Author: SG Budget Babe

My favourite app to always get 50% off dining and activities, even during peak hours!

For those of you who love dining out, what’s a good way to save on your dining?

By using a cashback credit cash with the highest rate for dining + savings app.

You’ll find the respective credit cards with the highest dining cashback rates on the SGBB Cashback App (just tap onto weekday / weekend dining to view the respective rates), although currently BOC Family Card holds the honour of 10%. However, this benefit is capped at $30 – which means you shouldn’t exceed $300 in food every month – and provided you also chalk up $700 in monthly spending.

On the best savings app for food, eatigo undeniably offers the best value…IF you can dine at the odd, off-peak hours. So while the app is great for those who are self-employed and do not have to stick to regular schedules like most of us corporate slaves, it isn’t that fantastic for the rest of us who have schedules to align to.

And for those of you who got a copy of The Ultimate Guidebook to the Best Cashback Tools in Singapore which I published earlier this year, you’ll be familiar with The Entertainer, which I recommended as the best app for shaving 50% off your dining and activities in Singapore anytime, even during peak hours! 



But if you haven’t heard of The Entertainer app before, think of it as an extensive booklet of coupons which gives you 1 for 1 deals on dining, hotels, spas, activities and retail, all within a single place on your mobile. With it, you can get 1-for-1 deals on over 1,700 merchants for dining, drinks, hotel bookings, spa sessions and many more. 

Here’s a preview of some popular merchants on the app:

  • Food:
    • Fat Cow
    • Bedrock Bar and Grill
    • MUNCH
    • Patisserie G
  • Activities / Shopping:
    • BOUNCE
    • Bubble Soccer
    • Photography (brides-to-be, you can even get a 50% discount off AndroidsinBoots here!)
    • The Tinsel Rack 
and more!

  

Tip: Remember to combine with your cashback credit card for savings AND cashback!


The app may seem a little pricey at first, but you won’t regret it because you only need to go to three nice restaurants in the year (or a single hotel stay) and the savings you get will be more than enough to cover what you paid for the app! There’s an entire range of merchants, including top-notch ones like Jamie’s Italian, Fat Cow, Bedrock Bar & Grill, Wave House Sentosa and more.


 

I recently met a couple who are huge fans of The Entertainer app, and taught me how they maximised the app in their own lifestyles, and they agreed to be interviewed so they could share their story with all of you here today. (As they’ve asked to retain their privacy, we’ll simply use Mr. and Mrs. S to refer to them from here.)

1. Tell us more about yourself.
Mr S is a civil servant while Mrs S is a banker. We’ve been married for a few years now, and our hobbies are eating, travel and exercising, necessarily in that order!

2. How did you come across The Entertainer app? 
Mr & Mrs. S: We were planning to visit Fat Cow for a birthday celebration, and a good friend mentioned she had 1-for-1s via the Entertainer app. All we had to do was to download the app, and she pinged us the coupons, which worked out really well for our pocket! 

3. What made you purchase the app (especially in contrast to other free dining apps which offer discounts)? 
There was no looking back after the Fat Cow experience, we wanted to check out the other 1-for-1s and being foodies, this was perfect allowing us to try more places.

4. How much have you saved on The Entertainer in 2017? 
USD2,521 or SGD3,393! Here’s a screenshot from our app.

 

5. How does The Entertainer app fit into your regular lifestyle as a couple? What do you mostly use it for? 

Food food food food! And occasionally gym and hotels. Basically it opens up many new possibilities for us to explore, and makes our days more exciting.

6. Other than dining, have you tried any of the other services?
We have used it at several boutique gyms – mostly classes where we have tried pilates, aerial yoga..

7. What are some restaurants / services you would recommend on The Entertainer app?

We highly recommend Bedrock Bar and Grill for awesome steak, Poke Lulu and Living Botanica for their drinks! In fact, you would have earned back the cost of the app by just using it at Bedrock once! 

We also recommend Osteria Art for fine dining, Patisserie G for desserts (these guys take their desserts almost too seriously), any of the high teas offered by the 5 star hotels on the app, Bangkok Jam (their curry fish head is really awesome), Group Therapy for a “chillax and nua” cafe experience, Working Title for their burgers and Mad for Garlic for their garlic-infused pastas and pizzas. Actually there’s too much to list! We were really spoilt for choice when rummaging through our memories picking our top eats. For 2018, we are looking forward to using more of the services offered on the app. 

(Dawn: I also highly recommend Guac and Go – located near Guoco Tower – if you’re an avocado and salad lover like I am!) 

——–

I first reviewed The Entertainer app back in 2015 here when they had 800 merchants (and they’ve doubled that number since), where I had first tried out the free version and redeemed some basic vouchers. I was so blown away by the offers on the app that I immediately upgraded to the paid version afterward just so I could get access to the thousands of 1-for-1 coupons.


How The Entertainer works

Simply browse on the app to see the different vouchers per merchant, and head down to the merchant outlet to redeem. What’s more, you get 3 vouchers per merchant, which means you can go back for repeat visits while always paying 50% lower than what their other regular customers are paying!



If you’re planning for a hotel staycation whether in Singapore or abroad, you can also pick from their offers which basically allows you to stay for 2 nights while paying only for the price of 1. Hotel partners include InterContinental, Shangri-La, Marriott, Sheraton, Hyatt and more, as well as various hotel resorts and lodges.


Couples will also love this app as you get to engage in a myraid of activities that will keep your date nights novel and exciting, while chalking up substantial savings at the same time. I’ve been using this app pretty often this year and foresee that we’ll be using even more to chalk up the 50% savings.


 


Get a further 10% off with promo code SGBB2018, which means the app will only cost you $95 for thousands of coupons. What’s more, you’ll get Cheers Singapore 2018 (1-for-1 drinks across 130 outlets in Singapore) bundled in for free. 

The average savings per member in 2017 was SGD 725, so you can just imagine how much you’ll be saving with The Entertainer app!


Here’s another tip: Share The Entertainer app with your friends and family, and split the cost even further that way! 

Foodies and couples, you won’t want to miss this.
With love,
Budget Babe
Disclaimer: This is NOT a sponsored post. I’ve been using The Entertainer app since 2015 and reached out to The Entertainer in Q4 2017 to ask them for a reader promo code so you guys can enjoy some discounts off the original app price!

IPO Analysis: Sasseur REIT

Sasseur REIT is an upcoming Chinese outlet mall portfolio that is currently open for IPO applications and will soon be listed on SGX.


This is the third retail REIT in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to be listed here – BHG and Daisin Retail Trust are the other two – pointing to the growth in the spending power of the Chinese middle class, which is expected to continue growing. With a CAGR of over 24% per annum, it is expected that China outlet malls will become the biggest in the world by 2030, surpassing the outlet mall markets in Europe and USA. While I wouldn’t place too much emphasis on these estimates, I would however review this IPO as both a dividend and growth stock for the future.

