Chinese conglomerate Tencent Holdings is joining forces with blockchain company ShareRing to launch a new digital identification system to streamline international travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the South China Morning Post reported Tuesday, ShareRing will combine 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 help improve its “self-sovereign identity app.” In its current form, the app can be used to book flights, hotel reservations, car rentals and a variety of other services.
In a joint statement, Tencent and ShareRing said the aim of this partnership is to help Southeast Asian countries “reopen their borders to tourism and recover from the economic blow” of COVID-19.
The travel and tourism industry has been ravaged by global lockdowns, with S&P Global Ratings forecasting a 60% to 70% drop in global air traffic this year.
The companies indicated that the platform has already received interest from various government agencies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which includes 10 member states.
Blockchain technology has long been touted as a potential value-driver of digital recognition systems. Blockchain is said to provide more secure management and storage of digital identities, which may enable seamless travel, background checks, health record collection and streamlined Know Your Customer protocols.
This isn’t the first time Tencent has been linked to blockchain product development. As Cointelegraph previously reported, the tech conglomerate previously built a wine traceability platform for China’s oldest wine producer. Tencent is also backing a blockchain consortium called FISCO BCOS through its WeBank entity.
ShareRing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.