The Coronavirus has been the story of 2020 so far as China and the rest of the world grapple to suppress the deadly illness which has taken over 420 lives. The origin city of Wuhan has been in lockdown, while countries around the world have flown their nationals home. 

The situation is a bleak one for China but this outbreak could have some silver linings when it is all said and done. CEO of deVere Group, Nigel Green tried to grasp at a slight positive, claiming that the Coronavirus had increased Bitcoin price due to it being a safe haven asset. He said:

“The ongoing upward trajectory of the price of Bitcoin correlates to the spread of the coronavirus.

“The more individual cases that are identified, the more countries around the world that are affected, and the greater the impact on traditional financial markets, the higher the price of Bitcoin has jumped.”

Since these comments, many in the industry have rightly shot down Green’s somewhat heartless and inaccurate response. But, he is not wrong in looking for some solace in these dark times. One positive outcome is the effect of the Coronavirus on promoting innovation and development in the technology industry. 

Can the Coronavirus promote development and innovation?

This theory of a virus promoting development is illustrated in the outcome of the SARs breakout in 2003. The eCommerce sector received a huge boost as shoppers were unwilling to go out and as a result, the online retail market grew at a rapid rate. Duncan Clark, who wrote a book on internet shopping giants, Alibaba, sees SARs and as a huge factor in the company’s success.

The current benefits of this technological shift are seen to this day. The e-commerce industry is contributing to aiding a difficult time now. Face mask purchases are mostly done online, which allows ease of use and lessens chances of infection.

It is not just e-commerce where modern technology has helped. Cloud computing advancements mean school and work can be done online too, meaning the whole public life and economy are not completely stuck.

Around 17 years later, the technology industry is once again innovating and adapting, this time to help the authorities. According to Jinse, a company in Shenzhen created the “Vehicle Epidemic Prevention Verification System”, which allows traffic police to track vehicles from epidemic areas. It was created in just 48 hours. This rapid development and innovation are clearly helping save lives.

Blockchain technology has many benefits at this time too. The technology can allow data to be connected through the blockchain and allow connection between departments. Nansha District in Guangzhou has seen the power of blockchain through its, ‘Epidemic Prevention and Control Collaboration System’. Blockchain brings together epidemic prevention documents onto a platform and allows ease of sharing between departments. The technology was released this week and should aid the fight, with other provinces having similar measures. Suizhou City in Hubei Province now has a similar platform for sharing epidemic information. 

China clearly needs help to tackle this crisis, and blockchain and the technological world is already being shown to be a great tool. Tough times often bring the best out of us and technological innovation should be no different. Let’s hope we see more work from the tech sector to improve the lives of others. Blockchain and the tech world is a great weapon in combatting the world’s ills.