What The Coronavirus Crisis Has Shown Us About Blockchain

We’re currently six months into a crisis that has swept the globe. Millions of people have lost their livelihoods due to the economic crash brought about by this pandemic, and everybody is trying to figure out what could be next for these newly unemployed professionals.


Although most of the world is mired in a state of unprecedented debt and unemployment, there remains a beacon shining above it all–a rapidly growing and innovating industry where the crisis doesn’t seem to have taken a foothold. This unexpected winner?


Blockchain.


Soaring through a plummeting economy


As reported by Forbes, March 2020 saw job postings for blockchain- and crypto-related roles increase by 8.73%. This growth is much more evident for remote-only blockchain roles, where the postings increased by a remarkable 42.86%.


These numbers aren’t just coming from blockchain and crypto startups. Bigger players from the tech and finance industries–companies like IBM, Deloitte, Facebook, and EY–have also been ramping up their hiring spree for blockchain-focused roles.


How can the blockchain space manage to expand during this period? Why is there an increasing demand for blockchain jobs now, of all times? Is blockchain truly a crisis-resistant industry?


It all boils down to two things:

  • The pandemic’s impact on traditional, centralized systems.

  • Bitcoin’s recent halving

Blockchain during COVID and beyond


Blockchain technology has far more applications beyond cryptocurrencies. And as we’re seeing in the healthcare, supply chain, and education spaces, some of these applications have the potential to help in the fight against the virus.


One key example would be the various “handshake” apps that help users track the people they’ve come in contact with, and alert them should any of those people test positive for COVID-19. As one would expect, though, there are a ton of data-privacy problems that could arise out of it. To address this, developers turned to blockchain technology’s decentralized nature to ensure greater data privacy management and prevent fraudulent access to that data.


Global supply chains, which have virtually ground to a halt, require more transparency, traceability, and efficiency than ever before. If we are to hasten economic recovery, companies must be able to hammer out deals with suppliers in a timely manner, and with trust. Luckily, some of the qualities unique to blockchain–improved transparency, verifiable provenance, near-instantaneous contract executions–make it perfectly capable of taking this on.


With the pandemic shutting down most of the world, people have been left with limited options for productivity and self-growth. Thus, a number of educational institutions have shifted focus to e-learning. This, however, presents a pretty big attack surface for fraudulent behavior. By integrating blockchain technology–say, to the examination, certification, and verification processes–opportunities for fraud can be significantly reduced


The beauty in this is that these “alternative means” of doing things no longer have to remain as alternatives. With the right systems in place, blockchain will be able to improve how we conduct our business, and these use cases could extend far beyond COVID-19.


Bitcoin’s (un)timely Halvening


May 11th, 2020 marked the third Bitcoin halving in history. These pre-programmed events result in the rewards issued to Bitcoin miners cut in half.


This time, though, is unlike the previous two. First, the previous halvings occurred before the coin’s early-adoption stage. Second, and more notably, this halving took place during one of the darkest financial periods in modern history.


The chart above shows the supply of the US dollar from 2000 to 2010. What is happening right now–with the $2.3-trillion and $3-trillion stimulus packages–is eerily reminiscent of that sharp spike in the graph, which represents the global financial crisis of 2008.


This pandemic has brought to light the monetary supply of Bitcoin in contrast to that of other currencies–against the backdrop of governments printing trillions in cash virtually unchecked, Bitcoin’s supply pool is being reduced.


Additionally, the fact that Bitcoin has reached another halving event, and that its post-halving price and hashrate have remained relatively stable amidst the crisis are signs of maturity for Bitcoin. These factors could lead to greater trust in the technology, and thus, may spur wider adoption.


An abundance of jobs and professionals


While unfortunate, we cannot deny that the pandemic (and, to some degree, its unexpected correlation with the halving) has produced a possible silver lining for blockchain–bringing widespread adoption within reach.


With a big surplus of vacant blockchain-focused jobs, and an even bigger supply of unemployed professionals, the task-at-hand is now matching some of these individuals to available roles.


In an interview with Forbes, Jesse Powell, CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, has some advice for would-be blockchain professionals: “If you don’t have any experience in the industry, that is one thing to get yourself up to speed on.” He suggests prospective applicants come into an interview with some knowledge and interest of the business and the industry. “Start reading as much as you can. We often will ask people questions in the interview process, just general crypto questions, to see if they have a basic understanding or are actually interested in the industry.”


With a little luck, and of course,proper training, this may be able to push ourselves into a decentralized future sooner than expected.



Practical Blockchain Fundamentals

In this course, you will learn how blockchains work and why they are so revolutionary, what each of the different blockchain platforms does and doesn’t do, and how to identify use cases in which blockchain can be used to build an application.

The training includes videos, case studies, practical exercises, and a certification exam that will test your skills along the way so you’re ready to hit the ground running.

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