International Business Machines : A Cryptocurrency Technology Finds New Use Tackling Coronavirus –

By Sara Castellanos

Blockchain technology projects are being developed by companies such as International Business Machines Corp. and Ernst & Young LLC to help with various aspects of the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus.

Employees developing the projects say blockchain could be an efficient way of connecting health-care providers in need of medical equipment with global suppliers they might not otherwise find on their own. The technology could also help validate a person’s immunity to Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, data that authorities could use to better understand and respond to the pandemic.

However, the projects could run into challenges if the data that goes on the blockchain is inaccurate and difficult to verify, an analyst at Gartner Inc. said.

“This whole platform is really about speed,” said Mark Treshock, IBM’s global blockchain solutions leader for health care and life sciences.

Mr. Treshock oversees Rapid Supplier Connect, a blockchain project announced Thursday that aims to help connect health-care providers with trusted, nontraditional suppliers of medical equipment, such as apparel companies that are making masks.

It typically takes about four to six weeks for buyers to vet and onboard new vendors or suppliers after they find each other, he said. The blockchain could help “dramatically” bring that time down for health-care providers in