As the saying goes, nothing in life is certain but death and taxes. To be certain of taxes, will blockchain seal the deal?
Last week, Thailand’s Revenue Department was reported to be bringing blockchain projects into the fold to track tax payments, aided by machine learning. As reported in Asia Times, blockchain technology will be used to help stanch tax avoidance and track refunds, among other activities.
Ekniti Nitithanprapas, the Revenue Department’s director-general, said blockchain will be used to verify taxes that have been paid, as well as speed up the tax refund process. The machine learning aspect will be used in an effort to uncover fraud.
There was no explicit timetable revealed as to when the blockchain initiative would debut and go live, reported Cointelegraph, though officials have stated that the movement toward a digital tax collection system remains a government priority. There is some precedent for the digital tax collection effort, as the country’s Ministry of Commerce said in October that it will bring decentralized ledger technology to trade finance, agriculture and copyright activity. As might be expected, smart contracts are tied to those blockchain aims.
Bank-led blockchain projects have been making headway in Thailand. Over the fall season, the country's fourth-largest bank, Kasikornbank, said it partnered with Visa's B2B Connect program to use blockchain in conjunction with cross-border payments.
Bread By Blockchain
Separately, a blockchain pilot focused on commodities trading — and financing — was completed earlier in the month. As reported by S&P Global, Transoil International and Solaris completed a transaction involving Black Sea wheat. The sale involved a 25,000 metric-ton shipment, where blockchain was used to streamline processes ranging from dispute settlement to transaction monitoring.
The announcement is among the latest in a string of supply chain-focused blockchain headlines that are geared toward boosting transparency in cross-border transactions. The transaction was completed using the blockchain-based platform provided by Cerealia, which stated that “an independent auditor has reviewed all the important details of the trade from the blockchain, and validated the smart contract, digital signatures, signed document and timestamps. [The auditor] also confirmed that data has been encrypted, that no other data has been stored and that all data is up to date."
The news follows an earlier headlines in the fall, when a quarter of the largest agriculture companies announced joint efforts to digitize cross-border grain trading through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain, eyeing post-trade processes, which are often manual (and costly) activities.
Earlier in the month, it was reported that China’s Tencent has made moves using blockchain for trade finance through its Tencent Financial Technology unit. The supply chain finance solution, known as WeChain, is focused on small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). The offering, according to BlockchainStocks, is one that will let WeChat users gain access to trade finance via smart devices. Tencent is in collaboration with Linklogis to build the platform.
Tencent management has said in the past that the company needs to bring more focus on B2B processes. Blockchain will bring data security and credibility to trade finance processes, said eCommerceDailyNews.
The Tencent news comes as HSBC India and ING Bank Brussels have executed a blockchain-underpinned trade finance transaction between Reliance Industries and Tricon Energy. Blockchain had been used to establish a Letter of Credit (LC) transaction for the shipment between the companies. The transaction, said sources, was executed through the use of R3’s Corda blockchain platform.