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Bitcoin Gets its Coronavirus Immunity Passport



Bitcoin gets its Coronavirus Immunity Passport

Bitcoin’s most recent health test proves its immunity to Covid-19 and confirms it’s well-positioned to weather the current pandemic shock. One can have a different attitude toward Bitcoin but there are some ironic parallels between Bitcoin and life of the society under new rules aimed at stopping the novel coronavirus spread.

1. Traceability

The Bitcoin protocol and its computer network represent a distributed ledger – a blockchain, where all transactions are traceable.  As the coronavirus pandemic spreads around the world, impacted countries stress the need for more global cooperation, monitoring, development, and implementation of contact “track and trace” apps.

We are already “blockchained”. Fighting the coronavirus outbreak, police officials were using drones and live CCTV footage to enforce the restrictions on movements, stop crowds from gathering, and track people during lockdowns in Italy, Spain, UK, France, Greece, China, India.

Some innovative companies, along with health experts, mull the possibility of introduction and deploying pandemic drones, which will monitor human temperature and detect people coughing in crowds using sensors and computer vision (CV).

Governments rush to introduce state-supported contact-tracing apps to reopen their economy and ease the shutdown of entire regions and industries. South Korea employed a system of tracking coronavirus patient’s locations using mobile phone data, CCTV footage, credit card transactions, and public transport cards.

In China, authorities integrated a health code and tracking software into a widely used messaging app called WeChat and online payment platform Alipay. People must obtain and show their codes to travel and engage in commerce.

Google and Apple are developing a contact tracing solution that will be built into the smartphones, and use Bluetooth signals to register all devices in which someone’s phone comes into contact. The app aims to contain a future outbreak by notifying people who opt-in if they have been recently in contact with someone infected with Covid-19.

Dr. Anthony Fauci argued that the capability of rapid and efficient identification and contact tracing is vital for considering a relaxation of physical separation. There is no doubt the technology should play an active role in helping contain the global spread of COVID-19.

However, concerns are growing around privacy, and some advocacy groups and privacy campaigners argue that although data is collected for a legitimate purpose, it could eventually be misused in helping mass surveillance infrastructure development.

2. Uncertainty

Bitcoin doesn’t shake hands. Maybe that’s why Bitcoin can survive a Black Swan event with remarkable resilience. Bitcoin can be used to navigate through uncertainty with confidence while humans not. The pandemic has caused uncertainty, leaving many questions unanswered. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci commented it would take a while to get back to normal, and we should maintain some preventive measures until a vaccine is ready. He stressed his cautious optimism to have a potential vaccine ready for wide distribution by January 2021.

However, it is not clear what this new normal might be, how exactly can we get there, and what is Plan B if something goes wrong? 

Behavioral changes already affect our daily life, and we will keep washing our hands probably but likely would refrain from shaking hands even after coronavirus restrictions are eased. Some prominent virologists express the opinion that to go through the pandemic without a vaccine, there is a need to build up a herd immunity, but at a manageable pace so the health system will not be overwhelmed. 

It is still unclear whether immunity gives long-lasting protection against the coronavirus and why some coronavirus patients tested positive after recovery.

Kathy Hochul, New York Lieutenant Governor, recently commented that widespread testing is needed before reopening the economy, and the testing capacity is not there yet. The larger proportion of the population tested, the greater the accuracy is over the scale of the epidemic and disease dynamics. This information is crucial for decision-making regarding the reopening of most businesses. The introduction of a home testing kit could be a potential solution, but unfortunately, they produce ambiguous and unreliable results.

Experts warn the economy could be plunged into a worsening recession and assess lifting coronavirus measures more promptly. What seemed a financial reset might morph into an economic disaster. The global response to Covid-19 and the recovery is further complicated by fears of a resurgence, divisions in EU over the size and scope of an economic rescue plan for the Eurozone, the ongoing US-China political and economic standoff, and soaring borrowings to fund stimulus measures – further widening the budget gap.

3. Halving

Bitcoin halving is an event that happens every 210,000 blocks (approximately once in four years), where the block reward for mining a new bitcoin is halved. The 2020 bitcoin halving is expected in the third week of May when the 630,000th block is mined.

As a result, miners’ fees for transaction processing will be reduced by 50%. The price of the Bitcoin has historically moved in the opposite direction, with its value increasing after halving. Some crypto activists expect a significant pullback before the resumption of cryptocurrency strength since the halving event comes against the backdrop of Covid-19 uncertainty.

With coronavirus confinement measures such as social distancing, travel restrictions, and self-isolation impacting our daily life, business revenue dropped, and investments tumbled. The global economy keeps shrinking, and it is still too early to assess the full impact of the coronavirus crisis.

4. Virtual reality

Bitcoin is a virtual currency that is not regulated by current banking regulations and is surfing over dedicated blockchain-based public networks.

Novel coronavirus forced humans to jump quickly into a virtual reality where virtual conferences replace physical events, meetings are held by Zoom, and parent visits are via Skype. Traveling across the globe is available through virtual trips. Virtual reality is adapting to an ever-changing real life.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said shopping trends and consumer behavior keep shifting. Workforce trends are also changing as a fallout of the pandemic.

Millions of people filed for unemployment benefits last month. In the workforce, humans already compete with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robotic automation. Will coronavirus make more human jobs obsolete?

There is a reasonable concern that millions of jobs will eventually be replaced by robots or Artificial Intelligence, rapidly learning and developing new skills. Novel coronavirus played its part in exposing to the world a main human weakness, health, and emphasizing the advantage of machines — they don’t get sick, panic or tired.

More wide deployment of automation and AI would help the global economic recovery. But would people be able to find a job again with the technology change and workforce trends shifting?

Tech companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook (FAAMG) have demonstrated an ability to adjust to the new environment and reward shareholders. Bitcoin is considered a highly volatile asset but is showing its strength and performing very well, with very tolerable price swings. Nowadays, when even safe-haven investments are experiencing extreme volatility and falling in value, Bitcoin looks very attractive.

Shall we consider adding it to our favorites?

Author: Kristina Mahareva, MSc Economics and Finance, certified blockchain technology and cryptocurrency expert, PhD candidate.

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