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COVID-19 Aftermath: Blockchain Technology 冠状病毒预期结果:区块链技术

Global pandemic to push through the obstacles of blockchain adoption? 全球瘟疫是否会突破区块链采用的障碍?

Blockchain technology’s unique characteristics of verifying, securing and sharing data make it ideal for managing multi-party, inter-organizational, and cross-border transactions. Over the past five years, enterprises around the world have vetted the technology with thousands of proofs of concept, but live deployments have yet to fulfil because partners using blockchain as a shared ledger have to agree on IP rights, governance, and business models. Government regulations have impeded its widespread use especially during crises.

It has taken the COVID-19 pandemic to push through the obstacles to blockchain adoption. Economies are in freefall. Unemployment rate is on the rise. Companies are going out of business. Pension funds are suffering losses. Consumer confidence is disappearing.

The pandemic has revealed the weaknesses in supply chains, the inability to deploy resources where they are most needed to address the pandemic, and difficulties in capturing and sharing the data needed to make rapid decisions for management. Blockchain solutions that have been under development for years have been unleashed to address these challenges.

The World Economic Forum recently released a Blockchain Deployment Toolkit to address the issues that arise in blockchain implementation projects. The toolkit represents key success and risk factors for the deployment of a blockchain solution within the supply chain context. Organizations can use the toolkit to support more responsible blockchain deployments, de-risk early adoption, and ensure careful consideration of unintended consequences.

If the Chinese economy continues to lag after the pandemic outbreak, it could send shock waves through global supply chains when they’re already in crisis mode. Materials shortages and bottlenecks could even prolong the pandemic. It would make it more difficult for manufacturers to fulfil orders for healthcare essentials such as personal protective equipment and other medical supplies.

The course of COVID-19 and its enduring economic impacts look unpredictable as ever. As companies rush to aid the COVID-19 response or fight to keep their doors open, they require trust in suppliers and partners and transparency into supply chains and contractual obligations. Luckily, blockchain excels on both fronts.

For companies operating far outside the scope of the pandemic response, blockchain has something valuable to offer at this moment. Thanks to improved transparency, buyers can seek out ethical sources that minimize their environmental footprint or abide by fair labor practices.

As consumers make tough choices on how to spend their limited disposable income, they will naturally gravitate toward companies that do the right thing — ones that act ethically. Being able to satisfy that demand could help savvy merchants make it through this crisis.

Blockchain technology was one of the top tech trends for the past two years. The potential adoption of blockchain technology attracted attention from governments, businesses, capital markets, and researchers. There wasn’t a problem that blockchain and its related technologies couldn’t solve.

Many of the earlier blockchain projects hoped to start a revolution, to challenge or disrupt traditional centralized institutions and systems. However, the end result isn’t as optimizing as it is supposed to be. In the current situation, solutions that leverage blockchain technology in more modest and practical ways, have the potential to become beneficial to counter the impact of coronavirus.

China is a leader in leveraging blockchain in the fight against Covid-19. Around 20 blockchain applications were launched to address Covid-19 over the course just two weeks in February, including an online screening system that securely manages health records and a platform that supports the management, allocation, and donation of relief supplies.

In a post-coronavirus world, we will need to change the conversation and re-risk the economy. Blockchain technology and smart contracts have the potential to optimize the investment rules and regulations regarding private equity funding. When we program the possibility of “intelligent risk-taking” by both accredited and traditionally non-accredited investors into the computer protocols for private equity investments, blockchain not only disintermediates the investment and trading process but will also create higher liquidity in the market.

Smart contract protocols might then contain requirements regarding the obligation to follow an investment course, allowing only accredited investors to invest into private equity. Other possible scenarios such as, non-accredited, but sophisticated individual investors can only invest in certain sectors based on their expertise, or investments restricted to certain types of industries.

The economic downfall forces investors and key institutions to re-risk the economy and blockchain technology has the potential to play an essential role in building the future of the economy. It may not be the revolution envisaged by the blockchain evangelists in the early days, but it could still prove enormously significant in the post-virus recovery.

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