You’ll currently be buying into a portfolio of 4 retail outlet malls located in Chongqing, Bishan, Hefei and Kunming. 


Details:
– 266.6 million shares for offer at $0.80 each, raising S$396 million 
– 13.8 million public tranche
– IPO closes on 26 March at noon.

Business:
Sasseur REIT owns and manages four outlet shopping malls in China, valued at RMB 7.34 million (or S$1.5 million) in total (although I would take these valuation numbers with a pinch of salt). All of these outlet malls have an occupancy rate of above 90% each, with land tenures of 30 – 37 years and includes 4,466 car park lots (translates into extra revenue for the REIT).

Strengths

1. A chance to ride on China’s growing consumer market

The PRC outlet market industry has experienced a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30.8%, and is expected to continue its growth at a 24.2% CAGR from 2016 – 2021.

Most of you should be well familiar with how the Chinese shop and spend by now, but if you haven’t seen it for yourself, I kid you not when I say they can go insane at outlet malls. I saw this firsthand in both the US and Italy where the PRC folks were buying bags and bags of discounted branded stuff…whereas all I walked out with was a pair of Nike shoes, lol. These outlets get so much sales from the Chinese that even their salespeople are trained to speak in the language (I remember the shock I got when I saw the Italian salesman speak in Chinese to a PRC customer!).



The concept of “face” or “mian zi” is huge in China, and you only need to see them buying to be convinced of this. Sasseur REIT offers an opportunity for investors to ride on this trend.

2. High occupancy rate and low tenant default risk.

Their outlet malls at Chongqing, Bishan, Hefei and Kunming have high occupancy rates of 96.4%, 91.5%, 95.8% and 96.1% respectively. This comprises of over 1,119 tenants which means that even if a few tenants were to default, it should not pose too much of an impact to Sasseur REIT.



3. Strong sponsor and sponsor interest.

The sponsor is Sasseur REIT is one of China’s largest retail outlet mall operators, Sasseur Cayman Holding Ltd, which was founded in 1989 and currently manages 9 retail outlets in China. They will be the largest single unitholder with a 55% to 58% interest, which represents good news to retail investors since there will be a strong incentive for the Sponsor to ensure the REIT performs well.

The sponsor also had a 2 billion net profit for FY2016 (S$420 million) which signifies a relatively strong financial position.

4. Positive management fee structure.

The manager will receive a 10% per annum base fee of the REIT’s distributable income, together with a performance fee of 25% of the difference in DPU between each financial year. I like how this management fee structure is based on distributable income and DPU growth, which further aligns the interest of the manager to ensure that the REIT does well.

5. Strong interest from cornerstone investors

The list includes prominent investors like JD.com (through their subsidiary, Adroit Ideology Limited), Bangkok Life Assurance PCL (a leading life insurance company in Thailand) and CKK Holdings (which operates Charles & Keith and Pedro).

6. Decent dividend yield above 6%


The expected distribution yield is 7.5% for 2018 and 7.8% for 2019. I’ll look at the most conservative figure in this case, which would be the 6.1% forecast yield for this year without factoring in the EM agreements.

As a dividend stock, 6.1% is a fair yield that I would accept for a REIT investment, which is higher than Suntec REIT (5.2%) and Capitaland Retail China (6.0%)…although it still can’t beat my Sabana REIT which is giving me a historical yield of over 10% based on my last purchase price, heh.

7. Fixed and variable income model.

The structure of most REITs are easy to understand – they lease out their assets and collect rent from tenants, which they then distribute to unitholders. However, Sasseur REIT adopts an interesting model that warrants a second look and further evaluation on its merits and downsides.

Instead of a pre-agreed rental model, or even one with escalating lease agreements structured in, Sasseur REIT instead receives a percentage of the tenant’s sales turnover as rental. What this means is that Sasseur REIT’s income is highly dependent on the sales performance of its tenants, and dividends could therefore vary from year to year. 

To incentivise consumer spending and sales, Sasseur REIT offers a VIP membership program where customers qualify by spending more than RMB 600 at any one of its outlets. At the moment, there’s over 809,000 VIP members who contribute 50% to 65% of the sales in its outlet malls. 


Aside from these sales-based leases, a small proportion of Sasseur REIT’s tenants are under conventional lease models where they pay a fixed rent, or the higher of turnover rent and fixed rent. These tenants include the F&B operators, cinema and other entertainment or lifestyle providers.

Its fixed income portion also comes from the fact that in the event where the resulting rent falls below the Minimum Rent, then Sasseur REIT shall be entitled to receive the shortfall. (RMB 472.9 million or S$95.9 million for FY2018, and RMB 611.4 million or S$124 million for FY2019). This basically provides income support to Sasseur REIT for the first two years whereby it is guaranteed a minimum rental, but will fall away in 2020 onwards.
This leads me to the biggest and most important risk in my next section…


Risks / Red Flags
1. Loss of income support after 2019

Unless the agreement is restructured to guarantee the minimum rent payment to the REIT after 2019, we could potentially see a drop in the REIT’s income, especially if economic conditions worsen or if the Chinese cut back on their spending at outlet malls. If you’re investing into Sasseur REIT, you probably should keep an eye on how it’ll perform from the third year onwards.

Another point to note is that the percentage of distributable income will fall by 10% after two years.

2. Extremely susceptible to economic cycles, especially recessions.

The outlet malls that Sasseur REIT owns are mainly focused on discounted luxury and high-end brand items, which makes them highly susceptible to economic cycles. In an economic boom and growing disposable income, all will be good; but in a recession where consumers tend to cut back on their discretionary spending, Sasseur REIT will surely be impacted negatively, and even more so because their rental model is based on tenant sales turnover.

Sasseur REIT claims that “the outlet mall industry tends to exhibit counter-cyclical characteristics and resilience during economic recessions” (page 32) but I don’t know how the US market consumer behaviour is supposed to be representative of how the Chinese will react in similar conditions, plus that runs contrary to what I believe so I’m just going to brush this claim aside as marketing speak.

3. Heavy exposure to fashion.



Fashion accounts for almost half of Sasseur REIT’s portfolio property income. In times of recession, we’ll probably see this discretionary spending on clothes and fashionable apparel be the first to go.

4. High concentration risk – Chongqing outlet

Another factor I’m pretty uncomfortable with is the fact that out of its 4 outlet malls, Sasseur REIT derives a majority of its sales and revenue from its Chongqing outlet. Take a look at how the different malls compare.

Now, there’s a good explanation for this – the Hefei and Kunming outlets became operational only in 2016, so there’s limited data for us to analyse. In contrast, Chongqing has been operating since 2008. 

However, given that Chongqing outlets accounted for over 70% of its income last year, this makes me a little uneasy given the high concentration risk.

