On Campus: Fighting COVID-19 With Blockchain at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business

This article was first published on Insights – Ripple

For Duke University Fuqua School of Business Professor Campbell Harvey, the classroom is a place to envision the future. By helping students forecast the future, including where technology will both foster growth and fade from relevance, he aims to help them make better career decisions as well as positively impact the world.

As part of that mission, his well-known course on blockchain has been wildly successful. Since launching in 2014, it has grown in popularity as an interdisciplinary look at the technology, involving a mix of as many as 200 graduate and undergraduate students from the University’s legal, business, engineering and computer science schools. 

Blockchain Caucusing 
This last semester provided his class with an opportunity to study a potential application of blockchain in real time. The day after the Iowa Democratic Party’s debacle in Iowa Caucus voting, the class pivoted to examine the reasons for the delay and then explore how blockchain could be used to improve future caucuses. 

The class devised a system by which caucus leaders were allocated by the central headquarters a certain quantity of tokens representing the number of delegates they control. They could then vote by sending tokens to each candidate’s address (Buttigieg, Warren, Sanders, Biden, etc.) where each token represented a committed delegate. 

It proved instantaneous, easy to track, completely transparent, and even allowed for mistakes to quickly be corrected by sending back the coins to Caucus leaders and having them resend to the candidate addresses. The exercise helped his students learn about real world applications for both blockchain and smart contracts.  

Fighting COVID-19 Using Blockchain 
Professor Harvey believes that blockchain also has immediate application in the fight against COVID-19. Specifically, as a tool for the effective tracking of coronavirus testing, vaccine production, and supply chain improvement. 


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