ConsenSys Health, a healthcare-related spinoff of the distributed ledger blockchain solutions company ConsenSys, announced today the Stop COVID-19 Virtual Hackathon to start April 13 and run until May 11.
Sponsors for this hackathon include Gitcoin, Hyperledger, ConsenSys, One Million Developers and OpenMined, which will provide support by using blockchain and other emerging technologies to improve data access for researchers, healthcare experts and other professionals to fight the current coronavirus pandemic. According to Heather Leigh Flannery, founder and CEO of ConsenSys Health:
In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, our goal for this global competition is to bring together healthcare and life sciences domain experts with engineers from three open-source software communities: Ethereum, Hyperledger and OpenMined. Working together for the first time with a very specific toolset, this interdisciplinary group will rapidly create highly relevant solutions with the potential to have both immediate- and long-term positive impact.
The hackathon is hosted by Gitcoin, a platform for developers to collaborate and monetize their skills through open-source bounties. The prize money for the COVID-19 hackathon totals $20,000, including $10,000 for first place, $7,000 for second place and $3,000 for third.
During the pandemic, most people have been asked to avoid unnecessary social contact in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and its accompanying dangerous symptoms. As a result, the hackathon will be entirely virtual and all developers involved can participate remotely.
The hackathon participants will be able to join virtual Q&A-based virtual panels from their own homes and speak to mentors from academia, public and private sector healthcare and life sciences organizations. The hackathon’s organizers envision that close collaboration with experts on the front lines of collecting and analyzing data about the COVID-19 pandemic combined with the work of software engineers and industry mentors will ensure that solutions will meet the needs of healthcare professionals in the field. Brian Behlendorf, executive director at Hyperledger said:
To take on the challenges brought forth by COVID-19, it’s vital to marshal experts from across disciplines and markets. This Hackathon brings together the medical and scientific communities and elite developers with the singular goal of developing operational solutions, built on cutting-edge software, to mitigate damage and speed recovery from this pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has already spread to over 209 countries representing more than 1.3 million confirmed cases and is responsible for more than 73,000 deaths. Getting a handle on its spread and understanding its impact will require global efforts.
Blockchain technology, which uses widely distributed ledgers and cryptographic hashing technology to create a tamper-proof record of transactions, can be used to rapidly ingest and distribute trustworthy data between distant nodes. This capability has been put to use for medical and scientific research for years and now blockchain industry companies are turning their attention to the pandemic.
For example, a Canada-based blockchain firm Emerge modified its Civitas public-safety app in Latin America to assist with reducing crowds. Civitas works to ensure that people are aware when locations are too crowded to safely allow people to maintain distance and helps authorities, and retail market management, to orchestrate social distance, capacity and disinfection protocols in stores.
The Telos Foundation, which operates the EOS blockchain-based platform Telos, announced that it is releasing an anonymous COVID-19 test data tracking app in its ecosystem. The app will connect with Genobank.io, a maker of an anonymous DNA test kit, and provide access to the data to researchers while keeping test taker’s information private.
“We aim to contribute by sharing our experience in the fields of genomics, privacy laws and decentralized DNA data wallets to achieve the best privacy-preserving platform and an anonymous COVID-19 Test kit using the Telos Network,” said Genobank.io Chief Executive Daniel Uribe.
The hackathon started by ConsenSys Health will continue this trend of blockchain-related industry groups continuing to push the technology to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Developers can sign up for a virtual panel today with healthcare professionals and industry experts by visiting the Stop COVID-19 Hackathon on ConsenSys Health’s webpage.