5. What’s the actual gearing ratio?

Based on its IPO prospectus (page 163), Sasseur REIT claims that its gearing ratio stands at 30.3%, which leaves them with enough room to take up more debt for acquisitions and growth if they need to.

However, I’m not so certain about the accuracy of this because based on its unaudited pro forma financial statements (page 155), I arrived at a ratio of 40.8% for 30 Sept 2017 instead (630,155,000 / 1,552,002,000), and this is considered high if we compare it against the other REITs listed here.

6. Short land tenure and weighted average lease expiry (WALE)

At 30 – 37 years remaining on its land tenure, this seems rather short at first glance, but there’s apparently a good reason (page 110) when you consider China’s Urban Land Regulations, which stipulate that maximum term is up to 40 years for commercial, tourism and entertainment use. The Chongqing outlets are held under the land use right for commercial use, limited to 40 years, which includes the time taken for developing the land. Sasseur REIT states that it will be able to apply for renewal of this land use right at least a year in advance of its expiry.


Another point to note is that at 3.2 years, the WALE is quite short in contrast to other REITs listed on SGX. 


7. Forex risk

Lastly, as Sasseur REIT receives its income in RMB and pays out dividends in SGD, we’ll be exposed to forex risk in this case, as with the other REITs listed here locally which derive a majority of their income from overseas markets.

Financials

With its NAV at $0.773 per unit, the current IPO price represents a fair value to NAV (1.03 P/NAV ratio). Then again, it is hard to expect any decent REIT to price its offering at a significant discount to NAV.

Moreover, don’t forget that Sasseur REIT will be distributing 100% of its distributable income until 31 December 2019, with a promised yield of above 7% if all goes well for the next 2 years.

I’ve also not really discussed much about its growth potential (highlighted on page 11) where Sasseur REIT has been granted a right of first refusal (ROFR) from the Sponsor, giving it the opportunity to acquire the Sponsor’s Xi’an and Guiyang outlets, which commenced operations on 30 September and 9 December last year respectively. In addition, the Sponsor also manages 3 other pipeline properties in Hangzhou, Nanjing and Zhongdong Changchun, which were not injected into Sasseur REIT’s current portfolio since these properties are not currently owned by the Sponsor.

My suspicion is that due to 
(i) the stability of dividend payouts and income support for the next 2 years, 
(ii) the expected CAGR for China’s outlet mall market and 
(iii) the potential asset growth for Sasseur REIT in acquiring (2 to 5) more outlet malls in the near future
that explains why the IPO price is valued as such.


Conclusion

Having seen firsthand on the Chinese consumers’ shopping and spending tendencies, I’m inclined to apply for this IPO placement just to ride on this booming market, which I believe should continue to grow unless a serious economic recession hits China. However, I’m wary of Sasseur REIT’s income support model, high gearing ratio and over-reliance on Chongqing outlets. 

It is also interesting to note that Sasseur REIT seems to have invested quite seriously into its marketing efforts to push out this IPO, as seen from this huge booth that they set up at Raffles Place just to distribute its IPO prospectus…which you can easily find online here


Nonetheless, there was a good video that shows how traffic and activities at the outlet malls look like, although the girls manning the booth couldn’t tell me where I could find the link so I can rewatch it back at home in detail. I was a bit disappointed as I had thought this was a golden chance to perhaps speak with its investor relations team, or at least an insider who would be able to share more insights into the malls that Sasseur REIT owns, but the girls manning the booth couldn’t really answer my questions, saying that they were mainly hired to distribute the prospectus to potential retail investors in the area.

With its unique offering and demand for its IPO, I won’t be surprised if its share price flies after listing.  It’s worth a shot, but not a big one based on the risk factors I’ve identified above. Hence I’ll be applying for a small tranche for now and watch this closely for further developments.

What about you?


With love,
Budget Babe

Is the motor insurance industry headed down the same path as healthcare?

The same warning signs that led the state of our healthcare insurance to what it is today has also just appeared in the motor insurance industry. What’s going to happen next?

If you recall, earlier this month, it was announced that patients with new Integrated Shield Plan (ISP) riders will no longer be able to enjoy zero co-payment of their hospitalisation bills. A 5% co-payment will now be imposed (capped at $3,000 annually) to address the issue of over-consumption of medical services

Between 2005 – 2016, the industry’s claims ratios surged from 42% to 84%. These rising claims have prompted hikes in ISP and rider premiums, but that didn’t help the insurers from still making underwriting losses.

Q: How did this come about? 
A: Rising claims + underwriting losses.

For many years, riders on top of their healthcare insurance policy (which would allow one to not fork out a single cent for hospitalization) were highly popular among Singaporeans, with 1 in 3 Singaporeans opting to take up a rider. 

But in the last 2 years, ISP premiums had risen by up to 80%, with older policyholders and those on private hospitalisation plans experiencing higher increase. Yours truly was one of them. One of the causes identified by Health Minister Chee Hong Tat was that the zero co-payment feature of these full riders had resulted in a “buffet syndrome”, which led to over-consumption and over-charging of healthcare services.

He pointed out that the average medical bill size for full-rider policyholders was about 60% higher than for those without riders, even though the former group are generally younger and in better health.

Were there warning signs that this was coming?

Yes. Frankly, I wasn’t surprised by the news. That’s because after having seen how all the healthcare insurers suffered from underwriting losses in 2016, and coupled with the rise in healthcare costs, I knew this move was only a matter of time. 

Source


The industry chalked up underwriting losses ranging from S$7.3 million to almost $30 million, with AIA and NTUC Income suffering the biggest hits. Even AXA, which only started selling ISPs and riders in the second half of 2016, suffered a considerable loss.

Now, there’s no point in crying over split milk, which is why I haven’t really bothered writing a commentary about the state of the healthcare insurance industry (mainly because I expected it) until today…because I just spotted a glaring similarity in another insurance segment:


Is the motor insurance industry headed down the same slippery slope?

We already know by now that the healthcare insurers got to this state because of rising claims and underwriting losses. But why aren’t we talking about how the same warning signs have now appeared in the motor insurance industry?

I quote:

Motor insurers in Singapore are expected to review the commercial viability of their business after booking a combined underwriting loss of S$27.2 million in 2017 compared to the previous year – the segment’s first underwriting deficit since 2010. 

The general insurance industry’s 2017 full year results were announced by the General Insurance Association of Singapore (GIA) yesterday, revealed a 3.3% drop in gross motor premiums to S$1.1 billion while claims rose by 12%, representing an increase of S$60 million. 

Loss ratios in motor jumped to 64.9%, the highest recorded by the industry in the last 5 years.


