Key Considerations When Using Blockchain For Vaccine Passports : Forbes Article

As the Covid-19 vaccine rolls out worldwide and core milestones are hit, the world is turning to the long-awaited discussions of reopening. At the time of this writing, roughly 29% has received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, a total of 4.36 billion doses have been administered globally and 40.31 million are now administered each day.

As the world works toward reopening, many countries are questioning whether they should require citizens to obtain vaccine passports.

What are vaccine passports?

“Vaccine passport” refers to a system that allows citizens to show whether they’ve been vaccinated against Covid-19. “The certificate system could be used for traveling abroad, as well as to grant access to venues such as restaurants and bars,” according to . The passport is seen as a means to reduce infections, ease the blockade and promote movement in the coronavirus world.

Some countries and organizations have already established systems to prove Covid-19 vaccinations. For example, Israel, which  vaccine rollout, issued a green pass earlier this year so citizens 12 and older could prove their vaccination status or that they recently had Covid-19 to get access to large events and certain public spaces. (According to the BBC, when infection rates declined, the green pass was ended, though the government announced plans to  on July 29 “amid a recent surge in cases.”) The  and  have also introduced vaccine passports.

What about blockchain?

Many of the vaccine passports, whether in use or development, adopt QR code-based digital health evidence systems, which, for some, has . I’ve seen some people argue vaccine passports could be an invasion of privacy, citing concerns their health information could be leaked or that it will be possible to monitor every move of individuals.

The credibility of vaccine passports is also a debate. Already there are  of “Covid-19 vaccines, vaccine passports and faked negative test papers being sold on the darknet,” according to the BBC. Furthermore, CNBC also reported that health experts and rights groups have  that these passports could inadvertently lead to “false assurances” for travelers and discriminate against populations that don’t have access to vaccines.

But from my perspective, two major objections to a Covid-19 passport — privacy and security — are dealt with by putting the data on a blockchain ledger. It’s nearly impossible to fake data on a blockchain, and users’ information can be stored securely since information can’t be modified and third parties neither enter nor destroy the data. Blockchain-based passports are something my blockchain development company is already working on, though I’ve seen others that have also entered the marketplace, such as VeChain, an and COOV, a .

With a blockchain-based passport, a medical provider issues a vaccination certificate that includes a private key individual to the user. At the same time, a public key is stored in the blockchain. If the user presents the vaccination certificate as a QR code in an app, the verification agency can scan the QR code to check the minimum information related to vaccination. In addition to vaccination-related details, users can choose whether 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, in order to use vaccine passports, whether in blockchain or not, I believe countries would still need to set up homogeneous platforms with international standardized regulations to ensure data can be shared securely.

And for entrepreneurs in the blockchain space that are considering providing similar solutions themselves, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. First, remember that building solutions for governments or enterprises from the ground up requires exceptional planning, execution and trust since many stakeholders will need to be involved in the decision making. Blockchain also comes with some unique caveats, including that it’s immutable. This means the data can never be changed; it could be amended, but never erased. Additional considerations are:

1. C-suite executives don’t simply want to talk about the tech; they want a practical solution. So, focus on introducing transformative solutions to their most complicated business challenges.

2. Technology is just a tool. The actual 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. Improve market sensitization, establish organic cooperation between technology and marketing, understand technology changes and have practical and systematic market information analysis.

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 the unique characteristics of the blockchain allow for the creation of a unique tool for securely sharing health care information. For organizations in this space, however, keep in mind there’s great debate over the use of vaccine passports, and it’s worth taking note of the pros and cons.

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