How Are Covid-19 & The Blockchain Intersecting In India?
None of us could have gauged how 2020 would have stripped mankind of its dubious pride as the dominant species and exposed its verity of being a mere mortal. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has put the planet in a frenzy with our population witnessing the greatest viral outbreak of the century. As one of the fastest economically growing countries, India has been gallantly battling the Covid-19 pandemic and working diligently to curb this viral menace. At testing times like these, the crucialness of utilising disruptive technology like Blockchain becomes imperative. Both the government and private sectors are underway to deploy blockchain-centric measurements to tackle the coronavirus scare.
But Why is Blockchain Adoption so Crucial in the Pandemic?
Blockchain offers key alternatives that are critical seeing the present scenario:
- Since blockchain is a virtual system, the perils of physical contact do not threaten the network thereby protecting the members from any viral attack.
- A blockchain network can cater to a large number of members with no history of downtime.
- The data can be viewed by anyone virtually and does not require sharing of physical documents, thereby minimising physical contact.
- The distributive ledger system can host members globally and can support industries with global clientage or NRI’s in case of government activities.
Apart from these, the perks of an immutable decentralized distributed ledger system are always there.
The primary focus of the government and authorities have been on restraining the spread of virus and actively identifying affected individuals and providing them necessary medical support. With substantial resources and manpower dedicated to quell coronavirus pandemic, blockchain enthusiasts have been voicing their views in shifting major industrial setups on blockchain networks.
As discussed earlier, the Central Indian government had been experimenting with blockchain technology to assess its feasibility in catering a country of 1.33 billion individuals. Apart from these the private sector had also engaged in global tie-ups to bring blockchain technology closer to their operations. Since India is still in an experimental phase with this new-gen technology there are no announcements in adopting large scale blockchain based solutions as of yet.
However a progressive news comes from the pharmaceuticals industry where several healthcare stakeholders have been reportedly working in bringing blockchain based solutions to mitigate the current problems. Apart from this both private and public healthcare systems are looking to constitute a decentralized public health record network, with blockchain as the base. These electronic health records (EHR) systems can be used nationwide to map health information such as health summary, prescription, vitals and reports of any individual.
Going by the rise of blockchain-centric projects in the western and European countries, we are sure to witness blockchain adoption some time soon in India as well. Also the effectiveness with which blockchain technology rose to help in China presents us with viable avenues in deploying blockchain based solutions. This takes us to the next part of discussion.
Where Can Blockchain Help India in Tackling Covid-19 Issue?
Blockchain technology can be deployed in any industry right from real estate, telecom and banking. Above that, the advantages offered by the blockchain can be easily reaped in to apply better governance and administrative systems. But right now the discussion of small-term solutions in tackling covid-19 surpasses the discussion of long-term payoffs. Following are key avenues where India can successfully deploy blockchain based solutions in current pandemic:
- The rise in demand for medical equipment has given birth to multiple suppliers, selling counterfeit and substandard medical grade equipment. By shifting the medical supply chain on blockchain, these crooked suppliers can easily be detected and legally prosecuted as well.
- Using a blockchain network as a supply chain for daily essentials like food and milk will help in upholding social distancing practice, critical in curbing the spread of viruses.
- Since there are countless quarantine centers operating in the country right now, a nationwide record of these quarantine centers on the blockchain network will help the government in quickly catering to any supply shortage in any of these centers and also in keeping a record of any new positive cases coming up.
- Since the education sector has come to a standstill to prevent community transmission, blockchain based solutions can help in establishing a virtual education sector.
- Multiple healthcare experts have listed paper currency as an active carrier in the community spread of coronavirus. Usage of cryptocurrencies, therefore, becomes a lucrative alternative. Going by the legendary SC verdict on removing the ban on cryptocurrencies earlier this year, this is pretty feasible.
The Covid-19 situation presents an ideal situation in accelerating the growth of blockchain adoption in India. This situation can be utilised in testing the mettle of blockchain technology against such perilous situations.