What does that mean? In other words, for every dollar of premium collected, 65 cents was paid as a claim. When you factor in operational overheads, distribution costs and commissions to agents for selling the policy…what I’m seeing is that the motor insurers are hardly making any money.
This points to the high possibility that we may see a huge rise in our motor insurance premiums as well. 
IP riders were created as a way for insurance companies to boost their profits, and it is a rich irony that the insurers themselves, after years of enjoying the spoils, appealed to the Ministry of Health to make co-payment compulsory.
“Yet the full-rider predicament could have been prevented if the starting point of insurers was to act more responsibly. Responsible competition is the name of the game. There was no need to fight tooth and nail for the last policyholder and win the battle, only to realise belatedly that fighting among themselves has cost them the war.

The insurers must be made culpable for their actions, which have brought us to this undesirable state of affairs. They should not attribute the problem to the demands of free markets. Nor should they have appealed for regulatory intervention when things went astray.

Their actions seem to suggest that insurers did not act in their own best interests.

By chasing the short-term profit, they effectively mortgaged away their own future.

Most gallingly, however, they took risks with our future.”


With love,
Budget Babe

How to avoid the hidden charges in your online shopping

How many of you have realised that whenever you shop on an international website and pay via your credit card, you’re actually being charged more?
Yes, this is the case for all your favourite websites overseas – Airbnb, Expedia, Hotels.com, Taobao, Amazon, ASOS, Colourpop and what not.

It gets worse when you opt to check-out and pay in SGD, which is what most of us do, while not realising that we’ve just effectively chosen to be charged for:



·       Dynamic Currency Conversion (DCC) – a practice where your card transaction is converted to Singapore dollars through a DCC service provider used by the merchant

·       (Double) forex fee (FX) – (i) most credit cards convert all foreign currency transactions (i.e. anything that isn’t USD) into US Dollars before (ii) being converted again into Singapore dollars.

·       Visa / Mastercard processing fee – usually anywhere between 2.5% to 3.5%

·       The bank’s administrative fee

When you total up all of these charges, these can easily set you back up to about 15% of your entire purchase (that’s $150 extra if your bill is $1000). In fact, when my husband and I booked our hotels for our Hanoi trip online last year, we compared the USD and SGD charges and decided to check out in USD instead because it was lower.

However, our final bill ended up being higher than what we had expected, due to DCC and FX conversion charges that we forgot to account for. We opted to pay via my credit card in USD because we knew we’d be charged double FX conversion fees otherwise, but even then it wasn’t the best rate still. It would have been perfect if we had a local US credit card to pay the bill, but that just isn’t practical. There just wasn’t a way for us to avoid the fees, other than trying to reduce it.

And this is why I believe the DBS Multi-Currency Account is the solution to getting around these fees, because of how it allows us to transact in the local currency.

Here’s how to best take advantage of your DBS MCA to save money whenever you shop online:

·       Set up alerts so you’re notified when the currency drops to your preferred (low) rate. You can even apply the dollar cost averaging (DCA) method, just like how my friend has been changing and stashing away a lot more USD almost every month in preparation for his upcoming trip ever since it fell below 1.35.

·       Buy and lock the rates into your local currency account (choose from 12 different currencies). Change your SGD only when the rates are low.

·       Pay using your DBS Visa Debit Card – linked to your DBS MCA – in the local currency (I’ve also previously reviewed this card as the best cashback debit card in the market).
Check the HQ of the online e-commerce store and use their corresponding local currency.

·       Make sure you have enough funds in your local currency wallet.

·       Sit back and watch your funds being deducted directly from your foreign currency wallet, knowing that you’ve just bypassed sneaky DCC + FX + admin fees!

Using this method, your MCA + DBS Visa Debit Card now fulfills the role of that local (country) credit card that I wished I had earlier. When you click to pay for a USD 100 item, you’ll see exactly USD 100 deducted from your USD wallet, and nothing more.

What’s the trade-off?

Ah, if you were sharp-eyed enough, you might have noticed that the DBS Visa Debit Card is ultimately a debit card, so you naturally won’t be able to get the usual miles or cashback rewards that come with using your credit cards.

But is that a cause for concern? Not really, because when you’re losing up to 15% to foreign currency conversion and processing charges, you’ll need a lot more than the usual 5 – 6% of cashback offered by most (or anything less than 10X rewards) to even balance off those extra costs you’ve paid.

For those of you playing the miles game, don’t forget that if you opt to pay in SGD or did not realise you were charged in SGD (instead of foreign currency through DCC), then you will not receive the bonus miles because your credit card may not count this as a foreign currency spend anymore. Confused? That’s why you should always just choose to pay in the local currency when you can and avoid DCC whenever possible. (The thing is, if you were paying overseas and got a physical receipt, then you’ll be able to identify the DCC charge, but online merchants almost never disclose whether they use DCC.)


The choice is yours. Cashback and rewards get reduced changed all the time (and are always subject to so much T&Cs) whereas fees are a permanent fixture. I don’t know about you, but it certainly makes a lot more sense to minimize my fees each time instead.


Don’t forget to keep at least S$3,000 in your daily average balance as well, because there will be a fall-below fee of $7.50 monthly if it falls below the minimum sum. This fee is waived if you’re under 29 years old.

How do I get my DBS MCA account?

You can first learn more about the account here, or if you’ve an existing DBS Autosave account, you can simply convert it to a DBS eMulti-Currency Autosave plus via your digibank app.

Remember to link your DBS Visa Debit card and select MCA as your primary account for the card so that you get to tap on all these savings and benefits. With this, you no longer have a reason to pay for all those nasty extra fees anymore!


This article is written in collaboration with DBS. All opinions are of my own.

ICO Review: CloudMoolah

Democratizing the gaming industry by unlocking global game payments and distribution.

What’s the problem CloudMoolah is trying to solve?

Game developers currently pay a hefty amount in distribution and marketing fees to incumbent app stores (eg. Apple App Store, Google Play). Furthermore, more than 50% of total mobile game revenue is currently earned by less than 2% of all app developers, particularly those with big advertising budgets.

SEA is the world’s fastest-growing mobile gaming market (69% y-o-y growth), but is currently fragmented, consisting of 11 countries with a fragmented payment landscape and low credit card penetration.
Game developers currently need to undergo lengthy and cumbersome integration processes to publish their apps in various app stores. Most in-app purchases currently utilize credit cards for processing, but not every gamer owns a credit card.

Within the Southeast Asia market, credit card penetration is still under 3%, so there is a need for gaming payments to be integrated with telco top-up cards, pre-paid cards, e-banking, or through other current localized modes of payment.

The existing solution is to integrate with multiple Software Development Kits (SDKs) with local payment companies, a process which takes months to complete as developers have to undergo negotiation and integration testing process with different vendors for the different markets.

The Solution

Utilize blockchain technology to faciliate gaming payments, which will help developers save on intermediary costs (such as retail margins and currency conversion fees). CloudMoolah will be a payment aggregator integrated within the Unity game development software.

