Economy Innovative and reliable, blockchains have a unique design that is fit for validating, securing, and sharing data. They are the ideal tool for the management of transactions that are multi-party, inter-organizational, and cross-border. The past five years have been eventful for this technology, with enterprises worldwide examining the technology with a variety of proofs of concept. Blockchain is the talk of the town, so it must have achieved mainstream adoption, right? Wrong.
Even with all this attention and praise, live deployments are proving to be very slow. This is primarily because partners utilizing blockchain as a shared ledger need to come to an agreement on certain factors. The most important ones being IP rights, governance, and business models. Not only that, but government regulations have also hindered its widespread use.
It’s funny to think that it takes a pandemic to finally conquer the obstacles to blockchain adoption. The virus is gradually revealing the glaring weaknesses in our supply chains and exposing our inability to deploy resources to places in need. What’s more, it is revealing the difficulties regarding the capture and sharing of data we need to make decisions in handling it. Blockchain solutions that are still under development are now undergoing refurbishment in order to address these challenges.
There is a series of continuous efforts in fighting COVID-19. Universities, medical academia, the private sector, and even private citizens are all incorporating distributed systems into their strategies.
The projects are making great attempts to reinforce governmental stay-at-home orders that are trying to “flatten the curve.” At this point in time, there is no cure for COVID-19 and there likely won’t be for a good amount of time. For that matter, there will be no vaccine against the coronavirus for a while; a year at best.
This leaves medical practitioners, researchers, and innovators trying their hardest to find ways of reducing its impact. If they cannot completely eliminate the virus, they can at least mitigate their effects. Their secret weapon towards achieving this is blockchain boosters.
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Colonel James Allen Regenor, USAF (ret) is worth mentioning when discussing this topic. Since 2013, he’s been a pretty busy man, building a platform that receives power from blockchain technology. The purpose of the platform is to buy and sell traceable 3-D printed parts, as well as printing instructions for them. In addition, it prints traditionally manufactured parts that undergo scanning and receive unique tracking identifiers.
He was the leader of the project at Moog, whose specialty was designing and manufacturing complex motion controls. Particularly for aerospace and medical uses. Following this leadership role, he would go on to found VeriTX in 2019 to introduce the platform to the market. Regenor’s construction of the platform was out of a desire to facilitate a decentralized manufacturing process. With it, customers are able to order and print parts for use, whenever and wherever they need them. For example, they can use it to order and print important medical devices. The blockchain ensures tamper-proof design and printing instructions.
In order for a COVID-19 tracing app to be useful, it obviously needs to go viral. That might be tricky, especially with concerns about privacy running high now more than ever. While these worries are understandable, they are the reason why a contact tracing app achieving voluntary adoption is very tricky. Governments all over the globe are starting to weigh a diverse collection of privacy-enhancing designs. A good number of them claim that an app would be voluntary to begin with. However, they are not ruling out the possibility of making it compulsory.
Only 10-20% of the Singapore population is adopting the TraceTogether. The country’s government is now calling on everyone who is capable of doing so to download it. Over in the U.K, experts believe that roughly 60% of the population would have to download the app to make it work properly. Overall, this equates to 80% of all smartphones functioning in the country.
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The nimble startups are not the only ones that are utilizing blockchain solutions to fight the virus. A wide variety of organizations are doing the same. Some of these include the World Health Organization, IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, and an array of other tech companies. Government agencies and international health organizations are also partnering in the construction of a blockchain-based open data hub. This hub is MiPasa.
The Canadian technology company, VitalHub Corp, made an important announcement last month concerning their own incorporation of blockchain. They would be conducting the first deployment of a coronavirus screening tool that utilizes blockchain technology. The organization that will use this tool will be Sunny Side Home, a Region of Waterloo-owned long-term care facility.
According to what was said in the announcement, a request by Sunnyside Home was the reason for DOCit’s development. This is an app with blockchain being its power source that will help to scan residents for recurring COVID-19 symptoms. The tool aims to deploy and arrange any screening or recurring task. In doing so, it will enable reporting standards for care providers and operations staff. It will also implement standards for National, Provincial, or Regional health authorities.