The future of blockchain currently seems uncertain following the crash in cryptocurrency prices. However, enthusiasm abounded at the World Blockchain Summit held in Bangkok on 2 December 2019 for the potential of this ground-breaking technology.
When the summits first began in 2017, money was being heavily invested in blockchain. However, there came a surge in scams, cyber-threats and bad projects.
While 90% of those projects no longer exist, those that remain are genuine projects developing blockchain and much more of the funding comes from institutional funds and investors.
One particular global business events and consulting firm chose Bangkok based on the Thai government’s interest in regulating and developing cryptocurrency as well as the Thailand 4.0 development roadmap.
It is believed that blockchain will achieve mass adoption in the next 3-5 years, but without mass adoption, many of these great projects will die because they will not be generating sufficient revenue. The key to blockchain’s survival is widely adopted use cases.
Despite many innovative uses for the technology being touted by start-ups, there has yet to be a standout use case that makes blockchain truly indispensable to enterprises or the public, or at least enough of public good to offset the massive environmental toll of cryptocurrency mining.
In Thailand, blockchain is being tested as a way to trade solar energy by the state-owned renewable energy firm BCPG.
Massive amounts of energy from rooftop solar is wasted because people have to go to work or leave the home and the energy is not used, one expert noted.
During summertime, an empty school with rooftop solar panels can sell surplus power to other buildings through smart contracts on the blockchain.
With the technology, buildings that generate their own energy can sell excess, unused power either back to the electric grid or to other homes and businesses through a peer-to-peer model.
The system is already being used at Chiang Mai University, where electric buses can both take and give back electricity to the school’s power grid.
Blockchain technology is not a miraculous cure for all our cybersecurity woes but it is an enabler of things we don’t even know yet, one expert noted in a panel at the summit. In the last three years, there have been solutions that allow businesses to run operations better, cheaper and faster.
The Managing Director of Krungsri Finnovate, said that the bank is already incorporating blockchain technology to address a number of problems, including the development of the government’s e-KYC programme to keep track of digital lending.
The bank has also partnered with a cryptocurrency popular with large banks, to offer cheap, fast fund transfers between Thailand and Laos, and Thailand and Singapore.
OpenGov Asia recently reported that the Joint Standing Committee of Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) of Thailand announced the completion of a trial of a trade platform leveraging blockchain technology and developed by a Japanese system integration company.
The test was run as part of JSCCIB’s private sector initiative to develop a National Digital Trade Platform (NDTP) in Thailand. The project is being developed to boost international trade in Thailand and the broader ASEAN region.
NDTP would increase the efficiency of trades by reducing processing cost and time. It will also help curb double financing and fraudulent documents as well as improve access to finance for SMEs.
Blockchain is an incredible technology with tremendous potential, specifically for countries in the ASEAN region. However, its mass adoption is dependent on how well governments of ASEAN nations develop policies for regulation and security.