What used to be months of payment integration across different country markets can now be completed in 10 minutes, and within a single CloudMoolah integration through the Unity Editor, game developers can now access more than 100 million gamers in Southeast Asia from over 500,000 retail point of sales.

As of October 2017, the CloudMoolah payment aggregator has been launched and successfully integrated into the Unity Editor. It is currently available alongside global titans such as Apple, Google Play, Amazon, Facebook, Xiaomi and Samsung:

I was also able to verify this directly from a Unity source here, where you can find proof in their manual for game developers on how to configure and integrate with CloudMoolah for in-app payments.

Over 300 game developers have already expressed an interest in integrating the CloudMoolah payment system and are currently in process of onboarding to the system.

In the next phase, Cloud Alliance, the team behind CloudMoolah aims to “build the best 3rd party Android App Store” i.e. the MOO Store, which will simplify the mobile app publishing process as it allows developers to directly publish their games from the Unity platform. The MOO Store will also offer value-added publishing services for game developers such as content localization.

Transactions on the MOO Store will be facilitated by CloudMoolah Points (CMP), which can either be purchased with fiat currency at USD 0.01 per CMP or using the MOO Tokens (at 20% bonus).

With a unified in-app currency, game developers do away with forex conversion costs and the hassle of managing currencies for different games. Game developers can easily consolidate revenues from their various games — providing operational efficiency and transferability of game economics, hence incentivising them to use and integrate this form of payment gateway into their games.

You can think of it as the “Mobile gaming Steam Store for Southeast Asia, with an in-built Kickstarter for game developers and virtual items marketplace”. (taken from their Telegram)

How does this compare with other payment competitors?

CloudMoolah is currently the only company offering an aggregated localized payment solution directly within the Unity editor. Instead of competing, they work alongside local payment incumbents and game developers.

Partnerships

To achieve their mission in democratizing game publishing and monetisation, Cloud Alliance has partnered with Unity Technologies, which many independent game developers swear by.

Unity Editor is the world’s largest video game development engine used by over 5.5 million developers today. The development of multimillion-dollar games such as Pokemon Go, Super Mario Brothers and Assassin’s Creed were supported by Unity. The Unity development platform is used to create 2D, 3D, VR and AR gaming experiences.

CloudMoolah is currently Unity’s exclusive partner in Southeast Asia. In addition, they have partnerships with the following major payment partners in SEA and Taiwan:

How impressive is the team behind CloudMoolah?

The founding team has experience and a proven track record in the gaming industry, particularly in publishing popular games such as FIFA Online 2, World of Warcraft, Counterstrike Online, Starcraft 2, etc.

What’s the value of the MOO Token?

Gamers who have purchased the MOO Token will be able to exchange their MOO Token for more CMP in the MOO Store than if they were using fiat currency. Gamers can also support the games they love using the MOO Token through crowdfunding as well as trading of services and items on the MOO Store. 

For developers, use cases of the MOO Token include: (i) Paying for game publishing services to grow their games; (ii) Receiving incubation support from Cloud Alliance; (iii) Obtaining support through crowdfunding and (iv) Trading various services and items on the MOO Store.

My Q&A with the team

1. CloudMoolah previously raised USD 5 million from Aetius Capital, of which the funds was supposed to be used to develop the product and market it worldwide. Why raise $30 million more through an ICO? Or have you already run out of the original $5M funding?

The original $5m was primarily used to develop the CloudMoolah system which we have already integrated within the Unity Editor and launched. Because of the success of the CloudMoolah project, we signed a new deal with Unity to develop an App Store called the MOO store. This is a much bigger project which requires more resources. We realise that raising the funds via an ICO would therefore make the most sense because it also draws in the community into supporting the project, which is crucial as we are ultimately about engaging the game community.

2. Given that many members on your current team have other existing commitments outside of CloudMoolah, how will your team intend to balance this out?

Of course most active and energetic people would have other interests in life outside of their core work, likewise for our team members. But our key work commitment now is CloudMoolah & MOO store. Rest assured we are expending all our efforts and time on making it a success.

3. Focusing on the Asian market first will eliminate a large majority of gamers who are based in US and Europe. Wouldn’t this limit your sales and returns?

Our business model is about improving monetization from emerging markets. We technically bridge content from advanced game-manufacturing markets such as US/Europe/Korea to SE Asia markets. Next up, we would be looking at including new payment gateways from other emerging markets as well. If you look at the SEA online gaming market alone, it is potentially a $10b market by 2025, and staying focused on this market alone can reap huge rewards.

4. “More than 100 million gamers…in Southeast Asia and Taiwan” was mentioned in your whitepaper as your target market, as well as a revenue projection of “the MOO store may generate revenues of USD 295 million by the year 2022”. Can you explain if these statistics covers all gamers in SEA, or whether it excludes gamers who use iPhones?

SE Asia markets are about half the size of China and with a red-hot growth rate of +40% as a whole. Our projections cover SE Asia alone and only on the Android users (which is also gaining market share aggressively).

5. Games downloaded from the Apple App Store will have to be paid through Apple as well. Given that many gamers also download apps from the Apple App store, how do you intend to overcome the issue of not being able to target these consumers?

Our current focus is on emerging markets where there are pent-up demand for games that is hindered by access to the centralized financial system. Android-based smartphones dominates these market – in Southeast Asia alone, Android market share (by game installation) is close to 90% – that is why we decided to target this market first.

Just the Android market itself is already a sizable potential. Also, our target audience are the non-credit card users in emerging markets, which are largely served by Android-based smartphones.

6. Adding on to the above, how will the games be distributed then? How will the game developers market and promote their games?

Our MOO Store! And we intend to put in tools to help them market and promote their games “kick-starter-style.” Having met hundreds of Unity developers in the past year, we discovered that they are their own best person to sell their game.

7. How many % of market share are you targeting for CloudMoolah, especially given that you’re competing against already established payment channels of Amazon, Google Play, Samsung Galaxy and Xiaomi?

We would prefer to see ourselves as a complement to what these established companies are providing. Realising untapped revenue for indie game developers means survivability and motivation (a great deal).

8. Regarding your whitepaper and Appendix A, how many of the 300 developers mentioned have committed to building and integrating with CloudMoolah store for payments? Will this be exclusive, or will they be integrating CloudMoolah simply as an additional payment method on top of Google Play / other competitors?

100% of them. Every developer we spoke to at the game conferences loves what we are doing. We are giving them access to a market opportunity they would most likely miss (outside of their comfort zone markets). We help them save time and effort. We help them pay their bills. In short, we help them get the “Moolah”!

TLDR Conclusion

After successfully launching their payment aggregator solution for Southeast Asia, Cloud Alliance is trying to raise USD 30 million through their ICO to now finance and develop the MOO Store, which will serve to democratize the gaming industry. Their exclusive partnership with Unity, as well as with local payment providers in SEA, will serve them well.

