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China, Crypto, and Coronavirus

Blockchain and the crypto industry’s contribution to curbing the growing Coronavirus outbreak which started in China can no longer be overlooked. Industry platforms like Binance and Huobi have made charitable support to the cause of stemming the virus’s spread through financial and material donation.

A blockchain-based platform on the Hedera public ledger has just joined in by launching a dashboard to help track useful information about the virus to be shared correctly and applied for improved knowledge. “There is a growing supply of data about the virus, but the information is not necessarily easy to visualize, consume, or extract in a simple way,” says Jim Nasr, the CEO of Acoer which just announced the launch of its HashLog data visualization engine dashboard to help healthcare and life sciences clients easily track and visualize the Coronavirus outbreak. The objective is to “make data collection automated, and data visualization rich, dynamic, and intuitive.”

The Coronavirus has now killed 361 people in China and one in the Philippines, with confirmed infections in China topping 17,000. The Acoer dashboard is to interact in real-time with the Hedera Hashgraph enterprise-grade distributed public ledger for researchers, scientists, and journalists to understand the spread of the virus and trends over time, from a wide set of public data, including data from the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization.

Virus impact on Chinese economy 

Coordinated information is necessary to stem the impact of the virus across China and even beyond as more cases are being reported outside China. The spread of the virus has led to cases of restricted movement (or ‘staycation’) within China and disrupted the normal flow of business activities which is gradually impacting the Chinese economy negatively.

A deadly H5N1 bird flu outbreak was reported in Hunan province causing over 17,000 poultry farms to be culled. The sales of liquefied natural gas in China is also likely to be affected as buyers now consider to either delay cargoes or cancel them altogether due to the epidemic threat.

Stock indexes show China has lost billions in value as at the resumption of the stock market on Monday Feb. 3 after an extended Lunar New Year break. More losses may come as the outbreak is not helping the China-U.S. tension. China criticized the U.S. for overreacting to the virus by suspending passengers from or who have visited China of recent from entering its territory leading several other countries to follow.

With talks on the ensuing trade war between the two largest economies still ongoing, the initial deal reached in December was to avoid a global recession. The outcome of the second phase of negotiations is crucial to the well-being of the global economy. The virus spread heightening tension and another round of uncertainty on what the global economy could bring in coming days could see hostilities return and global GDP reduced by 0.5% in 2020 (or a loss of about US$455b).

Crypto, blockchain and Coronavirus in China 

Then, as it has been suggested to be in correlation with the upward trajectory of the price of Bitcoin, fears around the spreading Coronavirus could strengthen Bitcoin’s price yet again (as seen over last week). The virus spread and disruption to businesses is said to support a view that Bitcoin’s price will continue to rise until the virus peaks. Whether that would be the case remains to be seen.

However, for Mance Harmon, the CEO of Hedera Hashgraph on whose platform Acoer runs, the launch of the dashboard is a testament to the fact that healthcare and public health is a key area where Distributed Ledger Technologies can provide computational trust. He says this is because it can serve “as a source of truth for multiple parties to work from, delivering consistent, factual information across distributed communities”.

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