Austria is Developing Three Blockchain Based COVID-19 Apps
Austria is getting some high tech aid in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The government awarded a project to a private firm to produce three COVID-related applications that will be created on a secure blockchain platform.
Austria’s Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs declared on June 17, 2020, that it had awarded a €60,000 grant to QualiSig to develop the three applications. The apps will be utilized to address COVID-related issues like fake news, fraud prevention, and health data.
The QualiSig apps will be built by Danube University Krems researchers Thomas Wernbacher and Alexander Pfeiffer, with the guidance and consultancy of Swiss company Jelurida. It will utilize Jelurida’s Ardor blockchain using its Ignis tokenizing system. The team will also associate with Austria’s A-Trust, which manages the nation’s citizen identity system.
The app won’t probably be accessible until eight months from now. Although a lengthier development time is not fundamentally a bad thing as earlier released apps that were rushed in production experienced several problems on adoption, user privacy, and even bugs.
One such application is the Red Cros-backed Stopp Corona app, which did not reach widespread adoption. Only 400,000 people downloaded the app as most Austrians did not like the idea, according to QualiSig’s Alexander Pfeiffer.
“Austrians disliked the Stopp Corona app, which appeared quite quickly, and they didn’t install it,” Pfeiffer explained. “One of the first problems was that it was not open source, so we did not know the code behind it. We introduced the [QualiSig] project to gain the trust of Austrian citizens and give them some sense of agency that they can be part of this process.”
One of the apps to be produced by QualiSig allows users to confirm the identity of door-to-door testers for COVID-19, which is directed at restricting the public become victims of fraud by unauthorized parties.
A testing agent requires to present a QR code that can be scanned utilizing a mobile phone. It will then lead to a verification page, which will show if the code is legit. It will also explain the details of what the testing agent is deemed to do during the testing process.
“This system has to go hand-in-hand with marketing and information to citizens,” Pfeiffer stated. “Besides COVID-19, I think it’s a use case that has the most potential to be actually rolled out to many different areas, any time a stranger knocks on the door and wants to ask you something.”
The second app to be generated by QualiSig aims to stop the spread of coronavirus-related fake news. The last app will connect a citizen’s latest COVID-19 test result to his digital citizenship record, enabling him to take a flight.