Singapore has proposed a blockchain-based document verification system developed by its GovTech agency to provide proof of recent negative COVID-19 tests, and hopes it becomes used to offer proof of vaccination status around the world.
Named "HealthCerts", the system is based on open-source framework known as OpenAttestation that uses blockchain to issue cryptographically trustworthy documents. The technology is already applied by some local universities to issue and authenticate diplomas.
Singapore’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vivian Balakrishnan said last week that the technology is “globally inter-operable” and that Singapore therefore hopes to share it with the world to facilitate more cross-border travel.
Singapore’s Smart Nation and Digital Government Office (SNDGO), said in a statement that it has partnered with the private sector players to develop interoperable solutions. The agency promises the technology is secure, private and tamper-proof.
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Starting March 10, travelers from Singapore will have to use the HealthCert instead of physical paper certificates.
From that date travelers planning to leave Singapore will book in for a COVID PCR test before they fly. Results will be uploaded to a government website and aspiring tourists will then go online to request the results be notarised by the Ministry of Health. If approved, the QR code linking to the notarised digital certificate will appear in SingPass Mobile, the nation's app for consuming digital government services.
Travelers will present the QR code at airport check-in and/or immigration before being let anywhere near a border or aboard a vehicle.
While such vaccination passports have been widely discussed and the World Economic Forum listed immunity passports as one of its four predictions for blockchain in 2021, the World Health Organisation's current recommendation is that COVID-19 vaccinations should not be imposed as a condition of entry into a country.
The debut of HealthCerts comes as Singapore looks to partner with the private sector to create more digital tracking projects and establish the nation as a global leader in the field. HealthCerts will also play a part in helping Singapore to create a travel bubble or "green lanes", schemes that will assist Singapore's economy by easing cross-border travel.®