Traditionally, the visa application process usually is tedious, slow, and not entirely secure. To address these problems, the government of Thailand is adopting an innovative approach and turning to blockchain technology. In a recent announcement, Thailand unveiled its plans to enhance its Electronic Visa On Arrival (eVOA) system by creating a Thailand E-visa blockchain system. This upgrade to its eVOA system will help speed up and secure the digital visa application process. To bring this project to life, Thailand has partnered with an Australian travel company, ShareRing, and Gateway services.
Currently, Thailand’s land entry ports and airports are the only venues where people can process their Visa On Arrival. Aside from location restrictions, this process is also paper-based and can be quite demanding, requiring visitors to carry several documents at once and could take up to an hour or more to complete. According to ShareRing’s co-founder and CEO, Tim Bos, the new Thailand E-visa blockchain system could significantly streamline this process and ease the burden on visitors and save time.
The Thailand E-visa blockchain system requires contributions from ShareRing and Gateway services. ShareRing provides Gateway services with its native technology, the self-sovereign identity technology known as OneID. OneID functions as a security measure, and protects data by encrypting it and storing it on a blockchain. By combining blockchain and OCR, Tim Bos explained that they would be able to greatly speed up the process within the Thailand E-visa blockchain system because this will lessen the time required by eVOA partners to verify data. Based on information extrapolated from the announcement of this project, it appears that Thailand initially seeks to roll out this service for Chinese and Indian tourists before branching out to other nationalities.
Thailand has decided to make the transition from paper to digital with the help of blockchain technology. Digitization provides several advantages over the usual paper methods, and many studies have shown that replacing paper-based applications with digital, electronic, or virtual alternatives leads to a boost in the efficiency of an entire system. For instance, digitization allows for the rapid processing of information within a short time; it also enables one to find information faster, and delete unwanted data. These merits disappear when using paper-based applications; finding information becomes difficult since one may have to sort through an extensive paper database. This process can be stressful and time-consuming. Aside from this, making mistakes while inputting data could be costly with dire consequences because once the data has been printed and distributed, it is almost impossible to make corrections.
Blockchain core merits include decentralization, immutability, cryptographic security, and transparency. While digitization is a great concept on its own, blockchain could even make it better. Digitization has evolved from basic machine-to-machine process automation. Thanks to blockchain implementation, there is now a massive convergence of technologies and people across different integrated ecosystems. This new wave of digitization is ushering in a new era of efficiency. This is forcing businesses and even governments around the world to upgrade their operations to keep up with the changing times.