After an in-depth review, I’ll be putting some ETH into this ICO, and am excited to see what the team can achieve with the MOO Store!

If you’ve any thoughts to add on, I’ll love to hear them in the comments below!

With love,
Budget Babe

Here’s how I watch movies on budget flights without paying extra

The airlines business is a competitive one, especially with travel deals and budget fares promotions ongoing all the time.

So when I travel, I never believe in paying more than I absolutely have to. And given that most of my flights are to short-haul locations (under 7 hours), I’m a huge fan of always going with budget airlines whenever I have to fly.

I’ve shared previously about tips on how to pay less for budget flights here and that I typically avoid all the frills that budget airlines try to charge for, in order to earn an extra buck.

  • Travel insurance? No thanks, I’ll buy my own or claim it for free via my credit card.
  • Food? No thanks, I’ll eat before the flight (or pack my own snacks discreetly)
  • Drinks? No thanks, I’ll bring a water bottle and fill it at the airport’s water coolers.
  • Internet? No thanks, I can survive without it for a free hours.
  • Eye mask, blanket or neck cushion? No thanks, I’ll bring my own.
  • In-flight entertainment? No thanks, I have my own.
ScooTV costs USD 11 (SGD 15) which gives me entertainment access for those few hours before my flight lands, and there’s only so many movies I can squeeze in within that time. If I take 4 Scoot flights in a year, that will already cost me SGD 60 which I don’t feel is worth it at all!

In the past, I used to either bring my Kindle or download movies from my laptop onto my phone to watch them while up in the air. Yet, nowadays when we’re always rushing to pack for a flight, I really just don’t have the luxury of time to find, download to my laptop and finally transfer it to my phone -.-

However, a few months ago I was introduced to Viu Premium, compliments of my friend (whom I’ve known for over a decade) who works there. This app has made a huge difference in my life!

I was already familiar with Viu because I used them to watch Descendants of the Sun back in 2016 when they first launched, but never really bothered upgrading to a paid subscription to Viu Premium because the only benefit then was to watch the episodes earlier, and I figured it wouldn’t kill me to wait.

But ever since Viu included free unlimited movie downloads, I was in!


How I use Viu to save on entertainment costs

Considering how I’m used to watching movies at least 2 – 3 times every month in the cinemas, that’s $20+ every month. In addition, I sometimes watch Youtube shows while commuting to work, and that causes me to easily exceed my monthly data limit, so it easily costs me $10 – $30 extra every month if I’m not careful.

And here’s how Viu stacks up against the other entertainment options that I could go for:

Netflix’s standard subscription (for HD) costs $13.98 / month
Toggle Prime costs $9.90 / month
All 3 options come with unlimited films and TV programmes in HD, but Viu Premium is the most affordable at only $5.98 a month.

I can save on data by pre-downloading shows via my home WiFi and watch them offline while I’m on the go. I use this method mainly to save money while keeping myself thoroughly entertained on a budget flight (even though my phone is on airplane mode), but you can do this on your morning / evening train commute as well!
Check out all the movies I downloaded for one of my flights.
Missed catching Soong Joong Ki in cinemas? His movies are on Viu Premium too!

There’s also plenty of Asian movies on Viu Premium, even if you aren’t the biggest fan of Korean films. In fact, some of the movies that Viu has brought in were box office hits in their native countries, but never made it to Singapore shores, such as “My Annoying Brother” and “A Man and A Woman”. And much like Netflix and Toggle, Viu also has its own original productions which can’t be found elsewhere.

Key benefits of Viu Premium:

⚡Unlimited Downloads – For offline viewing 
⚡Priority Viewing – As fast as 8 hours after Korea⚡Full HD Resolution – Watch your favourite shows in full HD ⚡Casting from mobile to TV – via Chromecast & AirPlay

I’m absolutely OBSESSED with this K-drama and have been raving about it non-stop.
If you haven’t watched it yet, you’re missing out!

If you need some recommendations on what to watch, here are my personal favourites:
  • Movies:
    • The Last Princess
    • Likes for Likes
    • Miss Granny (has been remade multiple times in other countries)
    • II Mare (the original Korean movie which was later remade by Hollywood into The Lake House)
    • A Wedding Invitation
    • 200 Pounds of Beauty
    • The Truth About Beauty
    • Penny Pinchers
  • Drama series:
    • While You Were Sleeping
    • Goblin
    • Descendants of the Sun
    • Love in the Moonlight 
    • Innocent Defendant 
    • Black
The best part? The kind folks at Viu are offering Budget Babe readers a further $10.76 off, so it’ll only cost you $61 for an entire year’s worth of access!




Simply enter “SGBB15” to get a 12-month subscription to Viu Premium or click here for my affiliate link.
(Note: Promo code valid till 15 March 2018, 23:59 hours)

Now you know my secret as to how I get to watch movies on budget flights without having to fork out anything extra!

Disclosure: This post is a sponsored collaboration between Viu Premium and SG Budget Babe, where the kind folks gave me an entire year worth of free access to try it out a few months ago and I fell in love! I’ve also previously shared about them (not paid, but yes sponsored through a free 1-year subscription) here. They offered such a compelling reader’s promotion this time that I couldn’t help but share! All words and opinions here are of my own. 

With love,
Budget Babe

The SGBB Cashback App !

There’s a new app for download – one that’s designed to help you manage and maximise your cashback credit card game.

The SGBB Cashback App


Background

As an advocate of cashback credit cards, one of the most common questions I get is on how to MANAGE our cards, especially given how there are a multitude of credit cards which give varying cashback rates across different categories.

For instance, imagine if you own the OCBC 365 card and Citi Cashback Card (a pretty common combination among my friends). 

  • The OCBC 365 card gives 6% on weekend dining, but this falls to 3% if you swipe for the same dining places on weekdays.
  • On the other hand, the Citi Cashback gives 8% for dining, all days of the week.
But if you’re using your card for online shopping, you’ll be better off charging it to your OCBC 365 card which gives you 3% cashback, whereas your Citi Cashback card only gives you 0.25%.

Let’s review another combination: the DBS Live Fresh and CIMB Platinum Mastercard
  • DBS Live Fresh gives 5% for dining and entertainment
  • CIMB Platinum Mastercard only gives you 0.2% for these same categories
But if you’re shopping for toiletries and used your DBS Live Fresh card instead, you would only get 5% cashback – in contrast to the 10% you would have gotten from swiping your CIMB Platinum Mastercard.

So there’s a very real problem and pain point for consumers like myself who are trying to game the cashback rewards system here:

How do we keep track and manage our various credit cards for maximum cashback?

The truth is, credit card companies have made it extremely difficult and tedious for us consumers to keep up with all their varying terms and conditions. I’ll give you an example – consider the UOB Yolo card.

