In the business world, blockchain is certainly the latest business craze. In fact, a recent study by PwC found 84 percent of surveyed executives said they have at least some involvement with blockchain technology. And although most sustainability practitioners see the possibilities of blockchain specifically around supply chain and transparency, the opportunity goes far beyond this. Now, one company is harnessing blockchain to solve a growing social issue.
This October, Booz Allen partnered with blockchain technology company ConsenSys to host a hackathon to find solutions around the rising opioid epidemic. The event, called HACKtheEPIDEMIC, brought together 75 individuals to help people who struggle with Opioid Use Disorder. Booz Allen and ConsenSys focused the hackathon around three key areas where blockchain could provide solutions: “addressing the postal supply chain of illicit drugs,” “coordinating data sharing between pharmacies, healthcare providers and other stakeholders” and “helping individuals on the road to recovery.” Three top solutions were identified out of the event, including “Pharma-sign,” which uses blockchain technology to reduce prescription forgery. The top teams were then invited back to further develop their ideas with the goal of determining if the concepts can become “minimum viable products.”
Many companies are excited about the potential of blockchain to innovate existing business operations and models. Executives surveyed by Deloitte cited greater speed over existing systems and new business models and revenue sources as the top two advantages of blockchain. Yet, as this latest partnership between Booz Allen and ConsenSys shows, we may be just scratching the surface of the possibilities of blockchain, especially when it comes to solving some of the world’s most critical social issues.