techUK members gathered on Thursday 11 June to discuss the impact COVID-19 is having on businesses and society, and how critical digital transformation is to tackling new challenges. Distributed ledger technology has the potential to crack complex problems to help us go through the current crisis and beyond.
Speakers Gary Nuttall, Founder of Distlytics, Genevieve Leveille, Principal Founder & CEO of Agriledger, Duncan Johnston-Watt, CEO & Co-Founder of Blockchain Technology Partners, Helen Disney, Co-Founder of GovChain Research, and Jim Nasr, CEO of Acoer, shared their insights based on real life DLT projects they are working on, as well as action from the public sector.
What are governments doing?
Some of the key areas governments across the world were looking at for DLT adoption are still very much relevant in the current crisis. The following areas have become central to the response to COVID-19:
- Healthcare – including medical credentialing
- Supply Chain implementation – including procurement for PPE, tests, etc.
Countries who are doing better had collaborative procedures to understand and test out technology – including sandbox. Going forward we need more and better mechanisms to share lessons and best practices.
As governments are responding to COVID-19 one of the focal points of attention in the public has been around data accuracy and privacy. This is another area where DLT can offer great value.
Testing – an immediate use case
Testing is a vital part of the response to COVID-19, knowing who has the virus and who has had the virus. With DLT tests can be linked to the box they were taken from, creating a chain of custody all the way from factory to the medical practitioner (and ultimately the patients). This would make each test unique globally, tamper free and ensure validity (if they were any issues, such as environmental temperature, the test could be invalidated with smart contracts mechanism).
Identity – at the core of any solution
Digital identity is crucial to making the link between the virtual and the real world. DLT can be the passport to going back to work – ensuring any information around testing is validated and trusted. In countries where there are no national identity cards, Digital ID based on DLT provides a unique identifier in real time and the provenance of an ID can mathematically be proven.
DLT has the potential to put people in full control of their data, know exactly who the share their data with and why. It also provides trust and security for service providers.
Members of the panel also discussed the importance of interoperability as we will see different systems and technology run at the same time, including various blockchain based platforms.