, which enabled the deployment of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, to Blockchain 2.0 that revolves around smart contracts.

The next stage of blockchain evolution will be version 3.0, which aims at decentralised applications in other areas including data, logic and cloud services.

Mark Pui, an advisor at MW Partners Group Holdings Pte Ltd, a private investment firm that focuses solely on blockchain-enabled projects, said the talent shortage in cryptography has slowed down the development of the incorruptible digital ledger in Malaysia.

“I think the reality is we do not have cryptography skills and that impacts our ability to lead in the development of the blockchain technology. There is still limited adoption of blockchain technology in Malaysia and also the world.

“But in terms of development, we are lagging behind everyone else because we do not have the skill sets, the deep cryptography skills,” he told The Malaysian Reserve at the LSE ReCode Tech Conference 2019, organised by the London School of Economics alumni in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Pui said deep cryptography skills are important in developing the codes that form the underlying protocols behind the blockchain technology.

“I think the progress of blockchain technology in Malaysia is slow. When you measure blockchain technology adoption and its progress, I think we need to evaluate it on how it is being adopted by people in everyday life.

“Is it impacting their work function? I do not think we see that many cases yet. But to be fair, we do not see that many cases yet in other parts of the world itself. The progress is ongoing,” he said.

Furthermore, Pui said the awareness of the potential benefits of blockchain needs to be improved among business enterprises in Malaysia.

He said public awareness about blockchain may not be as crucial as for businesses, as end users do not need to know the background operation of the blockchain technology as long as it works.

“I do not think the public needs to know the details behind the protocol development of the technology. I am not sure how much of it has to be about public awareness, but maybe business awareness on the potential of the technology is more important than retail awareness,” Pui added.

Presently, the banking sector is actively embarking on blockchain technology, particularly for remittance and trade financing.

In the Blockchain 3.0 phase, Pui said greater blockchain application is expected in the area of certification, finance and digital identification or electronic-Know Your Customer.

He further said blockchain technology could pave the way for new voting technology.

As it is, Pui said he expects the future of blockchain application could be less about speculative cryptocurrencies and more of various other applications.

On Tuesday, cryptocurrency investment and trading was officially recognised in Malaysia as Luno Malaysia Sdn Bhd relaunched its operation after obtaining a licence to operate from the Securities Commission Malaysia in late October.