Using the blockchain technology to fight pandemics
On March 12, TOP Network co-founder and CMO, Noah Wang, was invited by the Chinese Entrepreneurs Organization (CEO) to address students from Stanford University about the current state of blockchain development and the global pandemic situation.
The Chinese Entrepreneurs Organization was founded in 2008 by the students and alumni of Stanford University in Silicon Valley, USA and aims to connect Chinese entrepreneurs with overseas venture capital sources. Some CEO members have founded outstanding companies such as Jumei Youpin (Chen Ou), The Red (Mao Wenchao), Going Out (Zhu Yizhou), Hover Cam (Wang Mengqiu), Alohar Mobile (Wang Chenyu) and so on. Some of the other members of the Organization also happen to be working for well-known investment institutions such as Jinshajiang Venture Capital, IDG, FreeS, Zhenge Fund. At the same time, some have joined Silicon Valley giants like Google, Twitter, Coursera, etc.
This was the first stop of the “TOP College Campus Tour.” In the future, TOP Network will enter more world-renowned universities, popularize blockchain technology for college students, and provide blockchain-related jobs. Due to Coronavirus’s impact, the event was carried out online and broadcasted live on multiple platforms.
Generating a unique on-chain ID via the blockchain
Noah was invited to talk about the true potential of blockchain technology and took the current pandemic situation to shed light on the matter. According to him, as far as the current pandemic situation is concerned, blockchain technology can be used to track the movement of the population. Consider this example — A unique on-chain ID is created for each citizen. This ID could be tracked through various institutions like hospitals, railway stations, civil aviation, automatic toll stations on highways, mobile roaming information, and payment point information.
Of course, tracking and information registration of personnel movements can also be performed through the existing ID cards. However, the recent news about the leakage of Wuhan personnel’s information on the internet exemplifies a significant drawback of this method — The privacy of the person being tracked cannot be guaranteed.
By leveraging the blockchain technology, it would have been possible to:
- Ensure that a user’s personal information was viewed only by regulatory authorities, thereby effectively preventing the risk of information leakage.
- By combining a user’s on-chain ID with their medical history, consultation information and body temperature (measured multiple times in various public places), not only can you track their movements, but you can also zero-in on the movement of high-risk groups.
- If diagnosed with Coronavirus, the doctor can use the non-tamperable on-chain data to see their medical history and all previous consultation information at a glance. This will significantly help the doctor’s treatment.
Cutting down on fake reports and fake news
Blockchain technology can also solve the problem of frequent fake reports and concealment of cases. As we all know, blockchain has characteristics of openness, transparency, and tamper-resistance. If major hospitals can use blockchain technology, each time a case is diagnosed, the data will be correctly uploaded to the chain. One can also lookup relevant data in real-time on the chain to understand the situation.
After the outbreak, another major issue that followed was the adequacy of supplies and donations. For example, after the outbreak in Wuhan, a few news outlets reported that there were sufficient supplies, while some said that there was a shortage of supplies, causing massive confusion among people. If all the medical care materials were registered on the chain, the situation would have been much easier to comprehend. In particular, donated materials could have been tracked in real-time to see if they were delivered to the designated locations. This could have effectively prevented problems such as corruption, loss, misappropriation, resale, and non-special funds dedicated to designated areas (fixed-point crowds).
However, Noah also pointed out that the above blockchain application scenarios require the cooperation of government departments and blockchain technology development companies. The technology alone cannot solve the problem. Government departments or institutions need to actively introduce the blockchain platform, supervise, and manage all the data on the chain to ensure the authenticity of the data. Many people believe that in this scenario, to provide work efficiency, the best implementation is the permissioned chain, which is just a limited version of the public chain. A public chain, like TOP Network, can provide a highly efficient blockchain platform for governments and institutions.
Noah also added that the use-cases of blockchain technology in the medical field are not just limited to the current epidemic situation. In the future, with the introduction of smart homes and wearable devices, it will be possible to leverage the blockchain to accumulate information such as cold, fevers, and coughs to form a family database. After desensitization, this data can be uploaded to a higher-level blockchain system, or even to a national-level blockchain system, which can facilitate relevant agencies to conduct comprehensive aspects of the macro situation of certain diseases in the entire region or nationwide. This information can also give analysts and doctors an upper hand to be better prepared for any future epidemics/pandemics.
The blockchain space is still at a very early stage and has a long way to go before it can combat epidemics. However, to properly execute this use-case in the future, The blockchain needs two critical things:
- Drastically increase its throughput.
- Get widely adopted by the government and institutional departments.
Regardless, what the current pandemic has taught us is that we need to definitely accelerate the development of the blockchain space. To be more exact, both the government and other institutions will require a high-performance chain to support their own business, ensuring that all work is open, transparent, efficient, and tamperproof.