Crypto- and blockchain-focused companies around the world have been making efforts to support people amid the coronavirus pandemic, with some of them donating funds to nonprofits and providing supplies to hospitals.
Israeli blockchain startup Orbs came up with an idea to encourage people to self-quarantine by using a newly launched app.
The app, which is dubbed "Stay at Home Challenge," is designed to assure that the user does not leave the nearby radius once they enter their location in the app. The app tracks users' self-quarantine time and notifies them when they abandon the designated home area, according to an announcement on April 21.
A gamified way to trace people’s movements
The app gamifies the self-quarantine concept, allowing users to share their progression with friends and family members, thus encouraging them to stay at home as well.
Although the app tracks people’s movements, Orbs claims that it doesn't collect any personal data as users don’t add their name, email or any other personal information in the app. Currently, the app is available in Google Play, and soon will be available for iOS users. Orbs told Cointelegraph:
"We will continue to think of ways we can help out in Israel and globally to get us all through these challenging times. We discuss ideas on a regular basis in company meetings and chats."
Tracking people is a new normal
Stay at Home Challenge is not the first app that tracks users’ activity under the umbrella of the coronavirus-related quarantine. A team of academics at the University of Cape Town in South Africa developed a blockchain-powered app geared to allow users to verify their own COVID-19 status. The application intends to improve contact tracing of infected patients.
In late March, Russian authorities rolled out their own tracking application for patients who test positive for COVID-19 in Moscow. The app reportedly requests access to users’ calls, location and camera, as well as network information.
China also released an app in February that allows users to check whether they’ve come into contact with a person who is potentially infected with COVID-19. The app shares users’ location data to a centralized server whenever their barcodes are scanned at a checkpoint either in public transport hubs or other access-point controlled areas.