Macao Bets on Open-sourced Blockchain For Cross-border Tourism

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Blockchain will soon play a more prominent role in global tourism.

Macao and Chinese mainland authorities are already using blockchain to mutually recognize Macao and Guangdong health codes. The average time of receiving, transforming, and generating the health code for the first time is only 100 seconds. And it will only take less than 3 seconds to complete the procedure when the traveler clears customs again.

The deployment began in May when Serviços de Saúde de Macau (SSM) and Macao Science and Technology Development Fund (FDCT) became the first to establish a blockchain-based health code system to fight the epidemic — the Macao blockchain health code. The code serves as an electronic pass for residents to access public places and is part of Macao's epidemic prevention measures.

The health code was later extended to mutually recognize the Chinese mainland's Guangdong health code system. It used China's open-source blockchain platform FISCO BCOS and WeIdentity for information verification across organizations.

The setup addresses a significant challenge in using health codes across jurisdictions — the different information security and privacy protection regulations in both the Chinese mainland and Macao.

Health authorities in the Chinese mainland and Macao need to verify the health information submitted by users crossing the border. Yet, they are not supposed to exchange data directly with each other to comply with their corresponding regulations.

The WeIdentity solution encrypts IDs and personal health data as verifiable digital credentials signed by the issuing authorities and recorded on the consortium blockchain network serving the participating organizations.

Users then transmit data to the receivers directly via a secured communication channel. Receivers can verify the data's integrity by comparing it with the corresponding digital credentials as recorded on the blockchain.

On the one hand, such a blockchain-based solution offers robust data verification mechanisms among trusted parties while at the same time ensures that the generation and the use of the Macao health code fully comply with the Personal Data Protection Act of Macao.

The mutual recognition mechanism converts health codes for the users, so they do not have to repeatedly fill in personal information on different platforms.

Image credit: iStockphoto/AvigatorPhotographer