Singapore is well recognized both regionally and internationally for its blockchain-friendly regulatory climate. However, what few are aware of is that apart from Singapore, Thailand has emerged as a blockchain trailblazer in the Southeast Asian region. In Thailand, a majority of the prominent blockchain projects are led by state enterprises and national banks.
According to the UTCC, the value of Thailand’s digital economy is projected to be worth more than 3 trillion baht in 2018, a 25% increase from 2017, signaling that the nation is strategically positioned to be Southeast Asia’s next blockchain hub after Singapore.
Over the past 2 to 3 years, Thailand has been home to remarkable progress in blockchain application — from logistics to banking to digital identity projects. We have identified 4 blockchain projects in Thailand that we believe are valuable use cases for other blockchain players in Southeast Asia.
- The state-owned postal service, Thailand Post, is leveraging on blockchain technology to improve its supply chain efficiency across all touchpoints — from warehouse processes to delivery services. For the pilot, the focus will be on tracking big-ticket items across the supply chain.
- While there are numerous use cases for blockchain in the logistics industry, what’s applaudable is that the Thai government is taking lead in implementing blockchain technology in the public sector. If piloted successfully on a larger scale, this blockchain initiative could set a momentous precedent for the Southeast Asian region in transforming the transport/shipping ecosystem.
Banking — IBM Blockchain
- The Monetary Authority of Singapore and the Bank of Canada have been among the first movers worldwide to explore cross-border payment partnerships and implement digital currency services. In a bold move, the Bank of Thailand is jumping on the blockchain bandwagon with the objective of minimizing interbank settlement fees.
- In collaboration with IBM, 14 banks have come together to formalize the Thailand Blockchain Community Initiative, which will streamline Letters of Guarantee via a shared trade finance platform.
- Built on the IBM Hyperledger Fabric, this is a landmark collaboration as it will bring together 4 of the leading banks in the nation: Bangkok Bank, Krung Thai Bank, Siam Commercial Bank and Kasikornbank.
Payments — Ripple
- One of Thailand’s leading banks, the Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), is also partnering with Japan’s SBI Remit to enable real-time remittance payments between Japan and Thailand.
- This innovative partnership is built on Ripple’s platform, which reduces the remittance transaction time from 2 days to no more than 5 seconds.
- According to the official press release, SCB intends to scale the blockchain technology beyond bilateral remittance payments to include the broader Asia Pacific region, as well as Europe and North America. It will be interesting to observe as SCB scales its platform to international markets.
Digital Identity — Ethereum
- The Electronic Transactions Development Agency (ETDA) is partnering with Bangkok-based Omise to build a nationwide, electronic Know Your Client (KYC) platform. The platform aims to minimize fraudulent activities online.
- The project is being developed in collaboration with OmiseGo, a public platform built on Ethereum that provides an open payment gateway. Through the partnership between ETDA and Omise, a citizen’s digital identity can be used in a broad range of applications, such as accessing their government agency and bank accounts online, as well as making electronic wallet transactions.
There have been speculations about whether the new legislations on crypto taxation may impose significant barriers for the blockchain market in Thailand. Nonetheless, an increasing number of conglomerates and SMEs are beginning to realize the numerous advantages of being an early adopter of blockchain technology. Thailand is marking its mark on the regional blockchain scene and startups, too, can lead the way through bottom-up innovation.
Close references have been made to the following sources: