Published 4th May 2020
How is Blockchain helping to fight Covid-19?
Many people think that Blockchain is only used as a way of storing and sending Cryptocurrency, but what if we told you that Blockchain could help save lives and slow the spread of disease?
At Sequence, we’ve had a look at a couple of different ways that organisations and entire countries are using Blockchain technology to help slow the rate of infection and safely exit the Coronavirus lockdown.
One way many health officials think we could start to exit the lockdown is through virus tracing and tracking apps, allowing users to be notified when they have come in close contact with someone who has Coronavirus symptoms.
The University of Cape Town, for example, is currently developing a tracking app that uses Blockchain to verify their Covid-19 status but also rewards users for good behaviour, such as staying at home and social distancing.
Understandably, this comes with privacy and security concerns for users, who may not want governments and organisations to know their exact location 24/7. Users could also be concerned about the security of this information, due to its highly sensitive nature. Blockchain technology can help provide reassurance and protection for users, with both of these concerns.
As Blockchain is decentralised, it is not owned by any individual or organisation. This means that no one owns the users’ tracking data and personal information. With traditional tracking apps, users may be concerned about what organisations will do with their data, however, Blockchain takes away this concern.
Blockchain also allows users to remain anonymous when they report symptoms, this could lead to more infected people coming forward and logging this on the app.
The strong security features of the Blockchain network also makes it ideal for virus tracking apps. As it is a distributed system, it makes it very difficult and time-consuming to hack, as there is no centralised weak point in the system where all users’ data is stored.
This would make it virtually impossible for malicious users to gain access to the network and track a user’s whereabouts. Even in the unlikely event that a hacker was able to gain access, they wouldn’t be able to identify the individual due to the secure encryption that Blockchain offers.
Digital Health Certificates
Another way that healthcare professionals expect us to come out of Coronavirus lockdown is through immunity certificates. With the British government considering issuing certificates to those that have tested positive for the virus, in the hope that these individuals would be free to go back to work.
Chiliz is also working on a project that could help football fans get back into stadiums by providing proof of immunity using an app based on Blockchain. Using Blockchain in this way has benefits over traditional methods used to provide proof of immunity, for both users and also organisations and governments.
One way in which Blockchain can help in this way is through verifying users’ identities. The Immunity Certificates would be stored on a users mobile, when a verifier such as a police officer attempted to check the authenticity of this certificate, the users’ mobile device would send a hashed version of the certificate to a public registry to seek a match.
The structure and the interconnectivity of Blockchain would make it impossible for users to change certificates so that they contain their name. With a traditional paper or email confirmation, users would be able to easily use software to change the names on the certificates, however, the nature of Blockchain prevents this.
It is almost impossible for users to alter a block/record on the Blockchain, as doing so would affect all the connecting blocks in the chain. This ensures that users can’t tamper with certificates and prevents the risk of individuals spreading the virus outside their homes.
Since Blockchain 2.0 it’s clear that Blockchain has many more uses other than just cryptocurrency. We are beginning to see Blockchain being used to solve huge global problems that require even bigger solutions. Want to learn more about how Blockchain is being incorporated into our everyday lives and how it could affect you? Sign up for the Sequence Blockchain newsletter below!