Thailand’s Ministry of Finance announced last week that it would begin the process of exploring potential uses for blockchain technology in the areas of trade finance and the registration of intellectual property.
Two separate feasibility studies will be conducted under the purview of the Finance Ministry with the support of the British embassy. The studies will be carried out by the Trade Policy and Strategy Office, under the direction of Pimchanok Vonkorpon, as reported by the Bangkok Post.
The studies are slated to be complete as soon as February 2019.
The ministry intends to find out if the use of blockchain will help the country become more attractive to investors – boosting its credibility and competitiveness in relation to growing small and medium enterprises.
The Thai Bond Market Association has also expressed its own interest in participating in blockchain innovation in the country’s trade finance industry. The TBMA has reported that a decentralized registration platform supported by blockchain could expedite bond issuance times from 7-15 days to just 3-4 days, which would be an enormous enhancement of efficiencies.
The Finance Ministry is so far relying on all of the general blockchain tropes to promote its new exploratory studies.
They have remarked on the capacity of blockchain technology to improve transparency for investors in the trade finance industry and for the registration of new intellectual property.
The study regarding intellectual property appears to have been given a relatively broad scope. In addition to its exploration of blockchain’s utility, it will seek to conduct a review of intellectual property law and the bureaucratic processes involving registrations.
Expediting Rice Exports
In addition to the two feasibility studies, the TPSO is currently examining blockchain’s potential in agriculture, particularly concerning rice exports.
As of now, processing of rice exports from Thailand takes between 15-20 days – entailing a considerable amount of bureaucratic waste.
It seems like the TPSO is placing a lot of hope in the capacity of blockchain technology to expedite antiquated bureaucratic processes, from trade finance to agriculture.
Implementing blockchain-based solutions is not new in the country. Last month, Thailand’s fourth-largest bank, Kasikornbank, partnered with Visa B2B Connect to provide customers with blockchain-based cross-border transactions. And last August, the Bank of Thailand allowed financial companies to deal in cryptocurrencies.