Health Identity News

Blockchain health code system enables tourism between Macao, China

covid-19 travel

In January the Chinese government stopped issuing tourist visas to Macao due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since late September, it has resumed issuing visas to Chinese visitors in part because of Macao’s blockchain health code. The code leverages China’s open-source blockchain platform FISCO BCOS and Weldentity and is used to verify tourists’ health status before customs clearance.

The solution has been used by 17 million people and is extremely fast, taking less than two minutes to generate a code initially and as little as three seconds to get through customs.

Back in May, Macao’s health system was one of the first to use blockchain to fight the epidemic. The blockchain-based health code system serves as an electronic pass for residents to access public places. The recently added mechanism of mutual recognition with Chinese mainland’s Guangdong health code system is what enables visitors’ health information to be efficiently and accurately verified at customs. 

Since Macao and Guangdong are in different jurisdictions, mutual recognition mechanisms are particularly complicated to implement due to strict data protection regulations. Health information submitted by users is not supposed to be directly exchanged between the health authorities of Macao and the Chinese mainland. 

This is where open-source solution Weldentity, which was developed by WeBank and built on top of a consortium blockchain, comes into play. The statement explains: “The way WeIdentity solution works – IDs and personal health data are encrypted to verifiable digital credentials signed by the issuing authorities and recorded on the consortium blockchain network serving the participating organizations. Users transmit data to the receivers directly via a secured communication channel. Receivers will be able to verify the integrity of the data received by comparing with the corresponding digital credentials as recorded on blockchain.”

Meanwhile, FISCO BCOS has the potential for expanding this solution across outside of China, given the indefinite travel uncertainty. The Chinese blockchain platform, which has eight founding members, including WeBank, Tencent  and Huawei, was developed by the Financial Blockchain Shenzhen Consortium  and was the first blockchain technology to be incorporated into China’s national Blockchain Service Network.