BlockDown 2020 is bringing the best brains of the blockchain to the mainstage in a virtual 2-day conference. As BlockDown 2020 media partners, we will bring you a rundown of exciting stories from talks, fireside chats, panel discussions as we cover blockchain technology during and beyond COVID-19, news from the DeFI world and more. Stay tuned!
On the first day of the power-packed virtual conference, we had Jorge Sebastiao, CTO Eco-System Huawei Technologies, on the main stage. He said, “You need to find a champion or leader to actually solve a business problem and we have a lot of these people in the blockchain space.”
Blockchain is a technology of trust. So, how does this technology of trust create the reality that is going to help us solve the problems that plague us today?
Some problems encountered today are fake news. Blockchain can help us identify better which sources of information are legit and accurate, and thus are trustworthy.
Areas that blockchain can provide value to
- Supply Chain
There are many fake products out there like masks. Blockchain can help confirm the authenticity of those products.
- Test results
There are fake testing kits around. Moreover, there is also a need to verify whether the test results are indeed yours.
Enforce GPS fencing to help those with high risk or might have contacted the disease. This is to prevent further spreading of the virus.
- Global information sharing
Governments need to share lots of information with their people. Hospitals and doctors also need to relay important information. Blockchain provides the layer of trust and ease of information transfer.
- Medical records protection
Blockchain is a technology that uses elements of encryption and digital signature helping to ensure this protection. Besides, it can allow people to have a portable medical record that can be easily verified while maintaining privacy.
- Contact tracing – The existing technology is unfortunately not accurate enough. The GPS has a resolution of 5-10m only. However, using this with a combination of other technology like Bluetooth can enable them to increase the resolution as people come in contact. This is so important that companies such as Apple and Google are introducing updates to their mobile operating systems. These updates will ensure in-built contact tracing capability.
- Claim fraud
Countries like the United States have taken up measures to give its citizens emergency financial aid. This is an opportunity for the unscrupulous to engage in fraudulent activities. Blockchain technology can adequately prevent this.
- Vaccine testing
It is imperative to ensure accurate and trusted results. Blockchain can ensure the right testing has been carried out.
There are many factors in which blockchain brings value in this time of trouble. Here are some applications and measures that countries have already adopted.
In Bahrain, there is a recent release of a mobile application combined with GPS. Now it is integrated into a bracelet as well. It enables users to access accurate news and information. It also enables contact tracing and GEO fencing. The application will call users who are supposed to be quarantined at random times to confirm the person is at his designated location.
UAE has also released 2 applications for up-to-date news and traceability.
Avantas has developed an app called MedsLock which combined an entire ecosystem that solves many issues in this pandemic.
Another impactful blockchain application is evident in a virus tracker using AI technology.
Q: With the rise of surveillance following the COVID-19 pandemic, does this represent a step down in terms of privacy and freedom of expression?
Jorge: Yes and no. Somebody’s freedom can well become somebody else’s oppression. We have to balance between the risk we are putting on the population that cannot defend itself versus the ones that are creating trouble for everyone. Sometimes we have to sacrifice a little bit of freedom that involves tracking our phones, tracking our GPS location, being able to inform us if have been in contact with somebody who might have the virus.
Q: What are your thoughts and feelings about how advanced China is with their AI systems and how they tackled the COVID-19 situation?
Jorge: China is certainly one of the countries that have taken the advanced approach in dealing with this. There are other examples like Singapore and South Korea. They must use AI and mobile tracing. When they use AI, they use face recognition to even scan the face behind the mask to enforce the rules they set in place.
There are currently more advanced measures in place as well. For example, if you are taking an Emirates flight, they will test you before boarding. They have tests that can be performed within a matter of minutes.