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How Crypto Is Fighting Coronavirus: Hacks, Info, Perspectives


Well, that escalated quickly. As we catch breath with the pace of COVID19 related disruptions and happenings, this post will update frequently with the latest perspectives, community support efforts, and information from the blockchain community at large. Have something to add? Tweet @CoinDesk #CoronaEfforts.

3D printing at FabLab

Massimo Temporelli, founder of The FabLab in Milan, used a 3D printer to build a needed component for a breathing apparatus. 

According to industry publication, 3Dprintingmedia.network, the machine was used to intubate 10 patients over the weekend, possibly saving their lives. 

“As the virus inevitably continues to spread worldwide and breaks supply chains, 3D printers – through people’s ingenuity and design abilities – can definitely lend a helping hand. Or valve, or protective gear, or masks, or anything you will need and can’t get from your usual supplier,” David Sher reports.

Mir Liponi, Milan

During the first days was almost like normal life during the summer, when many shops and businesses are closed and few people around. Now, it’s different because we basically can’t move from home. The city is like a ghost town. It’s becoming difficult to get food and I’m starting to see the negatives of the situation. I’m kinda reclusive, but this is very extreme… Because it’s not only you, but everyone else who is living like this. Italians are great in keeping company and they are discovering digital ways to connect to each other or just singing from the balconies… So you don’t feel so alone after all. We have to find a new routine, a new way to feel good and connect with the others.

Malaysia dispatch

Reuben Yap, Project Steward at Zcoin lives in Malaysia, which has recorded a total of 553 COVID-19 cases so far, said his wife works at the Sarawak General Hospital. 

“She works in anesthesia and intensive care,” Yap said. “I have an elderly father as well who lives in a house down the road from me and my wife has her own family as well.”

reuben-yap
Reuben Yap

“The impacts are quite severe for my wife and I. This week she’s undergoing hazmat suit training and if she’s required to intubate or be exposed to the patient, she’ll have to be quarantined in the hospital.”

Today, Malaysia banned all foreign travellers from entering the country. “Malaysians can return and self quarantine. They cannot fly out,” Yap said.

“Essential shops are kept open but private offices, religious places, all societies and everything are closed. There are mad rushes to stock up now but luckily I stocked up earlier.”

Open Source Hacks

Ryan Zurrer “helping to prevent “DeFi” from defaulting”

Amid this period of severe market fluctuations, investor Ryan Zurrer is helping to prevent “DeFi” from defaulting. Zurrer, founder of Dialectic, a Swiss-based crypto-asset firm and former chief commercial officer at the Web3 Foundation, has taken on “very conservative” collateralized debt positions (CDPs) to keep MakerDAO functioning. MakerDAO nearly collapsed last week after it’s trading oracles failed to keep up with investor demand. To this end, Zurrer has also spun up a Keeper bot in anticipation of the potential auction – which could draw in a huge wave of investors, again – later this week. “For me, MakerDAO is DeFi and one of the most compelling projects on Ethereum, so I will not let it capitulate to a full on Black Swan event without doing everything in my power to protect it,” Zurrer said.

17-year-old Tracks Instances of Coronavirus

Avi Schiffmann, a high school junior from Mercer Island, just outside Seattle, launched a website to track instances of coronavirus in late December. It has since become a vital resource for researchers and the public working to stay safe in questionable times.

Using the most recent figures from the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control, Schiffmann’s site presents the most up-to-date local, national and global information in an easy to read format. This includes information on the amount of confirmed and recovered cases, and deaths, as well as a Wiki and newsletter to provide basic facts about the virus.

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Avi Schiffmann’s web site

The site has been visited by millions of people.

“[T]he main goal of it was to provide just an easy way to see the straight facts and the data, you know, without having to make a website that was biased or, you know, full of ads or anything like that,” Schiffmann told Democracy Now!

Desperate Times

Crypto Fundraiser

The Giving Block, a crypto charity initiative, is partnering with nonprofit charities to launch a crypto fundraiser this week.

“Government responses are failing. Nonprofits, companies and individuals need to step up,” said Alex Wilson, The Giving Block co-founder said in an email. “Crypto and tech saw it coming first so we’re hoping this community will be particularly supportive.”

All donations go directly to wallets controlled by the nonprofit, and clients have the option of automatically converting their crypto to fiat. Recently, The Giving Block teamed up with Gemini for an International Women’s Day campaign that raised $15,000 (in crypto) in 24 hours.

Gitcoin will match up to $100 thousand in donations made in ETH or DAI during the campaign, and Brave will provide free advertisements. More details, including its nonprofit partners, are forthcoming tomorrow.

Xenia von Wedel, COO of Transform Group

Apart from the financial worries that our economy if going to tank, I actually enjoy the luxury of extra time to do yoga, and I signed up for afternoon CNA training. That way I will be able to volunteer at the local hospital in case there is a need for extra hands. Don’t get me wrong, doing PR for blockchain companies is a great job, but it might be nice to have a positive impact on some people’s lives for a change… However, I hope in a couple of months life will be back to normal.

Helping people volunteer

New York Cares is hosting digital orientation sessions so volunteers will be ready to participate in their communities once it’s safe again to leave the house.

“Whenever the coronavirus is in our rearview mirror, hopefully, we know that there’s going to be a huge amount of service that we’re going to try to grow and meet,” Gary Bagley, president of the volunteer coordinating agency, told The City.

Distributed Work to Build 3D Models of COVID-19

Folding@Home uses computer simulations to build models of virus proteins, which may assist in the hunt for a vaccine, and they could use your help.

Using distributed work from computers around the world, volunteers can contribute their excess CPU or GPU space to help run these modeling experiments.

“These calculations are enormous and every little bit helps! Each simulation you run is like buying a lottery ticket. The more tickets we buy, the better our chances of hitting the jackpot,” the Folding@Home team writes.

To help, you can download the folding@home software package, or make a donation to the team.

Other perspectives, hacks & info:

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The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.



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