Blockchain enthusiast developer and writer. My telegram: ksshilov
We’re all living in this strange new reality right now and adjusting our schedules, our jobs, and our very livelihoods. And while things will certainly go back to normal soon, for now, well, now’s a great time to review how this new economy affects the blockchain industry, and what changes will come once the pandemic is resolved.
The few prerequisites that make this current situation a great testing ground for all blockchain products:
People tend to change their behavior slowly - but the pandemic can serve as a catalyst to start using new products, which is why I’ve asked blockchain founders how they view the current situation and what they think will come after pandemic.
But first let’s look if there are any market signs indicative of the fact that these new blockchain-based products are increasing in popularity.
Blockchain in logistics and supply-chain management:
This industry depends largely on communication and document exchange.
Here’s a good analysis from Gartner that was made at the beginning of Feb 2020. It’s good reading if you want to find both the short and long-term plans of all parts of the supply-chain market.
The COVID-19 crisis has put unprecedented strain on the global supply chain of every product, but critical medical supplies are the most heavily impacted.
But luckily, several products are on the rise now in this field: Alipay’s Xiang Hu Bao Online Mutual Aid Platform (One of the newest functions is to process coronavirus claims, helping the firm to reduce paperwork and the need for back-and-forth document delivery to clinics).
Alipay, along with the Zhejiang Provincial Health Commission and the Economy and Information Technology Department, has launched a blockchain-based platform that enables users to trace the demand and supply chain of medical supplies. This includes the recording and tracking of epidemic prevention materials, such as masks, gloves, and other protective gear.
The shortage of facial masks has been one of the biggest challenges in China so far, with the National Development and Reform Commission (China’s top economic planning commission) being tasked with managing the very limited supply. According to the NDRC, daily production is around 15.2 million masks per day, with demand estimated to be anywhere between 50 and 60 million units. (Based on: cointelegraph.com)
Blockchain for cross-border payments.
When the world is locked down and different regions need support, for sending donations and payments becomes critical. But this is precisely where blockchain shines above all else.
In a bid to accentuate the relief process for the COVID-19 pandemic, the Italian Red Cross society is ramping up its modes of accepting payment, with the latest development introducing support for the premier cryptocurrency – Bitcoin.
This was made possible courtesy of the blockchain startup Helperbit. For the uninitiated, Helperbit offers a platform to raise money for charitable causes including the COVID-19 mayhem that has taken a firm grip over the planet. (Based on: btcmanager.com)
More news has come from China regarding this same topic: donation tracking.
The payment processing platform managed by Alibaba, Alipay, introduced a platform that runs on a blockchain in order to allow donors and charitable organizations to better cooperate in a more transparent manner. (Based on blockchainconsultus.io)
Blockchain in Healthcare
A good read by Carlo R.W. De Meijer (Senior Economist at MIFSA) goes over the current problems with cross-border healthcare data management while scientists all over the world are trying to track and visualize pandemic distribution.
Two products - HashLog and IBM Food Trust - showed its aptitude for solving data-management and disease-tracking problems.
Another real-world product based on blockchain that would help to solve the data-management problem was launched in alliance with WHO, IBM, and Oracle - learn more about it here.
Blockchain will, of course, not prevent the emergence of new viruses itself. But what blockchain can do is create the first-line of rapid defense through a network of connected devices whose only purpose is to remain alert about disease outbreaks. The use of blockchain can help prevent pandemics by enabling early detection, fast-tracking drug trials, and positively affect the outbreak and treatment management.
As we can see, there are several real applications of blockchain technology that can be utilized in critical times, such as what is going on now. To learn more, I’ve asked several blockchain project founders about what the role of blockchain technology will be after the COVID-19 pandemic passes. Their insights are below.
We are beginning to recognize the fragility of the healthcare infrastructure in many countries. In the end, people will demand that adequate facilities be built to handle the next pandemic. In addition, many small businesses, and maybe even the large ones, will fail due to the economic challenges they are facing.
Some nations have even started to implement short-term lending solutions to help businesses deal with their shortcomings. Such economic relief packages are even being considered by different countries for the general populace via Universal Basic Income (UBI). With proper decentralized identity (DIDs) standards and if the Central Banks decide to implement Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC), blockchain could play a role in facilitating and tracking loans and be the means to issue UBI. Just in this past week, the United States Department of Homeland
Security has stated that "blockchain managers" are essential workers, particularly in the food-supply industries. This type of statement indicates that governments around the world are starting to recognize that blockchain is now being deployed as critical infrastructure and can become even more useful in crisis scenarios. I expect government agencies will be increasingly adopting blockchain solutions over the next decade and encouraging development in both the private and public sectors.
Although it will take time to get back to normal, the post-pandemic world will surely offer a slew of interesting opportunities for entrepreneurs. This black-swan event cast a stark light unto the flaws in our fiscal and monetary policy and as such, the repercussions these policies have today are very detrimental. I believe that the best opportunity lies with Bitcoin in the blockchain sector. Bitcoin, as an asset class that is decentralized and showing sound money properties and operating in a free market, will have the key features that people will start to flock toward and appreciate evermore. It is the mandate of our brokerage securedigitalmarkets.com to help educate investors on the digital asset class and how prospective investments may sit inside a traditional investor’s portfolio in the post-pandemic world.
I believe that one of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic might be that online prescriptions and delivery, homeschooling, and distributed work could easily become more widely accepted, enabling the people to take more of their lives online. Many companies now have a chance to try remote work, and this could be a nice change for many. When it comes to blockchain’s role in the future, blockchain has valuable use cases in the supply chain, healthcare, education, and many other areas affected by the pandemic, but thinking it could help with a pandemic such as the one we are facing right now is unrealistic, at best. It's only realistic use case regarding this type of situation is probably in the anti fake news segment and verifying the sources of information we are getting.
The pandemic has sparked big moves in the global currency market and consumer faith in the global financial system is dwindling. As the traditional financial system weakens, the role of Bitcoin, crypto assets, and the emerging DeFi platforms is to provide consumers with credible alternatives to existing financial services. For example, as interest rates go negative, people will struggle to find safe places to store their cash. This environment makes the USDX stablecoin a very attractive alternative, as it holds the value of USD while still providing users with a 5%+ APY return regardless of what is available at banks or in the bond market.
The coronavirus outbreak will induce several changes in our daily lives and will prompt every one of us to reconsider our previously common actions. And the same can be said for our relationship with technology.
On the recommendation of the World Health Organization, more people are learning to live with social distancing and are practicing this while also trying to tackle their daily tasks, including the management of their everyday finances. In light of this, many are now turning to cashless payments as a way to accommodate these social changes and pay for their goods and services without the exchange of physical cash.
However, with the burdens attached to traditional cashless payments, such as high transaction fees, slow settlement times, and increased cybersecurity risks, there will be an increased demand for alternative solutions. And through the power of decentralized blockchain systems, crypto payments may be the answer. We will ultimately see an increase in this payment method as an alternative to physical cash payments, but without the pains that come with the current cashless methods.
Blockchain-based payment platforms such as PumaPay’s innovative payment solution are the perfect example of this. Through PumaPay, we provide the best of both blockchain technology with traditional payment cards to bring a flexible alternative in the wake of this recent pandemic. Our numerous billing models can support any business’ current logic and allow customers to pay for their entertainment services or products while staying safely in their home. And through PumaPay’s Mobile Wallet app, users can manage their cryptocurrencies in one place easily and securely.
We’ve seen the popularity of blockchain grow in a number of industries in the past year, but with this recent pandemic we will now see new benefits and roles which will propel its popularity to an even wider audience than before.