With weeks of the World Blockchain Summit taking place in Bangkok on December 2, the Thai government has announced that it will utilize blockchain technology to upgrade its Electronic Visa On Arrival (eVOA) process.
The current paper-based eVOA system is known to lead to lengthy queues at the border, but in a joint venture with Australian blockchain company ShareRing, tourists from many countries including China and India can now complete the visa process using the ShareRing app.
Please Note: This is a Press Release
One ID to Rule Them All
The upgraded eVOA process will be powered by OneID, ShareRing’s proprietary identity management system which is proclaimed to be agile, scalable and highly secure. OneID harnesses advances in information security and consensus protocols in distributed systems to facilitate quicker entry into Thailand via online application. It also protects user data by handling Know Your Customer (KYC) information via a Self Sovereign Identity Protocol. ShareRing does not hold any identifying information on its servers, and the protocol encrypts and stores travelers’ personal data in a secure enclave within their device.
The news is the latest in a series of heavy blockchain investments in Thailand: just last month the Excise Department announced the forthcoming introduction of a blockchain-based tax payback system. A blockchain-based renewables platform is also being developed by energy conglomerate PTT.
The new blockchain-powered eVOA system is expected to be ready to use by February, and should considerably quicken the digital visa application process while also safeguarding applicants’ identities from fraudsters. Initially, it will be implemented by Gateway Services, one of two entities entitled to process eVOA for Thailand (via https://www.evisathailand.com).
Millions to Process
Gateway handles visas from 20 countries including China and India, with both countries set to be the focus of the new process. Collectively, the nations were responsible for over 10 million tourists visiting Thailand in 2019.
Opas Petchmunee, CEO and founder of Gateway, hailed the move saying, “Coupled with our proprietary AI software leveraging cutting-edge algorithms, our collaboration with ShareRing will enable our eVOA process to be much more efficient, secure and cost effective, while maintaining a high level of security and integrity of customer information.”
The eVOA system will apply to persons seeking electronic travel authorization for the purpose of vacationing in the country; those who intend to work in Thailand must follow separate procedures. The country is the tourist gateway of Southeast Asia, with over 38 million visitors every year.