Blockchain as the Technological Saviour of Humanity

Asia Blockchain Review

March 5, 2020

Blockchain as the Technological Saviour of Humanity

Throughout the course of history, mankind has had the misfortune of going through medical calamities which have cost countless lives. Back in the fourteenth century, the Great Plague which is also known as the Black Death, took the lives of an estimated 200 million people which amounted to about 60% of Europe’s population at that time. In more recent times, influenza-based maladies have repeatedly reared its ugly head most notably in the form the Spanish flu in 1918 which took the lives of an estimated 100 million people, reducing the global population at that time by a frightening 6%

Fast forward to 2020, humanity once again finds itself in the face of a medical crisis as it strives to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic which, similar to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic in 2002, is of zoonotic origin i.e. caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites which spread from animals to humans. Unlike 2002 when blockchain was still very much in its infancy, technology has come a long way since then, and is ready to lend a helping hand with global efforts to deal with the COVID-19 epidemic.

Addressing Systemic Issues in the Medical Field Using Blockchain

When it comes to medical issues, the old proverb “prevention is better than cure” certainly holds true. From the outset, the centralized nature of existing medical surveillance systems renders them to be palpably inefficient in times of crisis. A lot of systems have unnecessary procedural bureaucracy within them and delays with regard to the sharing of information between agencies within the medical networks. Besides that, the lack of transparency of centralized medical surveillance systems may lead to issues of underreporting or worse, cover ups by governments. 

The use of decentralized blockchain-based medical surveillance systems would go a long way towards addressing the issues of inefficiencies and mitigating the risks of cover ups or underreporting by governments. Through the use of such a medical surveillance system, the automated and interoperable nature of blockchain ledger records would enable medical data stored on these records to be updated in a real-time basis and accessible by local as well as international health agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO) in a synchronized manner

Other than ensuring transparency, the use of permissioned blockchain ledger records would ensure that the benefits of efficiency and transparency would not be obtained at the cost of privacy as these records will only be accessible to those who are equipped with the requisite cryptographic access keys. In this connection, it is notable that Chinese technological giant Huawei has already put in place plans to use blockchain to facilitate the sharing of medical data in China to bolster national efforts in tackling the COVID-19 epidemic.

Dealing with the Financial Aspects of Healthcare Requirements Using Blockchain

In times of great medical distress, the collective brotherhood of humanity comes together in the spirit of altruism and compassion. Nonetheless, the capitalist nature of the global economy remains operating in the background. As a result, financial matters relating to monetary fundings for medical provisions and healthcare services still have to be addressed and dealt with appropriately. A critical issue which arises is the financing of the required medical provisions whereby the issue of corruption tends to stand in the way of public donations reaching the needy. Blockchain with its transparent and immutable features can prevent such occurrences, ensuring public donations for medical provisions will not end up in the wrong hands. A notable use case example in this regard is Hyperchain’s blockchain-based charity platform which facilitates the traceability of the funds donated in aid of the COVID-19 medical relief efforts.

Other than charitable donations, another financial-related area which is pertinent in the context of medical outbreaks is that of payments for the provision of healthcare services. Depending on the precise framework of the public healthcare scheme of the relevant country, victims of medical outbreaks may have to shoulder their own hospital bills. In times of medical outbreaks when the crisis situation renders time to be of the essence, the decentralized and trust-free nature of blockchain goes a long way towards speeding up the medical insurance claim process. Case in point is the collective claim-sharing platform of China’s Xiang Hu Bao which has been able to leverage blockchain to speed up the verification process for claims relating to the COVID-19 epidemic made on its platform.

Addressing the Existential Risks of Humanity

History has taught us that medical outbreaks can and do happen from time to time. In the modern world where air travel is the norm with the global population crisscrossing the four corners of the globe, the proper mitigation of the risks of a medical outbreak developing into an epidemic before turning into a full-blown pandemic is crucial to secure the survival of mankind. As with most things in the twenty-first century, blockchain may prove itself to be the tool which will serve as the technological saviour of humanity.

Reference:

  1. Wikipedia, Black Death. Accessible at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Death
  2. Wikipedia, Spanish Flu. Accessible at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_flu
  3. Wikipedia, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. Accessible at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Severe_acute_respiratory_syndrome
  4. Business Blockchain HQ, Source: Pexels Coronavirus Epidemic: Preventable with Blockchain (10 February 2020). Accessible at https://businessblockchainhq.com/blockchain-trends/coronavirus-blockchain-healthcare-surveillance/
  5. China Banking News, Huawei Seeks to Ap­ply Blockchain Tech­nol­ogy to Shar­ing of Med­ical Data Dur­ing Coro­n­avirus Out­break (12 February 2020). Accessible at http://www.chinabankingnews.com/2020/02/12/huawei-seeks-to-apply-blockchain-technology-to-sharing-of-medical-data-management-of-charitable-donation-during-coronavirus-outbreak/
  6. CoinTelegraph, Blockchain Charity Platform to Fight Against the Coronavirus Outbreak (5 February 2020). Accessible at https://cointelegraph.com/news/blockchain-charity-platform-to-fight-against-the-coronavirus-outbreak
  7. CoinTelegraph, Chinese Insurance Firms Use Blockchain to Process Coronavirus Claims (9 February 2020). Accessible at https://cointelegraph.com/news/chinese-insurance-firms-use-blockchain-to-process-coronavirus-claims

Follow Asia Blockchain Review on:

About the author
Asia Blockchain Review

Gateway to Blockchain in Asia

Asia Blockchain Review is the largest initiative for media and community building in Asia for blockchain technology. We aim to connect all blockchain enthusiasts on a regional scale and facilitate the technological foundation of blockchain through a range of group discussions, technical workshops, conferences, and consulting programs.

    Related Article
    BMW Group Embraces Blockchain For Supply Chain
    BMW Group “PartChain” project targets industry-wide solution with traceability of parts and critical...

    April 6, 2020

    Laws and Regulations: How It Affects The Blockchain Technology
    Technologies exist to assist the lives of humans; however, humans to still control the regulations a...

    March 30, 2020

    Elrond: On Demand yet Scalable Blockchain Technology
    As a team that completely enhances the public blockchain infrastructure to create a divine structure...

    March 27, 2020

    Blockchain Assists Digital Out-Of-Home Advertising: Foodpanda Taking The Lead
    Foodpanda, an example of a food delivery marketplace, has been embracing blockchain technology to op...

    March 23, 2020

    We provide information about Asia Blockchain Review latest activities as well as global blockchain news and research. Subscribe to our Newsletter now or Contact us