Chinese conglomerate Tencent is working with blockchain startup ShareRing to develop a decentralized ledger technology (DLT) base layer for more efficient identity management systems.
The move is part of efforts to use the technology to bootstrap a recovery in the travel and tourism sector, which has been one of the hardest-hit industries by the coronavirus pandemic.
Reviving Tourism in China with Blockchain Technology
According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), both companies are collaborating in a joint blockchain-based identity management venture.
The project will integrate Tencent’s optical character recognition (OCR) with ShareRing’s blockchain identity management app. An initial roll-out is likely to cover Southeast Asia.
The resultant identity management framework will reportedly improve the accuracy and efficiency of travel data entry protocols. ShareRing’s blockchain self-sovereign identity app already offers shielded data management capability that prevents malicious access from third-party platforms.
As part of the project, both companies are working to create a contact tracing passport system that can be utilized across the full spectrum of the travel industry, including e-visa platforms, hotels, and airlines, among others.
In a joint statement, both firms revealed that Southeast Asian governments have already begun showing interest in the project. According to both companies, the project will also help to revive tourism in the region. Southeast Asian nations rely greatly on tourism as a major contributor to their GDP.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause major disruptions to the global travel industry. Back in May, the UN’s World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) predicted that international tourism could decline by as much as 80% in 2020.
Tencent and ShareRing’s project is an indicator of a shifting focus to technological improvements in the travel sector which remains one of the more labor-intensive industries.
Indeed, back in July, BeInCrypto also identified travel and tourism as one of the economic segments primed for increased blockchain adoption amid the pandemic.
Currently, countries like Thailand and Singapore are reportedly working towards promoting contactless protocols across the travel sector. In this quest to accelerate digitization, blockchain will also likely begin to see greater adoption as more nations commit to balancing economic growth with public health concerns.