Blockchain Enables Verification of COVID-19 Immunity

Siddhartha Dasgupta

November 21, 2020

One year ago, if somebody had to travel to another country to visit, he or she would most certainly require a passport along with the flight tickets. Even 10 months ago, this would be true. But in a post -covid world, this normal occurring no longer holds good. As air travel is heavily restricted across the world, just possessing a passport is not good anymore if you are travelling internationally on an urgency. We say urgency because normal international travel is highly discouraged these days. As it is protocols and processes in airports are heavily cumbersome in the new normal. Given the virus is not going to disappear in a hurry and we are some time away from vaccinating the world, what is the solution? How do we jumpstart International air travel?

Immunity Passports: Seamless Identification in a New World

As International travel was hit like never before, it affected the very fundamentals of people movement across borders. Credentials and identity are the basic foundations which enable people to move internationally. There’s a very real need for Immunity Passports given the current scenario. The idea is to create a self-sovereign identity platform based on blockchain which can create an immunity passport while keeping the privacy of users intact. 

The society needs to return to normal in a measurable, controlled way where privacy isn’t compromised. To that effect, the COVID-19 Credentials Initiative comprises of 60 organizations contributing to the work of creating a digital certification that uses the W3C industry standard called verifiable credentials. 

Earlier this year, we interviewed Rohan Hall, Founder/CTO/CEO Vottun USA who are working on a Blockchain based immunity passport solution which has data privacy measures built into the system. They claim to be GDPR Compliant as well as California CCPA compliant. Its a solution designed at the intersection of healthcare facilities, employees, and employers. The final objective is to help companies get people back to their workplaces. While ‘Work From Home’ has become the norm in COVID times, we know that it can’t be sustainable in the longer run from a teamwork perspective. Vottun’s technology  allows healthcare facilities to post test results which are secure and immutable. They can be verified on public and private blockchains. 

Panacea to Travel 

If there is one industry which has been heavily impacted by COVID, it’s the travel and tourism business. With People locked at home, the travel and tourism industry is going through its worst phase in years. While other industries are recovering steadily, the travel business is taking its own sweet time. 

One of the primary factors is the ambiguity around identity and credentials, especially their COVID-19 testing journey. It is a very peculiar dichotomy if one simplifies the bigger picture. The virus loves to travel and so do people. 

If you closely analyze the limited Post COVID international travel, you would notice that the primary element which has changed are the process and protocol requirements pre and post travel. This is where Blockchain comes in. The tech by default comes with trust built in. One can automate processes and make it nearly impossible to tamper with. However, since the verification is based on Data, its absolutely essential to scrutinize the origin of data input. 

A blockchain based identity verification app can be immensely beneficial in bringing back consumer confidence to travel and tourism. Digital immunity passports can track down false positives and certify ‘fit to travel’ people, thereby reducing hassles while checking in for the flight or into a hotel. The world will most likely take time to completely be shielded from COVID-19, until then, Blockchain based Digital Immunity passports can enable people to travel and stay connected internationally. 

You can read more about our immunity passports and the privacy perspective by clicking here and here

Sources: IMD, PhocusWright, Vottun

About the author
Siddhartha Dasgupta

Contributing Author

Sid has been a content solutions evangelist and a digital marketer for 10+ years. Having written for brands such as IBM, Infosys and other technology corporations and startups, he is always at the cutting edge of researching & writing about emerging technologies.

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