My favourite tweet on blockchain goes something like this: “Blockchain is the answer, now tell me the question?” Fuelled by the unceasing hype around Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, blockchain has been regarded as the silver bullet solution for everything—hacking, threats to democracy, poverty and world hunger. No wonder then, that the moment the covid outbreak became a pandemic with its ensuing lockdowns, blockchain started to be bandied about as the cure that could miraculously bring the world back up on its feet.
While it is apparent that no one technology can “solve” a pandemic, blockchain, along with a slew of others, could definitely help manage the post-lockdown situation. Taking a clear-eyed view, here are five ways in which it could help mitigate the covid crisis.
Building more resilient supply chains: Perhaps the biggest blow to industry and agriculture has been the abrupt disruption of supply chains, making it hard to get raw material to factories and finished goods to customers. Usually, it is not the entire supply chain which is disrupted, but one critical link: say, insufficient drivers to drive trucks along a certain route in the chain, or a specific warehouse not being accessible. While no blockchain can produce drivers for trucks like wine from water, an end-to-end supply chain on blockchain, combined with digitization and Internet of Things, can make the chain transparent and traceable, and tell us quickly where any problem lies. That blockchain use could offer transparent, traceable and cheaper supply chains has been known for a while, but cost, data sharing hesitation, and a lack of incentive have kept managers from setting them up. A crisis like covid can change these mindsets to build supply chains that are far more resilient for the next big crisis of this kind.
Universal basic income and digital currency: This is also an idea bandied about for long, and its time has finally come. Universal basic income (UBI) has…