President of OneLedger Technology Inc., overseeing the successful development of a global brand and the OnePass vaccine passport.
As the Covid-19 vaccine rolls out around the world and major milestones are reached, the world is turning to long-awaited reopening discussions. At the time of writing, approximately 29% of the world’s population has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, a total of 4.36 billion doses have been administered worldwide, and 40 are now administered. 31 million every day.
As the world works to reopen, many countries are wondering if they should require citizens to obtain vaccine passports.
What are Vaccine Passports?
“Vaccine passport” refers to a system that allows citizens to demonstrate whether they have been vaccinated against Covid-19. “The certificate system could be used to travel abroad, as well as grant access to places like restaurants and bars,” according to CNBC. The passport is seen as a means to reduce contagion, ease the blockade and promote movement in the world of the coronavirus.
Some countries and organizations have already established systems to test vaccines against Covid-19. For example, Israel, which delivered the fastest vaccine rollout, issued a green pass earlier this year so citizens 12 and older could prove their vaccination status or recently had Covid-19 to gain access to large events. and certain public spaces. (According to the BBC, when infection rates dropped, the green pass ended, although the government announced plans to reinstate the program on July 29 “amid a recent spike in cases.”) The European Union and South Korea have also introduced vaccine passports. .
What about The Blockchain?
Many of the vaccine passports, either in use or in development, adopt QR code-based digital health evidence systems, which, for some, has raised concerns related to privacy and security. I have seen some people argue that vaccine passports could be an invasion of privacy, citing concerns that their health information could be leaked or that it will be possible to monitor every movement of people.
The credibility of vaccine passports is also up for debate. There are already reports of “Covid-19 vaccines, vaccine passports and fake negative test documents being sold on the dark web,” according to the BBC. In addition, CNBC also reported that health experts and rights groups have shared concerns that these passports could inadvertently lead to “false guarantees” for travelers and discriminate against populations without access to vaccines.
But from my perspective, two main objections to a Covid-19 passport, privacy and security, are resolved by putting the data on a blockchain ledger. It is nearly impossible to falsify data on a blockchain, and user information can be stored securely as the information cannot be changed and the data is not entered or destroyed by third parties. Blockchain-based passports are something my blockchain development company is already working on, though I have seen others enter the market as well, such as VeChain, an NFT-based vaccine passport, and COOV, a passport app.created by Blockchain Labs.
With a blockchain-based passport, a medical provider issues a vaccination certificate that includes an individual private key to the user. At the same time, a public key is stored on the blockchain. If the user presents the vaccination certificate as a QR code in an application, the verification agency can scan the QR code to verify the minimum information related to vaccination. In addition to vaccination-related details, users can choose to disclose information that can identify individuals, such as their names, date of birth, and nationality. In this case, users can protect their privacy and only prove the vaccination record.
What does This Mean for Leaders in The Blockchain Space?
Of course, to be able to use vaccine passports, whether on the blockchain or not, I think countries would still need to establish homogeneous platforms with standardized international regulations to ensure data can be shared securely.
And for entrepreneurs in the blockchain space considering providing similar solutions, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. First, remember that building government or business solutions from scratch requires exceptional planning, execution, and trust, as many stakeholders will need to be involved in decision making. Blockchain also comes with some unique caveats, including that it is immutable. This means that the data can never be changed; it could be amended, but never deleted. Additional considerations are:
1. C-suite executives don’t just want to talk about technology; they want a practical solution. So, focus on coming up with transformative solutions to your toughest business challenges.
2. Technology is just a tool. The real value of technology is the social impact that can be derived from its use.
3. Follow up on data regulation, particularly related to Covid-19.
4. Enhance market awareness, establish organic cooperation between technology and marketing, understand technological changes, and have practical and systematic analysis of market information.
5. Provide your unique value proposition; any product or service has alternatives, so find differentiated and exclusive areas of value for which you can be recognized.
In conclusion, I believe that the unique features of the blockchain allow for the creation of a unique tool for securely sharing healthcare information. However, for organizations in this space, keep in mind that there is a lot of debate surrounding the use of vaccine passports, and the pros and cons are worth taking note of.