  • 6% weekend dining
  • 3% weekday dining
  • 6% weekend entertainment
  • 3% weekday entertainment
  • 3% online shopping (online fashion stores only)
  • 0.3% for all other categories
I’m not sure about you but I certainly cannot remember all of that!

The situation isn’t always as simple as a flat cashback percentage on all our spending. While there are cards like the SCB Unlimited Cashback Card which gives you 1.5% across all categories, the trade-off for this convenience is a lower cashback rate (see my review and reader’s promo here till 30 March). Remember the 10% for dining by CIMB Visa Signature?

So it got me thinking…WHAT IF I could make it easy for consumers like myself to get around this?


And then the solution hit me: a mobile app! 

Easily accessible; in your pocket anytime; captures the different categories of cashback; allows you to toggle between cards; can be updated when credit card companies change their rates…

It seemed so obvious to me that I wondered why no one else had ever done it before.

I tried building the solution myself initially through a third-party platform and completed 80% of it, but then I realised the program I was using hadn’t been very transparent about subsequent costs that needed to be paid and maintained after the app goes live. Moreover, according to their T&Cs, the data I had built would be owned by that company and I didn’t think that was right.

So I worked with a local app developer, gave him all my materials and the mock-up of the app I had built so that he would understand what I had envisioned.

After two months of working together with him, I’m proud to unveil:

The SGBB Cashback App !
If you have an iPhone, you can now download it from the App Store (search “SGBB Cashback”) for free.

(Unfortunately I only had the budget and bandwidth to do an iOS version, as the developer I worked with isn’t trained in Android, but if any of you would like to work together on this please drop me an email!)


How to use the app

You can filter by category to find out the respective cashback rates across the different credit cards. For instance, say you’re out dining at Fish & Co. on a Wednesday and cannot remember whether it will be wiser to swipe your OCBC 365 or CIMB Visa Signature. Open the app and click on “Dining (weekend)” and you’ll immediately be able to compare which card will give you the highest cashback.

In this case, the app will show you it’ll make more sense to swipe your CIMB Visa Signature!

Another way is to toggle between the different cards. Say you own 3 credit cards in your wallet but want to head out with a small clutch containing just one card.

Tap on the card you wish to view.
And the app will show you all the benefits of that card across the different categories!

Also, if you were wondering, there’s no need to worry about downloading this app because there is absolutely no catch. You’re not required to key in your personal data or share what cards you have. Heck, you don’t even need to create an account to use this app! 

There are no ads on this app and it doesn’t do annoying things like a pop-up to tell you to sign up for a new card promo, etc. I do not intend to go out there and get advertisers for this app, and neither do I have the bandwidth to do so.

This is, after all, a one-woman project (with the help of my awesome developer). And because of this, if you spot any errors in the app (especially if the cards change their rates, etc), please do let me know so I can get the changes made! It can get quite tedious for me to keep track of all the cards otherwise, especially if it isn’t cards I personally own.

(Okay, I confess – there is just ONE catch on this app…my branding, that is. Please visit my blog often for more tips and financial lobangs like this 😛 ) 

I know cards like SCB SingPost and (more recently) SCB Manhattan have been discontinued for new sign-ups, but I’ve kept them in the app because there are people I know who are still using the cards now. This may be removed in a few months time once they officially become obsolete.

So there you go guys, I hope you like this! 🙂 Go ahead and download it from the iOS App Store today!

P.S. Not sure if I still have budget leftover to pay an Android developer, but if you know of any who’s willing to work on this and charge reasonable rates, please send them my way. 😊

With love,
Dawn

ICO Analysis: Is Sentinel Chain worth investing in?


The latest crypto project aiming to provide financial services to the world’s unbanked and underbanked.
One of the latest hyped crypto projects is Sentinel Chain, which is a Singapore-based ICO due to open their public crowdsale next month. There’s presently a lot of interest as Sentinel Chain is a partner of Vechain, which is arguably the #1 supply-chain crypto right now.

If Sentinel Chain is successful, they’ll help play a crucial role in reducing the world’s income inequality and lead rural farmers to greater economic prosperity. How do they intend to achieve this? Read on to find out!

Disclaimer: I’m heavily vested in Vechain. This is my personal take (together with my friend, Tim) on the upcoming Sentinel Chain ICO and should not be miscontrued as financial advice. Please do your own due diligence before investing in anything, especially in high-risk assets like cryptocurrencies.

What is the problem Sentinel Chain is trying to solve?

Financial lending and credit is generally based on collateral. When you borrow from a bank or financial institution, they will assess your financial standing by looking at your income earnings, assets owned (stocks, property, insurance) and other factors before granting you a loan. However, a large portion of the world does not have access to such financial services because they do not have such collateral.

70% of the world’s global food production is sourced from small-scale agricultural farmers, but these same farmers are concurrently among the largest population segment globally who live on less than USD 2 a day. They may own land and valuable livestock, but are generally denied of financial credit and borrowings for their operations and scaling because their assets are generally classified as “dead capital” in the financial economy.

Most financial providers can only accept the livestock as a collateral for loan if the livestock is insured. However, insurance companies today are mostly unable to offer livestock insurance at affordable premiums because there is no “tamper-proof” identification systems to guarantee the identity and ownership of the livestock.

The Solution

Livestock will be tagged with a physically tamper-proof identity tag (through a single-use RFID chip which cannot be removed without being destroyed) and the identity data will be stored on the blockchain where it is digitally-immutable (i.e. pretty much impossible to alter the data). Together with the time-series transaction ledger, this “digital passport” will prevent fraud, and allow insurers to assess the data to verify these assets for insuring. They’ll be able to check on the blockchain if that livestock has already been pledged as well, providing a trail of credit history.

Once the livestock is insured, the banks and financial lending institutions can now accept it as collateral to grant loans to these farmers. What was previously “dead capital” can now be monetized thanks to the Sentinel Chain blockchain ecosystem and partnerships.

The CrossPay app is an Android mobile wallet that will provide the unbanked with quick access to their balances and allow for quick transactions. The blockchain will be deployed locally at the grassroots level, and the cryptocurrency to be used in the system is called the Local CrossPay Token (LTC), which will be pegged to the value of the country’s native currency. LTC will thus not be exposed to the volatilty of the cryptocurrency markets.

Partnerships

 

How impressive is the team behind Sentinel Chain?

The team spearheading Sentinel Chain have strong credentials and I’ll highlight a few prominent individuals:

Roy Lai, Founder
Has over 20 years of experience in IT and finance. Was previously responsible for leading the successful implementation of FAST (yes, that same inter-bank FAST transfers that we now use on a regular basis!) connecting 14 banks in Singapore.

Chia Hock Lai, Council Member
The founding president of the Singapore Fintech Association.

Anson Zeall, Council Member
Chairman of ACCESS, Singapore’s Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Industry Association. Is also an instructor of the fintech and blockchain workshop for the Asian Development Bank and other banks in SEA.

