CongressA group of nine members of the House of Representives, belonging to the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, has written to President Trump recommending the adoption of blockchain to help address the problems of COVID-19. This follows on from the US Postal Service patent application for use of blockchain to support a secure absent voting system.

As the letter states: “Your agencies are engaged in alleviating the impact of this crisis right now. Blockchain technology is an important resource that the United States must pursue to ensure that we can protect the well-being of our people and ensure economic prosperity. The membership of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus urges your consideration, support, and implementation of utilizing blockchain technology that could greatly mitigate the effects of the Coronavirus.

Application areas envisaged by Congressional Blockchain Caucus

The letter makes a primary key point – the need for a digital infrastructure that is reliable, flexible and secure. It goes on to list three areas where the application of blockchain could assist in addressing COVID-19:

  • identity
  • supply chains
  • registries.

In the first, identity, the Representatives say: “The built-in architecture of blockchains enables seamless identification, for example, when receiving government benefits, while its strong encryption protects sensitive data“.

The attraction of blockchain use in ‘ordinary’ supply chains has attracted much commercial attention. The Representatives make the point that “Managing our crucial supply chains, in which identifying where supplies originate, their transportation routes, arrival times, and inventories are critical for government and consumers alike, from food safety, to pharmaceuticals, to the medical supply chain“.  They emphasise that the lack of knowledge about COVID-19-relevant medical supplies was, and continues to be, a contraining factor in trying to reduce the impact of the disease.

On the last, registries, they say “blockchain can improve the registries of medical professionals and the necessary certifications and licenses during this time. In addition to identity solutions to verify experience and required qualifications, registries of medical professionals as well as needed personal protective equipment (PPE), among others, could improve deployment and efficiencies of critical resources.

Enterprise Times: what does this mean

Addressing COVID-19 with blockchain solutions has attracted multiple ‘solutions’ (Enterprise Times has evidenced this here, here, and here. This Congressional Blockchain Caucus letter, though general, does suggest that the US Government should be adopting blockchain from the top down – as a measure which will assist in overcoming COVID-19, and by implication other infections/diseases.

Whether anything will happen seems doubtful – unless it satisfies some hitherto unobserved need for President Trump (in which case action might suddenly occur). Though the Caucus is bipartisan, the letter probably lacks heft in a presidential election year.

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Charles Brett is a business/technology analyst consultant. His specialist areas include enterprise software, blockchain and enterprise mobility tech (including metering). Specific industry sectors of interest and experience include finance (especially systems supporting wholesale finance), telecommunications and energy. Charles has spoken at multiple industry conferences, has written for numerous publications (including the London Times and the Financial Times). He was the General Chair of the bi-annual High Performance Systems Workshop, 2005. In addition he is an author and novelist. His Technology books include: Making the Most of Mobility Vol I (eBook, 2012); Explaining iTunes, iPhones and iPads for Windows Users (eBook, 2011); 5 Axes of Business Application Integration (2004). His published novels, in the Corruption Series, include: The HolyPhone Confessional Crisis, Corruption’s Price: A Spanish Deceit and Virginity Despoiled. The fourth in The Corruption Series - Resurrection - has is now available. Charles has a B.A. and M.A in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He has lived or worked in Italy, Abu Dhabi, South Africa, California and New York, Spain, Israel, Estonia and Cyprus.

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