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Thailand MoC and UK Embassy in Thailand commence study for crypto-integration

According to a recent report, Thailand’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO) has already launched the study’s first phase. To explain it in greater detail, it was noted that the first phase of the study will lay emphasis on particular crucial areas.

These areas include traceability, trade financing, company and IP registration management and digital IDs.

Another news agency, i.e. reporting agency that broke the story, stated in an article that the director-general of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO) stated that the office received the go-ahead with the full support of the British Embassy in Bangkok.

The studies for using blockchain on IP registration and trade finance are expected to be completed in February 2019.

The article described blockchain as a digital ledger in which transactions made in bitcoin or another cryptocurrency are recorded chronologically and publicly.

According to the article, the study will cover an impressive array of IP topics from registration, IP protection and smart contracts via blockchain to commercialisation opportunities for IP on blockchain technology. The study also involves IP law review, IP management process review and stakeholder interviews.

Using blockchain for the process could reduce processing time to less than three days, improving transparency and increasing confidence and trust for exporters and foreign importers, benefiting Thai farmers, said Ms Pimchanok.

Nusara Kanjanakul, deputy director-general of the Intellectual Property Department, said blockchain can start to apply for copyright now because ownership has more requirements than the patent and trademark system, meaning it takes more time to be approved.

The segment of copyright licensing, such as with music, has seen several lawsuits as music copyright registration is not compulsory by law, said Mr Nusara.

As is probably evident, this initial phase of the research will provide clarity on how to maximize transparency, reduce operations cost, and streamline relevant processes. For those who may not know, TPSO is an arm under the bigger Ministry of Commerce.

In addition, the news group that broke the story pointed out that the study will focus on reviews of IP management processes, interviews with stakeholders, and IP laws.

Moreover, the TPSO will dissect and deconstruct any possible challenges that may arise preceding the mass adoption and the TPSO will develop an experimental sandbox that will enable developers to test blockchain technology use cases in agriculture.

The reason for this can be attributed to the fact groups of Thai farmers, known as “Smart farmer” groups, talked to TPSO and said that the time spent processing exports of organic rice from Thailand came to be upwards of 15 days. Moreover, the farmers were displeased with the red tape and bureaucracy they faced being put through the rigorous and exhausting process of documentation, that often came at a high cost.

The study made it apparent that the farmer struggle as they pass through at least seven different agencies of Thai government. However, the TPSO firmly believes that blockchain technology can inspire a shift in the archetype. It hopes to reduce the number of days expended in the bureaucratic bottleneck to a maximum of three. In the end, it hope to eliminate what it deems ‘parasitic middlemen’.

In recent times, Thailand has been exploring the possibility of using the technology to improve its future.

For instance, in June, the Thai Government legalized seven popular cryptocurrencies. Also, the country has encouraged digital currency exchanges and broker-dealers to apply for licenses.

The following month (July 2018) Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) gave more digital token issuers the green light to file for applications.

Moreover, in the same month, the Thai SEC categorized ICOs into three classes: utility tokens, investment tokens, and cryptocurrencies. Indeed, this study and other moves point to the fact that Thailand is an emerging blockchain-centric hub.

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