Thursday 25 June 2020 5:31 pm

Crypto AM’s community play their part in the war against COVID-19

Ever since the Crypto AM Awards 2020 on the 11th March and the subsequent lockdown enforcement, it was clear that the new normal required new and lateral thinking with the government’s clarion call for support in the war against the coronavirus COVID-19.  Now, months later, I reached out to Crypto AM’s global community to hear about different ways members were playing their part.  As regular readers know I spent my lockdown at home on the Isle of Dogs kept the articles coming and launched my own micro campaign with BABB to raise funds for the elderly and vulnerable which concluded at the target of £4,000.  It was very encouraging to hear of the great projects below.

Price Watch

It’s starting to feel that the Bitcoin (BTC) US$10,000 resistance level will remain unbreached for the near future unless some seismically positive news breaks which means that in my opinion there is a risk of further retreat to lower levels.  At the time of writing, BTC is trading at US$9,198.64  / GB£7,402.74 ; Ethereum (ETH) is at US$232.53 / GB£187.25; Ripple (XRP) is at US$0.1817 / GB£0.1462; Binance (BNB) is at US$15.93 / GB£12.81 and Cardano (ADA) is at US$0.08156 / GB£0.06574.  Overall Market Cap is at US$261.41bn  / GB£210.41bn (data source: www.CryptoCompare.com)

City AM’s Crypto Insider

Over the last week City AM have been extensively reporting on the developing situation with Wirecard AG with a €2.1m cash hole in its accounts.  Today it has emerged that the company has filed for insolvency.  But what of the various fintech platforms issuing their cards? UK clients appear to be safe as Wirecard Solutions is ring fenced with an independent (from Wirecard AG) board and regulated by the FCA – watch this space for an acquisition methinks!

Meanwhile Kris Marszalek, CEO of Crytpo.com tweeted “Wirecard AG filed for insolvency in Germany today. To all our card customers: your fiat funds are safe and guaranteed by Crypto.com — in case any of the services provided by Wirecard are disrupted, you will receive a fast 100% credit back to your crypto wallet. It is not clear at this stage which of the subsidiaries are going to be affected and if any of the services will be interrupted at all.  We will keep everyone up to date as this develops, but I want to make it clear for all our SG and EU card customers that their funds are safe.”

Great news from Crypto AM featured Tokeny Solutions with whom the government of Monaco has formalized a Memorandum of Understanding as its technology provider to support the issuance of tokenized financial instruments.  The Luxembourg-based fintech, that is currently setting up a subsidiary in Monaco, and its range of blockchain-based solutions, will allow the Principality to apply control and compliance to the Ethereum blockchain. The initiative will support Monaco with its upcoming regulatory framework to become the world’s first state utilizing the benefits of decentralized finance (DeFi). Monaco’s aim is to become a Funding Nation for progress, a global market where quality projects are developed and financed.

Last week I mentioned that WhatsApp had launched its payments trial in Brazil on the platform which seemed like a major breakthrough and given the serious COVID-19 outbreak in Brazil potentially very sensible.  It was therefore surprising and puzzling to see, as reported by Bloomberg, that Brazil’s Central Bank has put a stop on it for evaluation and said the suspension will let it evaluate any possible risk to the country’s system of payments and to determine whether the payments system meets the necessary rules. Starting the service without the regulator’s green light could generate “irreparable damage to the system, especially what concerns competition, efficiency and data privacy,” the banks said, adding that Mastercard and Visa could face fines if they don’t comply.

Crypto AM Community and COVID-19

In this special extended version it has been amazing for me to find out more from the Crypto AM community about their efforts:-

BLOK Bioscience

As I mentioned in my introduction the Crypto AM Community have been playing their part and you might have read the Crypto AM article  The Building Blocks of Recovery with Areiel Wolanow CTO of BLOK Bioscience discussing their My Immunity Passport project that is due to go live in Brazil.  I was delighted to offer to take part in the BETA test for its Rapid Site.  My tests arrived and this morning I followed the very easy to follow instructions to conduct the home test along with my partner. 

In less than half an hour I was able to test my partner (negative) and me twice as I tested positive for the IgG Antibody which means at some point I have been exposed to COVID-19 but thankfully never presented with symptoms.  It goes to show that this peace of mind can be available to people quickly and I urge our own government to get behind companies like BLOK Bioscience!

