2020: A Year Like No Other

Blockchain and the Effects of Coronavirus

The way we work, where we work and how we interact have all changed irrevocably since COVID. So, when we look at Blockchain now, it is with a new, different lens, than what it may have been at the beginning of 2020.

Read More: Blockchain and Lean Six Sigma

Below are some of the areas where the Blockchain value propositions have evolved and become more important than ever.

AAuditBlockchain has inbuilt audit capabilities including transaction trails and time stamps.AdjustmentShortages of equipment, unclear processes and lack of experience where needed all came to the fore in the early days of COVID. Because Blockchain keeps a single source of the truth and has full tracking and traceability of its contents and users, it is easier to find required data and reduce complexity and uncertainty.
BBlockchainAn infrastructure built on four key characteristics, see*.BenefitFeatures like virtual working, interoperability, de-centralization and operational speed, whilst always important suddenly become our prime focus. The characteristics of Blockchain can enhance and enable these features.
C*ConsensusFor a transaction to be valid, all participants must agree on its validity.ContinuityConsensus is important but also needs to be managed tightly and speedily when dealing with a fluid pandemic situation.
DDecentralizeProviding the ability to avoid single point of failure and spread the load.DecoupleWith more employees working from home, communications and company tools need to be able to handle the respective increased, more distributed capacity.
EEthereumOne of the key protocols used for Blockchain environments.EmergencyDisaster recovery and business continuity have been tested as businesses navigate COVID. Blockchain enables fallback and review by design.
F*FinalityOne place to go to determine the ownership of an asset or completion of a transaction.FasterWhen timeliness becomes critical such as for managing COVID testing or vaccination roll out, finality needs to be quick and accurate.
GGlobalWider data distribution relies on a smarter, standard structure to optimize efficiency.Gear upVirtual working has changed from an option to a necessity and with it the need to do your job wherever you are with whatever equipment is locally available.
HHashA digital fingerprint or unique identifier used to link blocks in the chain together.HostingA Blockchain decentralized infrastructure enables companies to shift activities between nodes and change structure with minimal wider impact.
I*ImmutabilityNo one can tamper with a transaction once recorded to the Blockchain ledger.IntegrityIntegrity of information ensures corrective action is based on facts not propaganda.
JJust in TimeAs a change is made it is distributed across the network almost immediately.JudgementWith a pandemic, the latest data can be key to providing timely decisions and responses to a rapidly changing situation.
KKnowledgeWith every transaction recorded knowledge grows across the network.Key indicatorsBuilding an effective action plan is reliant on having clear knowledge of what has happened where and when so far.
LLedgerThe means for recording blockchain transactions.Local accessRecords need to be maintained and accessed where needed to measure progress of COVID and to record the outcomes and treatments.
MMonitorBecause Blockchain captures all transactions effective monitoring is built in.MiddleM is the middle letter in the alphabet and we are in the middle of a pandemic.
NNodeA term signifying a participant in a Blockchain network, data moves between nodes.NewCOVID has required businesses to operate and be productive in new ways. Blockchain provides the flexibility to support this.
OOrchestrateBusiness rules and Smart Contracts enable organized Blockchain networks.OneAs companies repurpose to handle COVID, a single source of the truth makes business decisions easier and corrective actions more focused.
P*ProvenanceParticipants know where an asset came from and how ownership has changed.PandemicThis is the first major pandemic most of us have experienced but it may not be the last. We need to be ready next time.
QQueryHaving a single source of the truth greatly simplifies search and retrieve capabilities.QuorumIn times of extreme duress Blockchain consensus ensures no one takes advantage to the detriment of the wider community.
RRegulatorA Blockchain user with special permissions to oversee transactions within a network.RequirementsRegulatory authorities and governments need to oversee data security and ensure strategic control where required.
SSmart ContractAn agreement or set of rules that govern a business transaction.SurvivalMany industries are struggling to navigate through the impact of COVID. Blockchain can help by providing secure, accurate data for analysis and planning.
TTransparencyEveryone in a Blockchain network can see what is going on at any time.TrainingTransparency is key when establishing COVID rules and restrictions, so people understand why and how they are being applied.
UUnique IDUsed to ensure each transaction can be traced and tracked.Uncover‘Track and trace’ has been a key objective in seeking to control COVID spread.
VVisibilityBlockchain improves visibility across a network via real time updates to all participants.VaccineWe can use Blockchains supply chain experience to help with testing and vaccine distribution, administration and compliance.
WWealthBitcoin introduced a new way of managing money via Blockchain.Work outCompanies needing to assess their resources and product/service capabilities have all their current and past data accessible via Blockchain.
XX-axisThe horizontal one! Not a Blockchain specific feature but key to any data analytics.X-axisCOVID number charts have become a part of how we analyze it across countries, regions and populations.
YY-axisThe vertical one! Blockchain does allow for richer analytics and data mining.Y-axisNumbers of positive tests, hospitalizations, ventilators and deaths to name just a few charts we have become accustomed to.
ZZoneThe smart contract aspect of Blockchain could be described as establishing distinct zones.ZooIn a pandemic everything can feel out of control like someone let the animals out of the zoo but blockchain can help keep the gates secure.

Whilst Blockchain in itself, cannot solve COVID or address any type of national disaster it does provide a stable, secure, and single source for key data. When decisions need to be made quickly, time spent deciding which data is current, where it is held and how to access it only detract from the process and can cause delays and incur unneeded cost.

Also Read: Can Blockchain and traditional Databases co-exist?

In the light of COVID all businesses should be retrospectively assessing how they managed in 2020, what worked and what could be improved so next time we are all better prepared. If data collation, integrity or validation was a problem, maybe consider whether a Blockchain solution could help moving forward.