The coronavirus crisis sweeping across the planet has caused issues on an economic, social and political scale like the world has not seen in many decades, possibly since the World Wars. With governments grappling to contain the virus, and thus implementing lockdown measures, economic activity has come to a virtual standstill in many countries. However, the use of technology during this time could help mitigate some of the issues being seen, and blockchain technology is one of the options which could be of immense help.
Blockchain is especially useful when tracking real-time data, which many organizations are doing with regard to coronavirus statistics. Its accuracy and transparency will allow for data to be disseminated quickly and where needed. Further, it also allows organizations to verify data, and thus remove false information quickly, which is extremely important at such a time.
Further, there are a number of specific cases where blockchain can be of great utility. In healthcare systems and processes, blockchain can be used for record management, to maintain large data sets and analyse trends quickly. It will also allow for sensitive data to be stored safely. Further, it can be used to decentralize data and make it available wherever needed, especially in areas with poor connectivity. Real-time information can be made available to global organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as local medical professionals who do not have access to databases. It can also be used to track outbreaks of the virus through rapid processing, which could enable early detection of hotspots. Finally, in the medical sector, blockchain could also be used to track and secure the supply chain. A blockchain-based system could ensure that medicines, protective gear and vaccines are sent to the right place at the right time in the correct quantity.
There are other applications of this technology as well, most notably in securing online transactions. One of the biggest beneficiaries would be the online gambling sector, which has taken on greater relevance during this time due to people being at home and unable to visit physical casinos. Enhanced security from blockchain allows transactions to be verified, thus reducing fraud, and it also prevents personal data from being stolen. Withdrawals and payments become easier for customers as well, while it also allows for cryptocurrencies to be easily used. There has been a rise of crypto casinos online, as such currencies gain wider usage and acceptance, and blockchain is a vital part of crypto transactions. They also allow for transactions to remain anonymous, which could be a useful need for people online to prevent theft and fraud.
During this time, many rivals in the tech space have come together to collaborate on blockchain. For example, Oracle and Intel launched a mega-blockchain to integrate data on the pandemic from the WHO and the Center for Disease Control (CDC). There have been a number of blockchain-based monitoring systems being set up as well.
This crisis has shown just how unprepared the world was for an event of this magnitude. While there are huge struggles to overcome, this also provides an opportunity to improve systems so that we are better prepared for the next time, and blockchain is at the forefront of the systems which will allow us to do so.