World Mobile Chain & Virustatic Shield

Micky Watkins, CEO of World Mobile Chain, quarantined with his young family near Barcelona was determined to help in any way he could.  He has been working closely with Virustatic Limited who produce the Virustatic Shield, a fabric snood-like face covering which features a protective protein called Viruferrin™ that has been developed and tested by experts for more than a decade. Viruferrin™ has been scientifically proven to block 98 per cent of similar viruses to Covid-19, including influenza and Sars.  Recently it has been found to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 in laboratory tests conducted by independent scientists from VisMederi at the University of Siena. It creates a protective shield over human cells in the respiratory tract preventing the virus entering. In hosts that are already infected, it will stop the virus from multiplying.  The discovery paves the way for new ways that Viruferrin™ could be used in the treatment of Covid-19 and preventing its spread.

The face coverings are cut and sewn together by Cookson & Clegg in Blackburn, which is run by Patrick Grant, star of the Great British Sewing Bee and can be worn for up to 50 hours before they need washing, and their effectiveness only drops to 96 per cent after over 200 hours of wear. 

As reported in Crypto AM, World Mobile are rolling out a hybrid mesh network in Tanzania and World Mobile are donating thousands of the Virustatic Shields to Tanzanian citizens in an effort to stave off the risks of a second wave.  Additionally all World Mobile staff there will be equipped with the face coverings to assure the continued rollout of the network.

Binance.Charity

The charitable arm of Binance.com launched the hashtag #CryptoAgainstCOVID campaign several months ago and has been collecting donations worldwide and regularly updates on how those donations have been used to help support health workers in the fight against COVID-19. The table below shows how circa one million items of PPE have already been delivered.

Minfo

While recovering from a mild case of COVID-19 in March, founder and CEO of Minfo Global, Roland Storti (see Crypto AM Industry Voices) saw a series of new use cases for their patented audio QR code solution to help reduce hygiene anxiety, and to mitigate the spread of not just COVID-19 but any disease that can be transmitted by surface contamination. He considered all of the things we touch on a daily basis and one by one, they are being integrated into Minfo’s processes to solve the problem. Starting with ordering food and making payments at restaurants also integrating with POS’s and providing an alternative to Tap and go to pay from a distance of up to 7m. Just recently they completed a POC with one of the major global elevator companies, soon to pilot buildings so you will be able to call and request a floor in any Minfo enabled buildings to control the elevator from their free App.

You may ask how this applies to DLT?  Minfo has a provision patent for a digital asset and a different approach on Data and will be using a blockchain to track and record all touchpoints/engagements, with the users permission. Moreover, engagements with Minfo enabled TV, video, digital sign boards (OOH), public spaces and much more are possible. In the very near future you will be able to get more info or control devices by having the buttons on your phone on anything of interest.

Roland and his team are actively looking to partner with companies that want to make their processes more touchless and help reduce the spread of germs transforming Offline to Online.

For More Information www.minfo.com or partner@minfo.com 

Digital Covid19 Passport for Care Homes

Enduring Net, a Manchester based charity which uses technology for humanitarian good, has won an Innovate UK grant to help protect care homes from Covid19 based on the blockchain based privacy preserving self-sovereign identity framework, (SSI) combined with biometrics.

The tech-based collaboration led by Blockpool’s Ken Foster and Enduring Net tech Advisor, Zeljko Milinovic, will be using the funding to create a digital passport for residents, staff and visitors which could potentially be used at the UK’s 11,000 care homes. The encrypted passport will be stored securely on smart devices and will confirm identity, record Covid status and health pre-conditions. The solution is accessible by using existing identification such as QR codes or a smart device but primarily using biometrics, or vein ID, making the whole process even more innovative and accessible to non tech-enabled users.

This will mean care homes can make informed decisions about visitors, social distancing and isolation for those who need it, and making sure support services to care homes such as deliveries and catering follow the latest public health guidelines. This project is in collaboration with Blockpool, Sthaler-Fingopay, Age Agile Alliance, Trinsic (previously StreetCred), Sovrin and CCI. https://enduringnet.org/

SingularityNET

I caught up with my old friend Dr Ben Goertzel to see what SingularityNET are doing to help the fight against Covid-19. As it turns out, quite a lot.  The SingularityNET in-house AI team is applying their neural-symbolic AI tools to help groups running COVID-19 clinical trials; their AI looks at patients’ genomic data and figures out which combination of therapeutics will work best for that patient.  They are also using AI-driven agent based simulation models to predict the impact of various policies on COVID-19 spread, and last month ran a whole conference on COVID-19 simulations (COVID-19 Simulation Summit).

