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Blockchain technologies to mitigate COVID-19 challenges: A scoping review

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submitted on 2024-05-02, 14:28 and posted on 2024-05-02, 14:28 authored by Alaa A. Abd-alrazaq, Mohannad Alajlani, Dari Alhuwail, Aiman Erbad, Anna Giannicchi, Zubair Shah, Mounir Hamdi, Mowafa Househ

Background

As public health strategists and policymakers explore different approaches to lessen the devastating effects of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), blockchain technology has emerged as a resource that can be utilized in numerous ways. Many blockchain technologies have been proposed or implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic; however, to the best of our knowledge, no comprehensive reviews have been conducted to uncover and summarise the main feature of these technologies.


Objective

This study aims to explore proposed or implemented blockchain technologies used to mitigate the COVID-19 challenges as reported in the literature.


Methods

We conducted a scoping review in line with guidelines of PRISMA Extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR). To identify relevant studies, we searched 11 bibliographic databases (e.g., EMBASE and MEDLINE) and conducted backward and forward reference list checking of the included studies and relevant reviews. The study selection and data extraction were conducted by 2 reviewers independently. Data extracted from the included studies was narratively summarised and described.


Results

19 of 225 retrieved studies met eligibility criteria in this review. The included studies reported 10 used cases of blockchain to mitigate COVID-19 challenges; the most prominent use cases were contact tracing and immunity passports. While the blockchain technology was developed in 10 studies, its use was proposed in the remaining 9 studies. The public blockchain technology was the most commonly utilized type in the included studies. All together, 8 different consensus mechanisms were used in the included studies. Out of 10 studies that identified the used platform, 9 studies used Ethereum to run the blockchain. Solidity was the most prominent programming language used in developing blockchain technology in the included studies. The transaction cost was reported in only 4 of the included studies and varied between USD 10−10 and USD 5. The expected latency and expected scalability were not identified in the included studies.


Conclusion

Blockchain technologies are expected to play an integral role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Many possible applications of blockchain were found in this review; however, most of them are not mature enough to reveal their expected impact in the fight against COVID-19.


We encourage governments, health authorities, and policymakers to consider all blockchain applications suggested in the current review to combat COVID-19 challenges. There is a pressing need to empirically examine how effective blockchain technologies are in mitigating COVID-19 challenges. Further studies are required to assess the performance of blockchain technologies’ fight against COVID-19 in terms of transaction cost, scalability, and/or latency when using different consensus algorithms, platforms, and access types.

Other Information

Published in: Computer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine Update
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
See article on publisher's website: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cmpbup.2020.100001

History

Language

  • English

Publisher

Elsevier

Publication Year

  • 2021

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Science and Engineering - HBKU

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