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.
|A||Audit||Blockchain has inbuilt audit capabilities including transaction trails and time stamps.||Adjustment||Shortages 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.|
|B||Blockchain||An infrastructure built on four key characteristics, see*.||Benefit||Features 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||*Consensus||For a transaction to be valid, all participants must agree on its validity.||Continuity||Consensus is important but also needs to be managed tightly and speedily when dealing with a fluid pandemic situation.|
|D||Decentralize||Providing the ability to avoid single point of failure and spread the load.||Decouple||With more employees working from home, communications and company tools need to be able to handle the respective increased, more distributed capacity.|
|E||Ethereum||One of the key protocols used for Blockchain environments.||Emergency||Disaster recovery and business continuity have been tested as businesses navigate COVID. Blockchain enables fallback and review by design.|
|F||*Finality||One place to go to determine the ownership of an asset or completion of a transaction.||Faster||When timeliness becomes critical such as for managing COVID testing or vaccination roll out, finality needs to be quick and accurate.|
|G||Global||Wider data distribution relies on a smarter, standard structure to optimize efficiency.||Gear up||Virtual 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.|
|H||Hash||A digital fingerprint or unique identifier used to link blocks in the chain together.||Hosting||A Blockchain decentralized infrastructure enables companies to shift activities between nodes and change structure with minimal wider impact.|
|I||*Immutability||No one can tamper with a transaction once recorded to the Blockchain ledger.||Integrity||Integrity of information ensures corrective action is based on facts not propaganda.|
|J||Just in Time||As a change is made it is distributed across the network almost immediately.||Judgement||With a pandemic, the latest data can be key to providing timely decisions and responses to a rapidly changing situation.|
|K||Knowledge||With every transaction recorded knowledge grows across the network.||Key indicators||Building an effective action plan is reliant on having clear knowledge of what has happened where and when so far.|
|L||Ledger||The means for recording blockchain transactions.||Local access||Records need to be maintained and accessed where needed to measure progress of COVID and to record the outcomes and treatments.|
|M||Monitor||Because Blockchain captures all transactions effective monitoring is built in.||Middle||M is the middle letter in the alphabet and we are in the middle of a pandemic.|
|N||Node||A term signifying a participant in a Blockchain network, data moves between nodes.||New||COVID has required businesses to operate and be productive in new ways. Blockchain provides the flexibility to support this.|
|O||Orchestrate||Business rules and Smart Contracts enable organized Blockchain networks.||One||As companies repurpose to handle COVID, a single source of the truth makes business decisions easier and corrective actions more focused.|
|P||*Provenance||Participants know where an asset came from and how ownership has changed.||Pandemic||This is the first major pandemic most of us have experienced but it may not be the last. We need to be ready next time.|
|Q||Query||Having a single source of the truth greatly simplifies search and retrieve capabilities.||Quorum||In times of extreme duress Blockchain consensus ensures no one takes advantage to the detriment of the wider community.|
|R||Regulator||A Blockchain user with special permissions to oversee transactions within a network.||Requirements||Regulatory authorities and governments need to oversee data security and ensure strategic control where required.|
|S||Smart Contract||An agreement or set of rules that govern a business transaction.||Survival||Many industries are struggling to navigate through the impact of COVID. Blockchain can help by providing secure, accurate data for analysis and planning.|
|T||Transparency||Everyone in a Blockchain network can see what is going on at any time.||Training||Transparency is key when establishing COVID rules and restrictions, so people understand why and how they are being applied.|
|U||Unique ID||Used to ensure each transaction can be traced and tracked.||Uncover||‘Track and trace’ has been a key objective in seeking to control COVID spread.|
|V||Visibility||Blockchain improves visibility across a network via real time updates to all participants.||Vaccine||We can use Blockchains supply chain experience to help with testing and vaccine distribution, administration and compliance.|
|W||Wealth||Bitcoin introduced a new way of managing money via Blockchain.||Work out||Companies needing to assess their resources and product/service capabilities have all their current and past data accessible via Blockchain.|
|X||X-axis||The horizontal one! Not a Blockchain specific feature but key to any data analytics.||X-axis||COVID number charts have become a part of how we analyze it across countries, regions and populations.|
|Y||Y-axis||The vertical one! Blockchain does allow for richer analytics and data mining.||Y-axis||Numbers of positive tests, hospitalizations, ventilators and deaths to name just a few charts we have become accustomed to.|
|Z||Zone||The smart contract aspect of Blockchain could be described as establishing distinct zones.||Zoo||In 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.