Chiang Mai Looking towards Blockchain Technology for Solutions

 | Mon 27 May 2019 12:47 ICT

CityNews – On Friday, May 24th, approximately 200 people were present at the conference held at the International Convention Hall of Grand View Hotel to learn about a relevant subject matter in contemporary society: blockchain technology. The conference, titled “Reforming a Society with Blockchain,” was hosted by Chiang Mai University’s International College of Digital Innovation. Several distinguished digital innovation experts were invited to speak on blockchain technology – how it is currently being used in transactions and how it has the potential to reform Thailand’s society and economy through entrepreneurial businesses if effectively utilised in important social sectors such as energy and healthcare.

The conference began with an opening speech by Dr. Nopasit Chakpitak, Dean of the International College of Digital Innovation (ICDI). He starts off a day full of intellectual discussion by remarking that investing in blockchain technology will allow us to reap its benefits in the long term.

The entire conference was loaded with many insightful ideas and information. Aurora Unnanuntana, the Director of Payment Systems, presented on how blockchain will benefit The Bank of Thailand (BOT). With the use of a universal application like PromptPay, blockchain technology is able to connect economic sectors and improve the efficiency of all financial transactions, while also optimising the whole cost efficiency of any financial activity. While some may still be concerned about the security of this system, Aurora states that adapting to this model will actually ensure consumer protection due to an increase in international collaboration, thereby enhancing cyber resilience.

On a different note, Varodom Pitakanonda, President of Chiang Mai Chamber of Commerce, explained how blockchain and its concept of an incentive can improve not only the environment, but also tourism in Thailand. He called attention to Chiang Mai’s current struggles with our climate stabilisation, and pitched the idea to incentivise the cleaning of our city as a way to maintain our economy and tourism. For instance, through the collection and compression of dry leaves, people can generate an income while also cleaning up the environment. However positive this may sound, a few questions beg to be answered – who can participate? Are foreign expats and non-immigrants included? When and how will these be processed in the future? Will there be collectors or would there be localised drop zones?

International guest, Dr. Jemma Green, also came to speak at the conference. Dr. Green is the chairman and co-founder of Power Ledger, which is an energy company based in Perth, Australia. The company has been running for three years now, and Dr. Green is proud to announce that they have been utilising blockchain technology to maintain their system, which is a hybrid of sorts – they are not centralised and have only big power plants, but also work with smaller businesses. Power Ledger helps finance electricity and energy locally and internationally, forging partnerships with companies in Australia, the United States, Japan, and Thailand. Over the years, there has been a decline in the price of technology, and Dr. Green’s company has taken full advantage of that by providing exposure, commercialising, and incentivising energy production. With Power Ledger, they provide an X Grid for neighborhoods and U Grids for commercial centers – these systems provide a way of distributing energy fairly and evenly across consumers. Energy efficiency has also been incentised by generating income for consuming less than the allocated amount.

The majority of presentations were delivered in Thai, but IDCI was very accommodating and prepared headsets in order for listeners to be able to engage in either an English or Thai translation of the ongoing presentations. IDCI further showcased their hospitality by providing a coffee break in the morning and a generous free lunch at noon. A day of captivating and innovative speeches, along with question and answer portions, launched great discussion amongst audiences and was a crucial step in promoting widespread understanding of blockchain technology in Chiang Mai and all of Thailand.

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