Blockchain development

Recognizing the winners of our Back to Work COVID contest

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office collaborationWe at IBM have always believed that some of the most exciting innovations and advancements are happening outside of the major technology companies, a belief embodied in IBM initiatives like Call for Code. As economies and organizations around the world found themselves emerging from lockdowns and beginning to reopen, not only were we asking ourselves how blockchain might play a role in the global recovery, but we also wondered what sorts of promising ideas were being pursued by organizations outside of our own.

With that in mind, IBM Blockchain is pleased to announce the Grand Prize winners in our IBM Blockchain Platform contest recognizing the best ideas submitted for blockchain technology use to help with Back to Work or COVID-related challenges.

Learn how innovative companies and individuals use blockchain for social good

The tools for innovation

Each winner will receive six months access to IBM Blockchain Platform and CodeReady workspaces running on a Red Hat OpenShift cluster on IBM Cloud. This award is to help support their ideas on how blockchain technology can be applied to solve real world problems. After reviewing the many submissions. IBM decided to give out five awards to recognize these thought leaders and encourage their promising projects.

Jason Juliano, CEO of Aponia 

Jason’s project proposes using blockchain to help track charitable care services provided during the pandemic. so that hospitals can more reliably qualify for the charity care subsidies they provide. In New Jersey, for example, hospitals sustained a combined impact of nearly USD 1 billion of lost revenue and increased expenses as COVID-19 surged through the state.

While the state struggles toward economic recovery, New Jersey hospitals have increasingly relied on the charity care subsidy program which treats the uninsured citizens within the state. By creating an immutable record of the free services, they provide, hospitals can recover much-needed revenue for a sector that reliably provides hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Armondo Pantoija, Founder & Chad Kettering, Quant Index

Job disruptions caused by COVID-19 have highlighted the need for transparency and quality records to help accelerate and lower the cost of hiring employees. Armondo and Chad believe blockchain can reduce costs and lead to a fairer and more equitable hiring process.

Karen Kilroy, CEO of Kilroy Blockchain

Amidst the pandemic, Karen and her team began to look into contact tracing and found that in the US, that there was a lack of automation and standardization in how contact tracing was being done. Fax machines and paper systems that were getting overrun with data. Health department organizations need to connect to many 3rd party organizations and there was no online system to facilitate interaction from among members of theses trusted alliances. Karen’s idea was to use “Casey” a subscription-based software-as-a-service with blockchain, to allow contract tracking and more rapid mobilization of remote teams to track and combat COVID-19 outbreaks.

Zach Danker-Feldman, Blockchain Evangelist, Xooa

It should come as little surprise that the privacy protections and transparency afforded by blockchain-inspired projects related to contact tracing, and indeed, Zach’s proposal pursues this use case as well. There are a number of issues with current contact tracing but one of the factors is that the data is not recorded over time and it is not anonymized allowing for analytics on how the disease is transmitted. Zach’s project focuses on developing a modern contract tracking app enabling privacy, security and traceability.

Derek Tang, Pharmacist, Torrance Memorial Medical Center

The stability and reliability of COVID-19 diagnostic kits, drugs, and vaccines are threatened at each handoff in the supply chain. And even before the pandemic, the integrity of medical supplies was jeopardized by fraudulent producers and counterfeiters. Blockchain can help to ensure the provenance of the supply chain and the legitimacy of the suppliers themselves which in the end would result in better care for all those in need.

Create your own blockchain solutions

It is our hope that ideas like these and others submitted can help relieve the medical, economic and suffering that comes with the disruptions cause by a pandemic. The ability of blockchain data to be safe, reliable and dependable, can be a foundation of stability in times of chaos. We thank our winners for their submissions and plan to touch base with them in six months and we hope to update you on their progress.

For all those who entered the contest and did not win, and for others who are interested in advancing their blockchain solutions, we would like to help you to advance your progress as well. IBM Blockchain Platform is the commercial distribution of The Linux Foundation’s open source Hyperledger Fabric. Try IBM Blockchain Platform free for 30-day through the Red Hat Marketplace.

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Program Director, Blockchain Platform Marketing - IBM Industry Platform

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