The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted virtually all businesses, but the effect has not been uniform throughout. While the ongoing disruption may create challenges to the blockchain industry within a really short term, it’s going to also unlock new opportunities within the mid and longer-term. By helping within the COVID-19 crisis and recovery, blockchain can play a pivotal role in accelerating post-crisis digital transformation initiatives and solving those problems highlighted within the current system.
The pandemic and also the ensuing lockdown have had a negative impact on many industries which we expect an interesting slowdown in technology spending, including blockchain.
There are some notable spots where blockchain can be used to combat the consequences of COVID-19 and support within the recovery process. These innovative use cases can demonstrate the advantages of blockchain to a wider audience.
Supply Chain Management
The COVID-19 crisis has generated major disruptions across global supply chains. Two factors in tandem play a really pernicious role: many factories have to clean up because of safety concerns and there’s unprecedented demand for sure enough goods, especially medical supplies.
This high demand drives many users to source supplies without knowing their origin or quality. Long supply chains cause needless non-transparency and this makes it difficult to forecast and plan supply accordingly. Blockchain is especially suited to provide chains because it can connect all stakeholders in an exceedingly supply chain and provide a source of truth. It gives transparency and breaks down data silos while guaranteeing security.
This can be why many of the blockchain solutions deployed within the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic are in supply chain management.
In these difficult times, the correct balance has to be struck between data gathering and protection of privacy. Blockchain can be used for both purposes ie. in gathering and collating patient data more efficiently, monitoring patients’ movements to ensure social distance, and save their identity at the same time.
In a blockchain, there is no central authority, and users are given access to their personal data. This will help them to share information selectively that is important for COVID -19 mitigation efforts while protecting their identity and other important information.
Disaster Relief and Insurance
The enforced lockdown established by governments around the world has demanded a heavy toll on many businesses. Most of the physical stores have closed, while demand for all but the most essential items has dropped. In these times of financial crisis, governments have taken important measures to beat off a steep economic downturn. Providing loans and other financial lifelines is a way to keep many businesses alive.
Blockchain is used in the loan and insurance industry to give simplicity and shorten the complex application and approval process by removing third-party mediators and inherent delays in processing. The benefits include faster processing time, lower costs, minimal operational risks, and a fast settlement for all parties involved.
Politics, mainly voting and elections, have also been disrupted by COVID-19. The customary political process puts politicians, voters, and all those entangled in the related services at risk. The recent Wisconsin Democratic primary in the U.S. could have been kept away from by using a secure blockchain voting mobile app, though at the same time the proof of concept is there, no presiding solution from a well-known company has emerged from the many tests and pilots.
Smaller countries have made faster progress.
Blockchain technology can reduce many of the security concerns that have troubled previous e-voting attempts. However, the biggest problem remains the general public’s distrust of voting using digital technology.
Mobiloitte believes blockchain technologies offer great potential in many COVID-impacted scenarios, especially in the supply chain. Due to the hold in investments and the prioritization of important expenses, however, blockchain will be forced into a short-term slowdown.
Given its importance in terms of reliability of the supply chain, transparency across multiple use cases, and the live tracking of goods, however, blockchain investments can be expected to recover once the pandemic eases. The recovery will be supported by the biggest players in the market working together with a variety of smaller, innovative companies.