Blockchain workers a 'critical service' in U.S. COVID-19 response

March 23, 2020 //By Rich Pell
Blockchain workers a 'critical service' in U.S. COVID-19 response
In a memorandum issued by The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, blockchain managers are among those identified as essential critical infrastructure workers during the COVID-19 response.

The memorandum, issued March 19, lists "Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendor-managed inventory controllers and blockchain managers" under essential workers in the Food and Agriculture sector. The list is designed to help State and local officials protect their communities, while ensuring continuity of functions critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security.

The list, says the agency, can also inform critical infrastructure community decision-making to determine the sectors, sub-sectors, segments, or critical functions that should continue normal operations.

"The attached list," says the memorandum, "identifies workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are essential to continued critical infrastructure viability, including staffing operations centers, maintaining and repairing critical infrastructure, operating call centers, working construction, and performing management functions, among others. The industries they support represent, but are not necessarily limited to, medical and healthcare, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement, and public works."

Blockchain is an open distributed ledger that is resistant to modification of its data. It can be used to accurately track and trace the movement of goods in a supply chain. A number of food producers and technology companies are trialing blockchain for product authenticity, ease of recall, and inventory management.

Perhaps most well known is the IBM Food Trust , a collaborative network of growers, processors, wholesalers, distributors, manufacturers, retailers, and others in the food supply system. The participants are connected through a permissioned, immutable, and shared record of food provenance, transaction data, processing details, and more.

While blockchain workers are mentioned only under the Food and Agriculture sector, many other industries mentioned in the memo are also experimenting with blockchain technology, including the healthcare, energy, financial, and transportation/logistics sectors to name a few. All the sectors mentioned in the memorandum include the following:


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