We are living in unprecedented times. Every industry, every profession, every nation has now felt the impacts of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Even though many of us have more time on our hands due to mandated or self-imposed isolation, there still aren’t enough hours in the day to keep up on all of the news.
Our Blockchain Advisory and Cryptocurrency Disputes, Investigations and Litigation (CDI&L) team has been watching the news closely as it relates to cryptocurrency and blockchain opportunities and deployments. Not surprisingly, there’s been a swirl of activity, innovation, generosity and speculation.
While not all encompassing, the round-up below highlights some of the most interesting industry news we’re seeing to date.
- Cryptocurrency used for relief funding. The U.S. stimulus bill initially included a provision for distributing funds via digital dollars, which would have made it possible for individuals without bank accounts to easily and digitally access their relief money. While this ultimately stripped from the legislation, it’s interesting to see the U.S. looking at cryptocurrency as a solution for complicated financial programs. The Chinese government has piloted a blockchain based program to enable easier financing for businesses impacted by the coronavirus.
- Insurance payments. In China and Hong Kong, insurance providers are using blockchain technology to fast track insurance claims payments for people impacted by the coronavirus. This is an interesting development, and in line with one of the many ways I’ve written about how blockchain technology can improve processes in healthcare.
- Cryptocurrency market volatility. Cryptocurrency is often touted as a safer entity for money—not influenced by the highs and lows of the stock markets. In recent weeks, we’ve seen the cryptocurrency markets crash right alongside traditional markets. Four or six weeks ago, many industry watchers would not have expected this outcome. It’s an important lesson for investors. Specifically, it’s an indicator that many cryptocurrency investors are traditional market investors (vs. solely people who are passionate about digital money). So, those who believe digital currencies are a viable solution to fiat, which are backed by unstable governments, are less likely to see their cryptocurrency holdings as an “investment,” and therefore less likely to sell; while traditional investors who view digital currency like stocks, are more likely to trade on traditional market indicators.
- Cryptocurrency fundraising. Cryptocurrency exchange Binance has pledged at least $1 million in relief funds from its charity, for the purchase of medical supplies in countries hard hit by the coronavirus. It is asking for individuals and businesses to donate cryptocurrency to help reach its $5 million fundraising goal. The company is promising full transparency for the fundraiser, and will log all related transactions on its public blockchain.
- Outbreak tracking. Technology companies are leveraging AI with blockchain technology to track and log coronavirus outbreak information to help slow the spread of the virus and inform health agencies. Bigger picture, these tools and concepts can ultimately be used to establish and maintain trust between foreign entities who must share critical information about the virus to help slow the spread and develop medications to fight it.