With over 66,000 people infected with the coronavirus and more than 1,400 fatalities in China, many basic medical supplies are scarce. To improve donation efficiency amid the crisis, a Chinese startup – Hyperchain has launched a blockchain-based solution.
Scandals and chaos surround the coronavirus
According to the South China Morning Post, there has been a series of scandals in China regarding public donations since the coronavirus broke out. They have also provoked outrage as hospitals report a shortage of face masks for front-line staff treating infected patients.
These have served to shake peoples’ confidence in how their funds are being distributed by state-backed charity organizations.
On Feb 1, the Red Cross Society of Hubei issued a statement on its website. It said that the organization was deeply distressed, felt guilty, and “blamed themselves” for the problems associated with the distribution of donated materials. In fact, their poor management of the situation led to the removal of a Red Cross Society official in Hubei on Feb 4 for “dereliction of duty in the fight against the novel coronavirus epidemic.”
Blockchain tech helps coronavirus victims?
In a bid to combat this, Chinese blockchain startup Hyperchain backed by the China Xiong’an Group has developed a blockchain-based donation tracking platform called Shanzong.
Doners can track their donations at every stage and see when their money is matched to the needed medical equipment. Some of the donors so far include the Yuegou Living Supermarket and the New Sunshine Charity Foundation.
Hyperchain said in a statement: “Shanzong guarantees the authenticity of donation information by putting it on the blockchain, which then cannot be changed or deleted… This is the biggest difference.”
The rise of emerging tech in China
Chinese President Xi Jinping caused the cryptocurrency markets to soar when he came out in support of blockchain technology in 2019, pledging greater funding and research in China.
The coronavirus outbreak is now showing authorities practical cases in which blockchain can be used, beyond the supply chain or improving local government efficiencies.
The disease epidemic has also given a push to other emerging technologies, including AI and drones, as the Chinese authorities scramble to better detect and diagnose the deadly virus.
AI pioneers Baidu and Megvii have developed advanced temperature screening tools for major Beijing railway stations, while autonomous robots are replacing human cleaners in infected wards. Authorities are also using drones in some remote parts of the country to ensure that citizens are using facemasks.
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