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Is Blockchain the Best Solution for Contact Tracing?
October 1, 2020 News

 

With the recent spike of COVID-19 cases, there is a growing concern that contact tracing apps are not sufficient enough in monitoring and tracking down movements of patients and those who had close contact with them.

Apps like MySejahtera, the Malaysian government contact tracing app, have come under fire recently from the public for not updating its hot spot areas fast enough and not sending out notifications to users quickly enough to let them know about potential high-risk areas.

While contact tracing applications have been able to assist healthcare officials to trace patients, many still feel the technology is not working fast enough. They are concerned that by the time a patient is identified, a new cluster may have already formed.

At the same time, with international travel to resume shortly in some areas, the amount of red tape and processes one would need to handle to prove they have not come in close contact with victims will be increasing.

Is there a way to ensure transparency so that the entire process can be sped up? Can contact tracing apps be able to give out alerts faster and have clearer transparency on movements?

With blockchain, it might just be possible.

As most of us are aware, blockchain is all about recording information in a way that makes it difficult or impossible to change, hack or cheat the system. What is essentially a digital ledger of transactions, information is duplicated and distributed across the entire network of computer systems on the blockchain.

According to Kenny Tan, Head of AntChain International Business, blockchain technology is already getting a lot of attraction in other industries due to its transparency. Be it for finance or the supply chain, more organisations are testing and having proof of concepts developed with blockchain use cases.

“Blockchain should be used for contact tracing. In the future, travelling is surely going to be a hassle, especially in a post-pandemic world. One would need to provide a lot of information in order to travel. This includes having proof of vaccines taken, places visited and other information that is required by countries. Blockchain simplifies the entire process and also increases trust not only between countries but the locals as well”.

While it may be some time before blockchain is implemented for contact tracing, the solution does seem to make the most sense especially in ensuring transparency of those involved. In fact, several blockchain companies have already begun developing contact tracing solutions that rely on blockchain technology.

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