The Algorand blockchain has created a real-time COVID-19 symptom tracker, citing concerns over the lack of such data collection regarding the virus. The anonymous data collection exercise is the first such use of blockchain technology and hopes to help inform individuals and prospective studies on the spread of infectious diseases, with all data being publicly available for all time on the Algorand blockchain.
We have created a worldwide, open data repository, for people to share their #COVID19 status (even if they don’t have symptoms). Fill out the short survey and help spread the word: https://t.co/RRhSOp9nSe#IReportCovid @Algorand #blockchain pic.twitter.com/orxCpIKhSC
— Algorand Foundation (@AlgoFoundation) March 26, 2020
Free and Permanent Access to Data
Algorand, who earlier this month announced that the Marshall Islands sovereign cryptocurrency will be operated on their platform, announced their scheme late last week, leveraging the openness and immutability of the blockchain to anonymously record symptoms (or lack of them) from users worldwide, citing the problems with the “limited data coming directly from individuals in the community”:
Filling this survey can teach us about how COVID-19 is affecting people in real time, which can help inform the public and studies on the pandemic now and into the future. Responses will be publicly posted on the Algorand blockchain to guarantee free and permanent access to anyone.
The app does not collect any identifying information, and the results are appended to a transaction on the Algorand blockchain, ensuring that they are available for anyone to use at a later date. Once Algorand has enough data they will “start publishing aggregate statistics” and will “introduce tools for the community to build applications using the collected data.”
One Minute Survey
The survey itself is a series of around 10 questions that ask about an individuals’ health, and testing and isolation status, with a link provided to the transaction on the Algorand blockchain containing the data afterwards, in the following format:
It’s fair to say that no one will be identifying you from that garbled mass of letters and numbers. The survey takes all of one minute and, if it can potentially help combat such outbreaks in the future, then it’s a minute that is certainly worth spending – especially if you have thousands to kill while you’re in isolation.
You can read more about the survey and take it here.