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Blockchain and Covid 19

By Avivah Litan | April 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

Crises bring out the best and the worst of society. Covid-19 is no exception. The ‘best’ is what will get us out of this mess — innovation. Innovation in health care and vaccines will cure the health care crisis, and technology innovation will help us climb out of economic and business problems.

Blockchain, a technology that has struggled to find value in business environments, is proving to be helpful during Covid-19 and Covid-19 recovery in many ways. You can read about or listen to the application of blockchain in various Covid-19 use cases in these two publications.

Wall Street Journal on Blockchain and Covid 19 on China, Blockchain and Covid 19

As the world and our environment changes forever during and after Covid 19, Blockchain uniquely supports:

  1. The fulfillment of greater and more urgent liquidity needs amongst consumers and businesses (see case studies in two publications noted above and in upcoming Gartner research)
  2. Trust in the supply chain and asset tracking
  3. Trust in provenance of digital assets and content, physical goods
  4. Trust in identities of providers, consumers, businesses, and things
  5. Dynamic inclusion of new channels and participants into supply chains as sourcing and demand needs rapidly change
  6. Sovereign digital currency to underpin shifting dynamics of nation state economies and to promote faster payments
  7. Tracking of individuals and their health conditions, in a privacy respectful manner (using zero knowledge proofs)
  8. Public blockchain currency which promotes financial inclusion around the world, especially in impoverished areas where people have no access to capital (a situation Covid 19 will make worse)
  9. Novel innovative products such as on demand health insurance for low-income consumers based on claims, or on demand farmer insurance based on rainfall levels


Of course there are many challenges ahead in blockchain implementations. One key challenge is knowing what or who you are onboarding or tracking on the blockchain is indeed what or who you believe the entity is. The first mile – i.e. what you record to the blockchain for later tracking – is not solved by blockchain technology. In fact, with blockchain, garbage in is worse than garbage out. With blockchain, garbage in becomes permanent garbage that never comes out.

There are solutions to this provenance problem that we plan to write about in coming months. These solutions include; content authentication, AI detection of ‘fake’ content, DNA analysis, spectral imaging, and more.

Until then, blockchain applications are certainly not perfect but they definitely raise the trustworthiness bar. That’s something we all desperately need during this crisis.

The Gartner Blog Network provides an opportunity for Gartner analysts to test ideas and move research forward. Because the content posted by Gartner analysts on this site does not undergo our standard editorial review, all comments or opinions expressed hereunder are those of the individual contributors and do not represent the views of Gartner, Inc. or its management.

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