Getting Back Up: How Blockchain Can Help Reopen Borders Post-COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to engulf the world, but some countries such as Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand are starting to consider reopening their borders after managing to contain the transmission of the virus in their region.
For Singapore, the government will continue to impose isolation and testing requirements to protect the country from imported COVID-19 cases that could increase community transmission again. Australia and New Zealand, on the other hand, have discussed implementing a trans-Tasman bubble to mutually build up their economies and avoid possible recessions. Meanwhile, Denmark and Norway are showing signs of improvement in the handling of the outbreak in their respective regions, but are still hesitant in reopening their borders for fear of a second wave of COVID-19 cases.
The blockchain use cases
In times like these, it is more important than ever to use advanced technologies to solve pressing issues. One such technology is blockchain. Since its inception in 2008, blockchain has been proven effective in different use cases; its features of transparency, immutability, and decentralization makes it an attractive device for handling and protecting confidential information and quickly completing transactions. These characteristics and benefits could also be useful to countries looking into speeding up their ways of responding to the pandemic and therefore gradually reopening their borders.
For example, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently leveraged blockchain to protect intellectual property rights on American imports from theft. The decentralized technology allowed CBP to exchange sensitive data such as personally identifiable information and trade secrets with manufacturers, retailers, rights holders, and importers. The secure transmission of sensitive data has been made possible because of blockchain’s use of cryptographic techniques. Cryptography enables users on the blockchain to complete and verify transactions using a public or private key. Blocks are therefore only accepted in the blockchain if the signature is valid.
Blockchain has also been utilized in various industries such as health and supply chain in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Local governments and medical institutions in Latin America have begun to use blockchain to track citizens with COVID-19-like symptoms and securely access patients’ data. The Netherlands has also been using it for tracking the supply chain of medical equipment and other necessities through blockchain-based systems to prevent sellers from setting unreasonably high prices.
Contactless payment transaction will become a new norm
Pundi X is similarly contributing to the benefits brought by blockchain. Even before the pandemic, digital payments were being used by millions of people worldwide and rarely found the need to use cash. In fact, according to McKiney & Company’s 2019 Digital Payments Survey, three out of four Americans prefer to use mobile payments. While millennials take up a large percentage of the results, the survey discovered that baby boomers have also started completing transactions through digital payments, showing that advanced technologies are not only for the youth.
Pundi X responds to the increasing demand for digital payments by allowing stores to complete transactions through the XPOS device — consumers can simply tap their XPASS card on the device or present the QR code in their XWallet app for scanning. XPOS not only allows consumers to pay merchants in crypto, but also lets them seamlessly buy digital currencies on the spot.
As that pandemic has forced more people to stay indoors and complete their transactions online, cashless payments are slowly becoming the new norm and blockchain proves to be one of the best systems to support it with its decentralized and transparent nature. People are also turning to contactless payments frequently these days to avoid risks of contracting the coronavirus through contaminated banknotes or by close contact with other people outside. Paying through blockchain has therefore proven to be more convenient and safe both in the context of health and finance, especially during this difficult time.
There’s no denying now that the use cases mentioned above represent a future that involves blockchain in every aspect of everyone’s lives. The pandemic has further highlighted the power of digital technologies and how they can help us complete our tasks safely, and finish transactions in a matter of seconds or minutes.
Speed up the development of the blockchain technology
And perhaps, blockchain can also help countries ease their restrictions and reopen their borders. With its transparent and immutable nature, blockchain can store credible data and help authorities and medical professionals streamline their operations in handling the health and policy issues brought up by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even when this crisis is over, organizations can still take advantage of blockchain in many use cases and maybe even leverage the technology to speed up or improve their products and systems.