Blockchain was in the news before COVID19 as one of the transformational technologies brought by the digital revolution. Now it is supporting efforts around the globe to battle the virus. The technology is helping ship medicines from pharmaceuticals to areas of the world stricken by the COVID-19 outbreak. It is facilitating cash-flow management for start-ups and ensuring timely payments for their products.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published guidelines for the coronavirus pandemic, are listing blockchain managers in food and agricultural distribution as ‘critical infrastructure workers’. Blockchain can accurately track and trace the movement of goods in a supply chain. In these difficult times, the right balance must be struck between data gathering and protection of privacy.
Blockchain can be used both to gather and collate patient data more efficiently, monitor patients’ movements to guarantee social distance, and protect their identity at the same time. While politics and elections have been disrupted by the pandemic, blockchain can alleviate many security concerns that have plagued e-voting attempts. It is even used in sports for fraud prevention in ticketing. But what is this miraculous technology we have all heard about but still has an aura of mystery and science-fiction about it? It is important for all of us to at least understand its basic structure, principles, and applications. Like all disruptions that lead to progress, it all starts with a very basic idea.