Australian travel booking site Webjet has announced the expansion of its blockchain-based accounts reconciliation solution, Rezchain, signing agreements with four international travel brands for “blockchain as a service”.
Webjet has been developing the solution for the past two years, recently deploying it on its “fourth generation” blockchain infrastructure to support Rezchain Smart Contracts.
According to the company, Rezchain allows companies in the hotel distribution industry to share data “on chain” to address mismatched accounts payable and accounts receivable data in real time.
Through blockchain, Webjet believes it has addressed a problem in the hotel distribution chain, citing industry estimates that 3 to 5 percent of bookings are disputed in some form when one party attempts to invoice the other.
Webjet said it tested the solution in-house and between its own B2B companies before signing Rezchain agreements with Thomas Cook in Europe, DidaTravel in China, Mitra Global in Indonesia, and hotel chain Far East Hospitality.
Webjet is initially offering blockchain as a service to participating companies and expects that over time, larger organisations will start contributing computing power and running their own mining nodes.
“It can be overwhelming for a travel company to consider adopting a new process that also requires the steep learning curve of a new technology,” Webjet Head of Technology Graham Anderson said. “Rezchain offers a simple entry point to blockchain efficiencies and allows companies to choose when and if they want to be part of the underlying infrastructure.”
In justifying its use of blockchain, Webjet said Rezchain’s architecture ensures that any sensitive data stored on chain is hashed and cannot be decoded, while still allowing companies to access the detail necessary to resolve mismatched booking data.
Blockchain has found itself tangled up in a regulatory delegation-fest between government organisations in Australia, with ZDNet revealing last year that eight different government bodies are charged with overseeing blockchain development to some degree in the country.
CSIRO’s Data61 also believes that blockchain holds promise as a new foundation for transactions in society, in particular for voting, notarisation, supply chain, registration, and process coordination, in addition to payment-related services.
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The bank’s head of blockchain has revealed the Commonwealth Bank is currently implementing with a large world issuer in what will be a ‘world-first’ issuance of a bond on the blockchain that it hopes to bring to market in 2018.
Gartner has highlighted that curiosity is keeping the sector aware of the technology, but risk aversion is stopping it from being an investment priority.
With the emergence of blockchain potentially requiring the government to find other means of tracing the income and assets of organisations and individuals, a House of Representatives committee has toyed with the idea of the ATO heading down the distributed ledger path.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark has highlighted the potential for cryptocurrency to be used to transfer aid in a way less susceptible to corruption.
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