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Opportunity for Blockchain Amid the Coronavirus Outbreak

As the coronavirus ignites a frenzy of global paranoia, blockchain practitioners propose the blockchain tech as a possible solution to increasing efficiency and transparency in fighting and containing the outbreak.

Meng Yan, vice president of the Chinese Software Developer Network (CSDN) and initiator of token economy, suggested to study and develop a blockchain-powered donation and emergency supplies tracking and management platform at the national level as soon as possible.

“If such a platform has already existed, it would certainly manage and dispatch donations more transparently with dedicated and impartial management, which could effectively limit the misconduct of some departments that want to grab from the public cake.”

During the prevention and control of the novel coronavirus, the Red Cross Society of China’s branch in Wuhan where the novel coronavirus originated, which is supposed to relieve the shortage of medical supplied there, was found out withholding continuous donations across the nation which led to the failure of relieving the shortage of medical supplied in Wuhan.

Though the country has strengthened supervision and taken strict measures to deal with unqualified and derelict officials, how to improve the efficiency and transparency in the process of scarce resources allocation and medical supplies in face of a major disaster is still a problem needed to be addressed.

Meng said in a recent interview with 8btc that blockchain and token economy could help provide possible solutions to resource allocation apart from the model by power or price.

According to Meng, blockchain would help reduce the verification cost. “A large part of transaction costs go to verification costs, which are the costs of ensuring that a business contract is properly executed. With the development of modern society, transactions are getting more and more complicated, and transaction contract is also becoming more and more complicated, in this sense, the demand and cost of verification are higher and higher. While bockchain can significantly reduce the verification cost, and a public blockchain can prove itself, which no other technology can do so far.”

In the eye of Jiang Chun, partner of Puhua Capital, blockchain could help form an information-sharing environment and improve the transparency of government affairs.

“We also see a lot of residential community has been locked down by very primitive means of paper seals. Can we use blockchain-based mechanisms for tracking and verification to improve efficiency? For example, there’s an urgent need for companies to resume work, and we cannot allow the epidemic to further slow down the economy. But all people returning to their workplaces from other cities are required to be quarantined for 14 days. That’s inefficient enough to kill our economy. We need tracking tools, we need low-cost verification means, to precisely identify, track, isolate those who really need to be quarantined, in this way, we can normalize the subsequent outbreak controls more efficiently with lower costs.”

Though the coronavirus outbreak checks China’s blockchain ambitions, most blockchain practitioners have missed the opportunities in such extreme cases.

“We know that blockchain is a perfect fit for charity, donation and emergency services, but this field is not that imaginative and attractive to draw capital but might bring a lot of troubles, so we ignore it and miss a chance to prove blockchain capability, but of course we were given too little time.”

That being said, apart from donations, a plurality of blockchain enterprises in the country have recently been taking actions using the tech.

Xiang Hu bao, a blockchain-based collective claim-sharing platform under Alipay, has been using blockchain to allow for faster clai processing in its coronavirus-related claims; Blockchain startup Hyperchain has launched a blockchain-based platform for tracing charitable donations this morning.

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