Episode 241 - Contact Tracing: A Crypto Solution to the Pandemic?


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By Brent Philbin, Karim Baruque, and Adam "Roothlus" Levy - The Cryptocurrency news nerds, Brent Philbin, Karim Baruque, and Adam "Roothlus" Levy - The Cryptocurrency news nerds. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

Welcome to another episode of the Crypto Basic Podcast, where today we’ll be talking about -surprise surprise- the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s not a random commentary episode though, no general rambling, but a discussion on what we think might be a possible solution for the coronavirus crisis: Contact Tracing. Decentralized, blockchain based, anonymous and, as far as the data predicts, VERY effective. Tune in now to learn the ins and outs of it, and how it would revolutionize pandemic management.

Relevant Links

  • NCase.me Website that has the covid playable simulators
  • Source Code for DP-3T Labs
  • A website we've referenced on the show before - ncase.me.
  • This is a great website and it takes you step by step through the process of epidemiology. Why is the virus acting like it does, what ways could it act if things were different?
  • You can play with the simulations to see how even one little thing about the virus changes, and it brings everything into or out of balance.
  • After going on and on down the line, they come to this conclusion - the lockdown doesn't do anything but flatten, and then inevitably reset the curve. Testing doesn't solve the problem, and neither does herd immunity.
  • Enter contact tracing.
  • So what is google building with contact tracing?
  • Well Google isn't exactly building it, but they are funding it.
  • This is being created by a company called DP-3T. Which is a cute short name for Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing.
  • It is being worked on by cytologists, but it isn't using blockchain.
  • Phones will broadcast via bluetooth what looks like a wallet key every few minutes.
  • If you're close to another phone, your phones will exchange strings.
  • Both phones store those strings for 14 days.
  • If someone gets covid, they're marked as being in a hospital / doctor. The doctor can put in a one time passcode that confirms that the phone holder has been diagnosed with covid.
  • Positive strings get stored in a database, and phones check the database every 5 minutes for any strings that they've heard recently.
  • It's compatible with anyone's app that uses the source code, and the code is public.
  • I see an interesting future, where if this were implemented properly with a public database and zero knowledge proofs, it would solve the problem and keep liberties in tact.
  • The Nuance of the argument.
  • Why it's hard to know where to stand.
  • Fuck Plandemic

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