BlockChain and The Coronavirus
World Health Organization Launches Blockchain Platform to Fight COVID-19
The World Health Organization (WHO) has partnered on March 28 with major blockchain and tech companies to launch a distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based platform for sharing data concerning the coronavirus pandemic.
The platform, MiPasa, is built on top of Hyperledger Fabric and seeks to enable “early detection of COVID-19 carriers and infection hotspots.
MiPasa has been launched in partnership with technology company IBM, computer firm Oracle, enterprise blockchain platform Hacera and IT corporation Microsoft.
WHO launches blockchain-based platform to fight COVID-19
The platform purports to facilitate “fully private information sharing between individuals, state authorities and health institutions.”
The project cross-references siloed location and health data is “siloed” on the platform to glean global insights while ensuring patient privacy, with MiPasa describing the platform as a “verifiable information highway.” MiPasa is slated to soon host an array of publicly accessible analytics tools too.
According to the project’s website:
“MiPasa can help monitor and foresee local and global epidemiological trends and detect likely asymptomatic carriers by feeding big data on infection routes and occurrences to powerful AI processors around the world.”
A number of national health institutions are also contributing to the project — including the U.S., European, and Chinese Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the Hong Kong Department of Health, the Government of Canada and China’s National Health Commission.
The fight against coronavirus highlights applications for DLT
The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted many of the applications for blockchain technology.
On March 25, it was reported that the United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s Ministry of Community Development (MOCD) is adopting DLT-based solutions for identity verification and the distribution of official documents — allowing customers to securely engage with the MOCD from home.
Blockchain technology has also been suggested as the most efficient means through which the United States’ stimulus package could be distributed — with some proponents even proposing that the U.S. launch a DLT-based “digital dollar.”
China has deployed blockchain in numerous applications to assist its efforts to fight COVID-19, using DLT to track the virus’ spread, medical records, and the distribution of medical supplies and charity donations.
The CISA is a part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It named blockchain managers in the food and agriculture supply chain as “critical infrastructure workers” during this time.
The need for essential services during the Covid-19 spread
A good number of national governments have implemented compulsory social distancing measures. Several top US companies such as Google, Twitter, and Amazon initiated home-office working methodology for their employees.
The CISA has come out with an initial list of ‘Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers’ to help state and local officials protect their communities. This is to ensure the continuity of functions critical to public health safety, as well as economic and national security.
The CISA, however, pointed out that it was only a “consultative” list and not a federal directive or standard.
Why add blockchain to the list?
Distributed ledger technology (DLT) is one of the key infrastructure services to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. This identification is based on the COVID-19 guideline issued by the DHS on March 19, 2020.
Besides, blockchain technology continues to gain ground in both companies and governments. This could be either because of their use for logistics work or for monitoring proficiency in supply chains.
Several sectors like food, human resources, transportation, etc have implemented the use of blockchain. Notably, the CISA acknowledged the utility of blockchain technology in the agricultural and pharmaceutical supply chain.
Blockchain technologies functioning in health are now being refined to focus more on the management of patient bio-data, providing directories insurance, and the credentialing of workers. Also, some U.S.-based agriculture and technology firms already made use of blockchain to test the authenticity of their products, ease of recall, and the management of inventory.
Blockchain is also useful in the identification of supply chain players who get held back from carrying out their defined roles. With this feature, delays can be significantly reduced and customers are able to pinpoint substitute suppliers in good time so that business would not be disrupted.
Following the global economic lockdown, blockchain technology is really essential due to its response to the needs of the pharmaceutical and agricultural supply chain.
Meanwhile, the blockchain and crypto space is doing its bit by coming out with initiatives in these critical times. Earlier this week, Banca Sella launched Bitcoin trading services in Italy. In other news, Electroneum rolled out a new offer for AnyTask users until the Covid-19 pandemic was under control.