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Blockchain Newsletter for December: Building the COVID-19 vaccine supply chain

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This time of year brings holiday treats, a global sigh of relief that 2020 is almost over, and a spate of predictions for 2021. Martha Bennett, IT industry analyst at Forrester Research, predicts that 30 percent of blockchain pilot projects will make it into production. IBM Blockchain general manager Alistair Rennie confirms that the 30 percent is a rate consistent with what IBM is seeing with clients.

Forrester also says almost all pilot-to-production projects will run on permissioned enterprise platforms that utilize cloud, and IBM Blockchain Platform will be one of the most widely used in 2021. Maturing technology, more realistic projects and pandemic-induced acceleration are behind the growth in production blockchain.

Learn how industries are revolutionizing business with IBM Blockchain

Will your blockchain idea make it into the world in 2021?

Blockchain in the news

COVID-19 vaccines need a groundbreaking supply chain

With two COVID-19 vaccine trials successfully completed and more in the works, attention is turning to the challenges of distributing billions of doses worldwide. As IBM Blockchain Services general manager Jason Kelley explains, it’s more than just the unprecedented scale of the effort. There is the logistical challenge of temperature control throughout a complex supply chain and monitoring to ensure that vaccines are kept cold — as much as 70 degrees below zero. Failure to do so can render the vaccine ineffective.

This is complicated by the unique “last mile” challenges of distributing vaccines to a wide variety of administration points, ranging from public facilities to hospitals, clinics, retail pharmacies and doctors’ offices. We know that building trusted vaccine supply chains at scale is possible with technologies like hybrid cloud, IoT, AI and blockchain. The World Economic Forum agrees that using blockchain to monitor doses in transit is key to public confidence in the vaccine. IBM, Merck, Walmart and KPMG have already demonstrated using blockchain for end-to-end pharmaceutical product traceability, and IBM is also bringing deep expertise to establish a vendor-neutral blockchain platform for pharmaceutical manufacturers and carriers.

Tracking the vaccine isn’t the only way blockchain can be employed in battling COVID-19. Mark Treshock, IBM’s blockchain solutions leader for healthcare and life sciences, notes that coordinating supply with time-sensitive second doses of the vaccine will be one key application. Another will be solutions like IBM Digital Health Pass that individuals can use to prove they’ve been vaccinated and can safely travel or return to work. Until the vaccines can provide widespread protection, IBM Digital Health Pass and other digital health passports are documenting COVID-19 test status to satisfy business, venue and airline screening requirements.

What else we’re reading

Blockchain patent action soars
A recent study finds that more blockchain-related patent applications were published in the first half of 2020 than in all of 2019. IBM is the top applicant for US blockchain patent applications, with Alibaba rising fast, while Bank of America holds the most patents. The US patent office awarded IBM a new blockchain patent in November for a “Gaming consensus protocol for blockchain” aimed at massively multiplayer online (MMO) games.

New blockchain projects advance financial services adoption globally
Australia and Singapore launched a trial of “paperless trade” using blockchain to simplify doing business across their borders, while the central banks of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) trialed a digital currency pilot to improve cross-border trade. In South America, the Colombian Stock Exchange will use the Consorcio Calibrí blockchain tech to streamline clearing and settlement in the OTC derivatives market.

FinHub stands alone
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced that its Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology, known as FinHub, will become a standalone office. The move signals the increasing importance of encouraging blockchain and digital assets in the securities space.

Youthful blockchain entrepreneurs get noticed
Alongside the new record high for bitcoin came the announcement that the 2020 Forbes 30 Under 30 list of business leaders features eleven bitcoin and blockchain entrepreneurs. Seven are in finance, two in energy, one in venture capital and one in manufacturing.

December’s features of “watch, read and listen”

Webinars: The 2020 Blockchain Pulse must-watch list

Looking for something to watch over the holidays? Catch up on all the great webinars we’ve produced this year, featuring business and technical leaders discussing blockchain’s impact on enterprises, industries and the world.

Videos: Translating blockchain innovation into original artwork
All BlockpARTy episode are now streaming on demand for a limited time. Celebrate blockchain’s transformation of consumer confidence, food safety and more.

Solution brief: The Learning Credential Network
Blockchain is helping to bring skills into the hiring process. Learn how this network connects learners, employers and education providers across industries and countries.

Blog: A use case for invoice reconciliation and dispute resolution
Blockchain is all about taking the friction out of business relationships. Learn how two companies, The Home Depot and Syniverse, are using IBM Blockchain Platform to resolve disputes and automate business processes.

Podcast: Helping venues reopen safely with digital ticketing
IBM Blockchain Pulse talks to Matt Zarracina and Ken Lesnik, the founders of the blockchain-based True Tickets digital ticketing service, about how COVID-19 has made their business even more relevant.

Our solutions and how to get started

No matter where you are in your adoption journey or what industry you’re in, we’re here to help you use blockchain technology to reach your business goals.

Still not sure where to start? Schedule time to talk with one of our experts specific to your industry, and they can help guide you in the right direction.

Happy holidays, and thank you for reading our December edition of “Blockchain News You Can Use.” We’ll be back in 2021 with more. In the meantime, if someone forwarded you this email and you’d like to subscribe, sign up here.

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