The coronavirus has now become the biggest topic of 2020. How is the blockchain world reacting to the outbreak?
Since January, Coronavirus (COVID-19) has dominated the news cycle. With wide-ranging effects on public health policies, market conditions, business practices, supply chains, and more, the outbreak has become this year’s most significant global event. Here’s how the blockchain world is responding to the matter.
Companies Are Standing Strong
Few if any cryptocurrency companies have shut down entirely in response to the virus. Binance and Hodl Hodl, for example, have noted that they rely on worldwide offices, meaning that their entire workforces are unlikely to fall ill. Other companies, such as Coinbase and Messari, have asked some employees to work from home.
Companies must also respond actively to the outbreak. Regulators in New York have just demanded financial risk plans from crypto companies under its jurisdiction, such as Coinbase, BitPay, Gemini, Ripple, and Square. Other companies, such as Kraken and Messari, published pandemic contingency plans on their own accord in February.
Some projects are even funding the fight against Coronavirus. Binance pledged 10 million RMB ($1.5 million) of medical supplies in January and donated additional supplies this month. Huobi, a competing exchange, has set up an equivalent fund. Gitcoin, a crowdfunding platform, will also offer a $100,000 grant to research and relief projects.
Quarantine and Social Distancing
Several events are being shut down for public safety. Hong Kong’s Blockchain Week, South Korea’s Nitron Summit, Paris’ Blockchain Week, and Italy’s Ethereum EDCON have been postponed or cancelled. Meanwhile, Coindesk’s Consensus 2020 event has been moved online, marking the first-ever virtual edition of the conference.
One past conference was responsible for an outbreak of Coronavirus. Seven high-profile community members who attended EthCC Paris in early March have now reported positive test results. Though none of the individuals appear to be in serious condition, they are urging other attendees to get tested for the virus.
Government activity is also relevant. The People’s Bank of China is experiencing setbacks due to the virus, which will delay the country’s national digital currency. Elsewhere, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has asked employees to work from home, which could affect decisions related to ICOs and crypto startups.