Wei Liu is Head of Business Development for DeFiner.org, a peer-to-peer network for digital savings, loans and payments. He is based in Wuhan, China.
For my family and I, the Chinese Lunar New Year in January 2020 marked the beginning of a new way of life. I live in Huanggang, a city of seven million in the Wuhan region of China, where the COVID-19 pandemic began. After two months, my lockdown experience is finally ending, and I’d like to share what I’ve learned in quarantine, particularly about how I’ve seen blockchain applications provide solutions to the health and economic challenges that face the world.
The unity of the blockchain community was evident from the outbreak of the virus. Blockchain startups, together with local authorities, worked tirelessly to collect and secure medical data, track medical supply chains and provide critical information to medical staff. In the first two weeks of February, companies like Vestchain Technology and Alipay released at least 20 blockchain-based applications to tackle the mounting challenges facing communities and front-line health workers. Since then, one of China’s largest couriers, SF Express, has started using blockchain technology to deliver supplies to COVID-19 pandemic victims.
To understand how blockchain played a role in tackling the challenges posed by the virus, let me take you through my journey in the Wuhan region during the period.
Huanggang is close to the epicenter of the original COVID-19 outbreak. The authorities put strict rules in place and they have been strongly enforced. Only one person in a household could ever exit their house or apartment, and only for absolutely essential needs. Roads into and out of the city were shut down and heavily policed. The government even created an app for people wishing to venture outside. Users who certify that they have no symptoms and that they have isolated for an…