The year 2020 has witnessed a global pandemic akin to that of the Spanish flu pandemic 100 years ago. With millions sick, countries have turned to emerging technology to dampen the virus’s effects. Blockchain’s decentralized nature is the solution to many of the scaling and security problems faced by companies.
In medical product markets, the pandemic has created an enormous rise in demand, but stagnation in supply. Because users and entities prioritize security over receiving medical products, masks, ventilators, and medicine are delivered slowly to hospitals, leaving many institutions with little resources. Blockchain allows supply chains to enjoy data security with data transparency, resuming the flow of goods akin to that in a non-pandemic-stricken economy.
Blockchain also automatically encrypts transactional data on the network, which relieves the burden of maintaining data security for product distributors. Companies can now focus on manufacturing and delivering instead of fraud-checking, which increases the aggregate supply.
The data security enforced by the blockchain also allows big tech to create large-scale applications like contact-tracing (predicting whether users were near infected individuals in the recent past) without disclosing private information. Without blockchain, these companies went under attack for manipulating data, and the solutions were unable to be deployed. To combat this, the World Economic Forum (WEF) developed a blockchain toolkit for companies to adopt.
“The aim of the toolkit is to support decision makers in effectively deploying blockchain technology in their respective entities,” said Nadia Hewett, a blockchain expert at the WEF.
Not only has the coronavirus caused hundreds of thousands of casualties to risk groups, but it has also made millions employed and billions of profits to wither away. The economic effects have created very volatile markets that render almost any business unable to experience normal revenue/earnings growth.
The pandemic disproportionately affects the lower class, because they engage in more physical contact to buy goods and services. By paying via cash, already germ-ridden dollars become carriers of both value and virus. If companies adopt blockchain-based payment systems instead, the lower class can order goods and services online easily. Physical contact can reduce greatly for higher-risk demographics, which exponentially decreases the growth of daily cases.
The pandemic has also seen the rise of fraudulent NGOs, as malicious individuals seek to take advantage of the confusion and chaos surrounding the pandemic. By allowing donations to be made on the blockchain, the whole network can see where funds are going and take action to societally mitigate fraud if necessary.
COVID-19 will leave the disadvantaged at a less stable position in comparison to the affluent. The blockchain can economically empower the former by allowing them to invest in small fractions of a company’s assets. Through asset tokenization, assets worth billions of dollars (once only investable by billionaires) can be broken down into tokens priced at fractions of a cent, which even minimum-wage workers can invest in. This is the next step to democratize investing globally.
Though the coronavirus has brought disruptions to nearly every entity in the economy, the world of blockchain can be leveraged by those in power and those in poverty to reinstate societal stability. ∎
AlMuhairi, Mariam Obaid. “Why COVID-19 Makes the Case for Wider Blockchain Integration.” World Economic Forum, World Economic Forum, 8 May 2020.
EisnerAmper. “How Blockchain Technology Is Being Used in the Fight Against COVID-19.” EisnerAmper, EisnerAmper, 23 Apr. 2020.
Gopie, Nigel. “Blockchain’s Role in COVID-19 Response and Recovery.” Blockchain Pulse: IBM Blockchain Blog, IBM, 24 Apr. 2020.
Joel, Oluwatobi. “How Blockchain Technology Can Help Fighting Against COVID-19.” Cointelegraph, Cointelegraph, 7 June 2020.