3 Blockchain apps against COVID-19

24 April 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, but we already know it will change our society and economy for a long time. For now, what matters most is respecting the restrictions and avoiding spreading the virus.

Apart from medical research, technology has been put aside in all this, without the central role it was expected to have, even though the world is desperate for smart solutions.

Some ideas came from the Blockchain world and helped China in their most critical phase, and more have been launched recently, like the three apps developed by the Canadian Blockchain start-up Emerge.

Each one of the three apps launched by Emerge is designed to address COVID-19-related issues. Let’s see them more in detail.

Theseus, for logistics tracking

Blockchain can work very well with logistics, and it can give an important contribution to the fight against COVID-19.

In order to exploit Blockchain’s benefits, Emerge created Theseus, a logistics system able to track any movement of the goods on the whole supply chain.

This is very useful for the shipment of medical goods, such as surgical masks, medicines, tools, and equipment. Hopefully, it will also help when the vaccine comes.

When goods are shipped, a unique tracking code is generated together with a QR code. The code is scanned and all the information is uploaded to a blockchain, where it is validated and stored. From this moment, the information is safe, because Blockchain is immutable and there is no way to delete any kind of data.

If the record is validated, then a digital certificate of origin is generated for quality control purposes. Information available on the blockchain makes regulatory compliance easier, ensuring the safety of all medical goods.

The information can also be searched and reported for audit purposes.

Tracking is almost real-time, and knowing how long supplies will take can save someone’s life.

Theseus can also help with the food supply chain and their transport, because information on temperature, humidity, light exposure, altitude and dozens of factors can be regularly updated on the blockchain, making real-time food monitoring possible, so as to avoid spoilage.

Civitas, for public safety

The second app launched by Emerge is Civitas, which is helping local authorities with the enforcement of safety restrictions.

The system aims to reduce gatherings in small spaces, hence, reducing contagion chances.

If you are familiar with lockdown and social distancing rules, you know that there is a limit to the number of people that can stay inside each store, so while a few people are inside, there is a long queue outside.

Civitas has information on the capacity of each business in your area and eventual hours reserved to vulnerable people.

Let’s say you need to go to your local supermarket for groceries, but only two people can stay inside. Instead of going there and waiting in the queue, you can just book your visit on Civitas and go there just when the supermarket is ready to serve you. You will receive a text message for confirmation, so even if you do not have a smartphone, you can claim your entrance time.

This means going out less frequently and being exposed to contagion for a shorter period, which is very good for vulnerable and elderly people.

The system also works with healthcare facilities, distributing the number of people in need in a bigger area and more hospitals.

Trusted Voices, for fake news debunking

The third app is a blockchain-based platform on which news is verified and their sources can be tracked with the typical transparency and accuracy guaranteed by Blockchain.

Fake news, far-right propaganda, and dangerous risk minimisation is running throughout the media, and it is not always easy to discern true from false.

On Trusted Voices, the source material is tracked from the original device to its usage in the news, leaving the chance to users to connect with the protagonists of the stories they read.

Blockchain against COVID-19

The fight is tough and long, but Blockchain proved itself to be a helpful resource. If you have ideas on how to use it to help everyone in these uncertain times, maybe we can do it together! Contact us to get started.

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