Zann Kwan, Council Member
Previously Vice-President of GIC, and her team brought in Singapore’s first public bitcoin machine.

David Lee, Senior Advisor
The famed SMU professor who promoted Bitcoin years before it gained mainstream media traction.

Bo Shen, Senior Advisor
The Founding Partner of VC firm Fenbushi Capital, which Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin was formerly a part of.

It is not every day I come across a crypto project with a team as impressive as this one, and given their extensive experience and connections in the financial space, that could give them a huge advantage in securing the partnerships needed to make this project a success.

What’s the value of the SENC token?

The utility of the SENC tokens are:

        Used by insurance companies to purchase LCT to store and access livestock data within the CrossPay blockchain

        Used by local financing companies to purchase LCT to pay for publishing the collateralized loan agreements to the local CrossPay blockchain

        Be held in escrow via smart contracts to minimise counter-party lending risk, so that if the local financing company defaults, then the escrowed SENC will be released to the overseas financing company to be liquidated for funds and loan repayment

        Fundraising for local community projects through peer-to-peer crowdfunding platforms, including for humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and more.

        To purchase LCT for e-payments on the CrossPay mobile app


Achievements thus far

One of their most promising milestones that stood out to me is their partnership with CloudWell in Bangladesh, which offers financial solutions to the dairy farmers, herdsmen and milkmen there. Given that over 80% of households in Bangladesh own livestock, there is a compelling and immediate use case for Sentinel Chain’s solution and B2B marketplace. It seems like they’ll be working with Green Delta Insurance (which was founded in 1985) to tokenize these farmers livestock first and get them insured as the first step to opening up access to financial services.

I managed to find secondary data sources confirming the various partnerships and pilots that were Sentinel Chain claims in their whitepaper.

CrossPay was deployed as a pilot trial with local dormitory operator TS Group last quarter (Q4 2017) at a supermarket, where migrant workers were able to make e-payments. I asked the Sentinel Chain team for the results of this pilot and was told that they’ll publish it much later, so this impacted my confidence in the project somewhat as it would have been better if we already had those results to assess.

I found a photo of Roy Lai with the VeChain team as well at their office:

 

My Q&A with Founder Roy Lai

Since most of these agricultural farmers will be out in the rural areas and are already poor without Internet access or smartphones, how will they be included in this solution?

Upon discussion with my friend Tim, we realised that there is a crucial misunderstanding of the markets here. For instance, Sentinel Chain’s target market in Myanmar already has 4G networks available, and the costs of a smartphone is about $30.

Why partner with a China insurer and a Southeast Asian bank? Why not partner with insurers who can cater to the unbanked and underbanked here in Southeast Asia first?
Roy Lai: Because there isn’t many. To access an affordable microinsurance service is not easy. It requires a large scale of members in order to diversify the risk. The China mutual insurance (Zhongtopia) has a 10 million customer base that pays 7 rmb premium and insured for 300,000 rmb.

Me: Will Zhongtopia be able to insure livestock of countries outside of China then, or is your partnership with them only for the China markets for now? If it’s only for China, when will the tentative pilot and roll-out be for livestock in rural China?

Roy Lai: The partnership is to explore mutual insurance outside China – not livestocks.

Why was CrossPay’s first pilot test run on migrant workers in Singapore, instead of an agricultural pilot in either Bangladesh or Vietnam to provide an indication to investors who can then evaluate the project’s potential success in the future when rolled out on a greater scale?

Roy Lai:  CrossPay’s pilot for Singapore utilises only the payment function which is only a part of the CrossPay’s functionality. The strategic value in doing it in a Singapore foreign worker’s dormitory is that as the hub of Asia it has workers from all parts of Asia, and is easier to solve the user experience problem simultaneously across different nationalities without going through country by country.
Is the technology for the tamper-proof RFID tags already ready? Who will be manufacturing and providing these tags? Who will bear the costs of these RFID chips and be responsible for implanting it into the livestock?

Roy Lai: Yes. We have an extensive R&D partnership with another Singapore company to design the tag for blockchain use. The costs of these RFID chips are born by the insurance and loan companies. We work with partners that has extensive agent network on the ground to manage the last mile deployments. We will not be able to share the name of the Singapore company designing and manufacturing the RFID chips without NDA.

You can also check out their Livestock RFID Tag Demo using CrossPay here:

Will there be a limit to the number of LCT tokens issued in each local country? How will the team differentiate between LCT tokens for the Bangladesh market vs. the Thailand markets, for instance?

Roy Lai: LCT tokens issued in each local country has no limit but a conversion between SENC and LCT is required. LCT tokens for different market are derived from USD exchange rate for the fiat vs the USD exchange rate for SENC token.

How will Sentinel Chain decide how many to issue (i.e. the number of LCT tokens then per country?) Any metric or guideline would be helpful.

Roy Lai: Not without NDA.

Has Sentinel Chain secured any government agreements or discussions to roll this out for their country’s agricultural population thus far?

Roy Lai: Further news to be announced. The aim is to announce before the ICO crowdsale closes.

I understand that a partnership agreement was signed with CloudWell, and the same article written by Anne mentioned Green Delta as the local insurance partner. Can you clarify if Green Delta has officially agreed to partner and insure the Bangladeshi livestock that will be placed on Sentinel Chain’s blockchain, or are they merely a partner of CloudWell that you were referencing?

Roy Lai: This is a tripartite partnership with Cloudwell providing the last mile support, Green Delta as the livestock insurance provider and InfoCorp providing the CrossPay network.

Future Use Cases

Rather than solely monetizing dead capital to allow for financial inclusion of the unbanked, SENC also seeks to develop the following use cases. One of them which we were highly supportive of was the use of SENC for community projects. The users that SENC targets are the very same exact individuals who are disadvantaged in their access to basic infrastructure such as electricity, roads or clean water. Through the SENC Blockchain, third party not-for-profit organisations may purchase SENC as a medium of exchange for LCT to finance social inclusion activities such as building of infrastructure, to sending donations and offering financial aid through fundraising platforms which Sentinel Chain is looking to develop in future.


 TLDR Conclusion
I’ve also separately met up with another staff working on Sentinel Chain (Jackie), and asked about the project. After this in-depth review, it is safe to say that I’ll be putting some ETH into this.
If you’ve any further thoughts on Sentinel Chain to add on, I’ll love to hear them!
P.S. This is NOT a sponsored article. The full research was conducted together with my good friend in crypto, Timothy Ng Wen Jun. Thanks for all your help!
With love,
Budget Babe 

SG Budget Babe on Budget 2018

If you were wondering whether that girl you saw on TV yesterday night was me, yes it was!Channel News Asia (CNA) had kindly invited me to be part of their Ask the Finance Minister 2018 show, where they gathered 5 Singaporeans from different walks …