Blockchain capabilities for Disaster Risk Reduction

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In a typical year, there are hundreds of natural disasters with 12,000+ deaths. Pandemics now dwarf that figure with global mortality now exceeding 1.22 (Nov. 5, 2020) million. Blockchain technology, developed and proven over the last decade, offers unique capabilities to support rapid response to natural disasters, whether the incidence is a flood or threat of contagious disease. Timelines and reach of response are always determinative in limiting negative impact. Blockchain offers a common widely accessible platform for transaction recording, immutable records, identity validation, permissioned data access, monetization, and trustful access to critical data across information systems and geographies. With these capabilities, blockchain can directly address critical challenges of disaster response such as coordination, rebuilding trust, or maintaining safety. All types of organizations are involved. Regarding NGOs, for example, blockchain may support the registration of volunteers, rewards to volunteers and other contributors, demand identification, and tracking the delivery of supplies, such as vaccines and food, and services in complex supply chains.

Blockchain can be considered a disruptive technology based on proven techniques. The application of blockchain goes far beyond the initial application to Bitcoin transactions and other cryptocurrencies. Indeed, blockchain has begun to transform many business sectors and practices. From supply chain to marketing, organizations benefit from taking this technology into account. Blockchain should be viewed as a complement to other disruptive technologies. Along with AI and IoT, for example, blockchain will generate synergies that transform business ecosystems in unanticipated ways.

Currently, the world faces an unprecedented health challenge. The covid_19 outbreak may destabilize the basic viability of individual lives and livelihoods. For example, dining at restaurants has been replaced in a significant part by take-out business and food delivery services. Sectors like tourism and energy production have been profoundly impacted. Videoconferencing and online courses have become essential vehicles for education.

In this turbulent environment, blockchain will create both opportunities and challenges for disaster preparedness and recovery functions, services that will become increasingly essential given the expected impact of climate change, and threats to global health.

The proposed Research Topic aims to draw up expertise in risk management and other disciplines to connect blockchain capabilities to managing preparation and response to disaster challenges, especially those having a real and potential impact on COVID-19. How can the blockchain and related disruptive technologies enable resilience to mitigate the disruptive impact of pandemics and other natural disasters? We encourage papers that define theoretical frameworks to guide the application and evaluation of blockchain technologies to mitigation, preparation, response, and recovery for disaster events. We also seek articles that provide real-world case studies on uses of blockchain techniques that either directly address COVID-19 and related challenges or case studies that illustrate how blockchain applications can address these issues. For example, blockchain applications to patient-centered healthcare and interoperable health data may provide a foundation for COVID-19 data tracking and service delivery efficiencies. After COVID-19 there will be a new normal. This article collection aims to define the potential role of blockchain in a world where there are new standards and mechanisms for preparation and rapid response to disasters that threaten human well-being.

The themes of interest for this Research Topic are the non-exhaustive following list:

  • Blockchain for supply chain and logistics leading to resilient infrastructure
  • Preventing cyber risks and their cascading impacts with blockchain
  • Implementing blockchain inside a Business Models to face a crisis
  • Crisis management and blockchain
  • Supply chain for vaccines and other critical materiel and services
  • Identity tracking
  • Blockchain tracking for communication and behavior
  • NGO coordination with blockchain
  • War, guerrilla, counter-insurgency, and blockchain
  • Blockchain as a destabilizing tech
  • Applied case studies
  • Acceptance and adoption of blockchain in a turbulent context
  • Smart contract and uncertainty
  • Perceived trust in blockchain
  • Perceived security issues in blockchain
  • ICOs, STOs as a new way to fund a company in hard times
  • Blockchain as a disruptive innovation tech
  • Using blockchain to reassure people
  • Artificial Intelligence and blockchain for organizations

Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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