EU-Founded Task Force to Study How Blockchain May Help COVID-19 Response
A blockchain association has partnered with the European Commission and University College London (UCL) to coordinate blockchain solution providers in addressing the coronavirus pandemic.
The organization, called the International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA), was founded at the behest of the EU last year.
Its current effort brings together various public and private entities in a “COVID Task Force,” the purpose of which is to activate blockchain solutions that could fix some of the indirect challenges of the pandemic.
Specifically, the task force will identify enterprise blockchain solutions that could improve governmental, social and commercial challenges. As not all solutions are equally ready or applicable to specific situations, it will be the task force’s job to identify which blockchain products can be deployed quickly.
Its work will be made available in an “industry-wide intelligence engine” that would show the state of readiness of each potential solution. The database would also contain data explaining how some of the issues preventing readiness can be resolved.
The initiative is supported by the European Commission, whose spokesman, Gerard De Graaf, said, “The European Commission invites our counterparts to cooperate with this important initiative.”
The UCL’s Centre for Blockchain Technologies will also support the task force with its expertise.
Can blockchain really help?
While blockchain technology certainly cannot fix the pandemic by itself, several solutions that could limit its spread are powered by it.
Blockchain has been proposed as a solution to limit the privacy impact of various contact tracing and immunity tracking apps. One such platform is Covi-ID, developed by a team of academics in South Africa.
Another, developed by Chiliz, was proposed specifically to make use of the possible idea of immunity passports. Several COVID-19 screening platforms are also set to use blockchain in some form, notably one developed by the World Health Organization.
Perhaps a more meaningful contribution can be seen in the supply chain field, where blockchain has been used to certify the origin of critically necessary KN-95 masks, which are based on Chinese standards.
While their regulations are generally considered to be similar to the United States, concerns of authenticity abound for many sanitary products arriving from China. Supply chain tracking via blockchain can make a serious contribution in this field.
Similar authenticity concerns led to the development of a blockchain news certification platform by an Italian news company.
The INATBA task force is thus likely to push for the adoption of similar technological solutions. Some may be more useful than others, and identifying which is reportedly one the task force’s goals.