Cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and dogecoin have always been at the back of society’s minds for the past few years. The technology that powers these coins, the blockchain, has also gained a lot of traction in recent months. As blockchain technology is uniquely suited to securing, verifying, and sharing data between users, they are the ideal option for managing transactions between people, organizations, and countries. Many enterprises have verified the technology works with thousands of proofs of concepts, but the number of actual blockchain startups has been relatively low as people argue over IP rights, business models, and governance. Government regulations also make it difficult to get involved.
However, blockchain Twitter has exploded in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic as people are finally pushing through the barriers to adopt blockchain. The virus has shown us the harsh realities of how our supply chains are weak, how we have problems ensuring the right people get the right resources, and how difficult it can be to capture and share data needed for rapid pandemic response. Blockchain startups have emerged to help tackle these issues.
Startups such as IBERIAN and TimeChain are incredibly interesting and worth keeping an eye on. IBERIAN offers asset management services to help independent managers and investors overcome the challenges of working with bitcoin. TimeChain offers research and development services to help companies understand cryptocurrency and transform their IT systems for the better.
It’s not only these startups that are getting involved. Organizations including Microsoft, IBM, and the World Health Organization, not to mention government agencies, are working together with MilPasa, a platform created by HACERA to detect Covid-19 infection hotspots. The platform securely shares information between hospitals and authorities. It uses digital identifiers that can’t be traced back to the data source to prevent discovery of personally identifiable information.
The Dutch government is partnering with Tymlez to use the companies network modelling technology to analyze and map the medical supply chain. This will open the door for a decentralized marketplace built on the blockchain. The company says that the idea will improve transparency over time-sensitive and critical supplies including ventilators and PPE to reduce the risk of price gouging and ensure supplies go where they are most needed.
The idea of blockchain startups is an interesting one. There’s always something new to watch for and some exciting way that the technology is being used. The pandemic has created all sorts of problems, but some new and interesting solutions have also emerged. These innovative solutions prove what we’re capable of when pushed to the edge and more interesting blockchain technology is no doubt on the way.