Thailand could soon figure among the earliest countries to officially implement blockchain technology.
News broke today that Omise (the company behind the OmiseGO project) and the country’s Ministry of Digital Affairs had signed a Memorandum of Understanding. It’s a move that will see the parties collaborate in order to develop a nation-wide digital identity verification and online payment system. The Thai government will use Omise infrastructure to provide its citizens with a National Digital ID, which it is hoped will reduce fraudulent behavior online and protect consumers. It is also hoped that the system will make online transactions more convenient, faster and more efficient for end-users.
OmiseGO founder Jun Hasegawa took to Twitter following the announcement, focusing on the positive impact blockchain technology could have on Thai citizens.
Whilst the news could indicate the first mainstream use-case for a blockchain, questions still remain regarding the technology’s ability to scale to this size. Currently , very action on the Ethereum blockchain must undergo a confirmation process, and the system cannot process the amount of work that a nation-wide platform would demand. OmiseGo has been working with Ethereum developers tackling exactly this problem, aiming to approach the issue with solutions such as Plasma.
Last week OmiseGO was also involved in the launch of the Ethereum Community Fund. The Fund, a collaborative effort between projects building on the Ethereum network, is aiming to streamline research and development tackling the scalability issue. It’s a sign that development is ramping up, with the prospect of mainstream adoption becoming more tangible as blockchain technology grows increasingly popular. Whether the Ethereum network can match the high expectations blockchain-enthusiasts have set remains to be seen, but it’s likely we’ll find out this year.
Governments across the globe are weighing up the benefits of blockchain technology, with national cryptocurrencies being considered from Senegal to Scotland. Whilst the advantages of state cryptocurrencies are considered, this implementation of blockchain technology will likely take several years. Partnerships such as today’s announcement however could see blockchain integration much more quickly. Digital identity verification is a central concern for governments, who are worried that cryptocurrency offers a way for individuals to circumvent financial legislation. Omise’s cooperation with Thai officials in this area may see it leap ahead of rival platforms, and if the infrastructure can support it, gain mainstream adoption.