Expert Claims Blockchain Technology Could Help Tackle Corona Virus
Expert Claims Blockchain Technology Could Help Tackle Coronavirus
February 6, 2020
Expert Claims Blockchain Technology Could Help Tackle Corona Virus
Expert Claims Blockchain Technology Could Help Tackle Coronavirus
February 6, 2020

An expert at the University of Hong Kong claims that blockchain technology and AI-driven strategies should be implemented to better tackle responses to the coronavirus epidemic. 

On February 5, Syren Johnstone, the Executive Director of the Master in Laws (compliance and regulation) program at the University of Hong Kong, published a post for the Oxford University Faculty of Law Department blog, arguing that the coronavirus outbreak should be seen as a “call to arms for the tech industry.”

However, Johnstone’s argument opens with the claim that charities are currently hindered in their ability to channel donations effectively for crisis response due to Beijing’s institutional and political choices. 

It has been reported that the Chinese government is currently funneling all public donations through five government-backed charity organizations, an approach he argues represents “a throwback to pre-2016 China,” before the country established a law enabling the creation of private-sector charities.

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He continues:

“The funnelling order implicitly assumes that the five government-backed charities are fit for purpose and better able to manage the current crisis. That assumption may be at odds with historical and more recent evidence suggesting organizations responsible for responding to crises appear to struggle to manage their core responsibilities.”

Also, he says that Beijing’s centralizing approach is merely compounding the problem and instead of a government-led approach, the tech industry should provide a solution.

Specifically, it should leverage blockchain and AI technology, which are already in widespread use by Alibaba, SF Express and Apple.

Likewise, blockchain would enable the transparent recording and tracking of all donations, whether it is cash or face masks, and make it possible to hold people or entities to account at any point in the process, through to final end-use.

Johnstone says that mismanagement would be reduced with greater public visibility and they could increase public trust in the system by ensuring donors have more oversight and control over their contributions. 

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He also invokes President Xi Jinping’s own endorsement of blockchain technology in support of his argument, further stating that tech firms globally should work with China’s industry, like AI, in particular, demonstrates “the desirability of a cooperative landscape.” 

Thus, he concludes that the solution to coronavirus should draw upon the Chinese government’s own principle, established in 2013, that:

“The market should be allowed to play a decisive role in the allocation of resources. Public-private and mixed ownership reforms in China testify to the reality that centrally controlled organisations […]  have not developed management systems or innovated solutions to problems at anything like the pace that private enterprise has.”

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Ishita Bora

Ishita Bora is a Senior Content Creator at Digital Notice Media Labs with an experience of 1 year. She has completed her Master's Degree in Language and Linguistics in 2019 from Gauhati University, India. Her interest lies in blockchain technology and cryptocurrency space. She loves writing about blockchain and other blockchain-related articles.