Chinese conglomerate Tencent Holdings is partnering with blockchain company ShareRing to launch a new digital identity system that will simplify international travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the South China Morning Post reported on Tuesday, ShareRing is integrating its distributed ledger technology with Tencent’s cloud services to create a blockchain-based digital identity management platform.
Specifically, ShareRing will use Tencent Cloud’s optical character recognition and facial recognition technology to improve its “sovereign identity application.” As it stands, the application can be used to book flights, book hotels, rent a car and many other services.
In a joint statement, Tencent and ShareRing said the partnership aims to help Southeast Asian countries “open their borders to tourism and recover from the economic downturn” caused by COVID-19.
The travel and tourism industry has been hit by a global stalemate, and ratings agency Standard & Poor’s predicts a 60-70% decline in global air traffic this year.
The companies indicated that the platform has already generated interest from various government agencies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes 10 member states.
Blockchain technology has long been touted as a potential value creation driver for digital identity systems. The blockchain is believed to provide more secure management and storage of digital identities, which can enable seamless travel, data verification, collection of health messages, and simplified KYC protocols.
This isn’t the first time Tencent has been involved in blockchain product development. As Cointelegraph previously reported, the former tech giant has built a tracking platform for China’s oldest wine producer. Tencent also maintains a blockchain consortium called FISCO BCOS through WeBank.