In Quah Zheng Wei’s wildest dreams, he would be an immortal. “I want to experience different eras and learn about things that I would otherwise not be able to learn in such a short lifespan,” he says.
Quah is hanging on to the hope that scientists will make that dream a reality in the coming decades, but meanwhile, he’s certainly not taking any chances with his limited time on Earth. “Feeling challenged keeps me going. I’m always in pursuit of the next bigger problem to solve and the next bigger goal to achieve,” he enthuses.
The last time Quah set his mind to learning something new, he ended up contributing to the government’s efforts to combat COVID-19. A chartered accountant by training, he took a break from a promising banking job to teach himself programming. Within six months, he had figured out how to fully deploy apps. Armed with his new skills, he joined a few technology start-ups before founding one of his own.
Today, he is the CEO of Accredify, the firm behind Digital Health Passport, which was first used by the government during the outbreak in the foreign worker dormitories last year. Quah recalls: “We assisted the Ministry of Health in digitising COVID-19 medical records to allow the ease of authenticating discharge memos, test results and vaccination records.”
The backbone of Accredify’s technology is blockchain, the potential of which Quah understood early, in 2016. “As a chartered accountant, the first thing that came to my mind was the possibility of real-time audit with the world’s transactions instantly verifiable yet securely private,” he describes. It didn’t take him long to realise that the potential applications are much wider. Besides health records, Accredify also works with educational institutions to issue verifiable degrees and certificates.
“I strongly believe that we are in the midst of a structural and systematic change from digital data to verifiable data,” Quah says. And as an early entrant to this space, he has big dreams for Accredify. “I want to make Accredify the Google for verifiable data.”