SingularityNET has also been pulling their developer community into the initiative so together with Ocean Protocol, they have organized Covidathon, a two month long hackathon to find blockchain/AI solutions to the pandemic. The hackathon, which announced its winners on Tuesday this week, attracted 1188 participants from over 25 countries and a total of 1300 people involved including volunteers, mentors and judges (including Vitalik Buterin).

Here are the 4 winners (and it’s worth noting that 2 of the top 3 winning teams are all-female teams — highlighting the fact that some of the best young minds in AI are now women)

The Sentinel AI: A Blockchain-based Decentralized AI ecosystem allowing any Machine Learning model to learn from local user data in a privacy-preserving manner, rewarding devices that help improve the accuracy of the global model.

FACO – Fight Against Corona: A contactless digital healthcare solution to assist doctors and empower patients to diagnose and manage diseases

The Decentralized Pandemic Reserve (DPR) aims to create an autonomous supply chain consortium that matches individual and manufacturer resources with the areas most in need.

The Digital Volunteer which automates mobilization of community, solidarity, and collaboration using non-smartphones to raise a task in this web app in realtime.

Walkinshaw Automotive Group

Ryan Walkinshaw is an important participant in the Crypto AM Community as an active trader who formed the WhatsApp Group Crypto Buzzers.  However, it’s through his ‘day job’ running Walkinshaw Automotive Group that he joined the fight against COVID-19. With sporting events cancelled around the world, he joined forces with his biggest rival Premcar to engineer and manufacture a Constant Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine for Australian patients (see main image above).

After competing head-to-head in the performance vehicle market for 25-years, the coming together was a significant show of unity combining their engineering expertise and production capabilities to assist in a time of need, working quietly in the background to become an approved supplier by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and registering several approved items with the TGA.

There were four key working objectives when the project started:

  • To promote effective solutions for frontline workers, patients, and families to combat the spread and implications of the outbreak.
     
  • To manufacture an approved item that can be used now and into the future
     
  • To not choke supply chains by procuring raw materials away from those who have existing tooling for products required in the healthcare industry.
     
  • To help provide solutions that have little or no impact to current suppliers and assist with re-purposing the Australian workforce to build the foundations for economic recovery of the nation.

The UCL-Ventura CPAP machine is manufactured in Australia by Premcar and Walkinshaw Automotive Group, under license from University College London and Mercedes AMG High Performance Powertrains Ltd, who designed the product.

The newly designed CPAP machine also has advancements on the delivery to the patient. Officials and scientists have known for years that when used with a face mask, such devices can possibly increase the spread of infectious disease by aerosolizing the virus, whether used in the hospital or at home. Correcting this common issue by adding a filtered exhaust to the mask can help prevent the spread of the virus and protect healthcare workers around the machine.  The UCL-Ventura can be manufactured, tested, and distributed at a rate of 1,000 units per month. It can assist with the current COVID-19 situation, but also be used in the future.  To add to this, the CPAP device is only one of the items being created, with one of the TGA certified face shield designs able to be manufactured at a rate of 100,000 per week, repurposing some of the existing production tools across the two businesses.

Interrupting his first dinner out with his girlfriend since restrictions were lifted in Australia, Ryan said “Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, we as a business have been looking at the ways in which we could assist. The need for a quality CPAP machine in Australia was quickly identified, one that not only assists the patient, but protects the amazing health care workers, who are already facing enough risk as it stands. However, it was essential for us to take our time, to ensure that a TGA-approved product was manufactured, and would be used in hospitals around the country.  It’s been fantastic to work alongside Premcar. A few months ago, you’d never consider working with your biggest rival on a project, but one of the real positives that has come out of this tragedy is the unity between everyone, both locally and globally, to help in any way they can.  As automotive companies, turning our joint design, engineering, and production capabilities to assist the pandemic has been an extremely rewarding programme, and one that didn’t require too much thought. The engineers and production staff from both organisations have done an incredible job.”

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