The recent coronavirus has sparked a huge panic in the world. It emphasized the need for dynamic and certified medical, social, and economic information for crucial decisions. It appears that decision makers in government and business were blindsided by this pandemic.
For example, take the 50,000 senior citizens who are highly susceptible to COVID-19 in The Villages, Florida. Timely, relevant health data on such high-risk segments of the population is crucial. Amongst the elderly Villages’ residents, anonymised COVID-19 patients symptoms data from healthcare providers is not available.
A spike in pharmacies selling over-the-counter cough and congestion medicines could sound the alarm locally. However, pharmacies’ sales data are proprietary and closely guarded. With the lack of relevant data, by the time governments had the chance to react to COVID-19, they were well behind the curve. These delayed reactions severely disrupted the local economy and forced panicked residents to stay home. Had the relevant medical data been available, there could have been sufficient warning and less subsequential damage. However, there is no monetary incentive for any entity to provide this crucial information. More importantly, data is fragmented, with no verifiable, trusted source being available.
The name "ANT$" comes from the natural decentralization and perfect communication of ants in nature. Much like the biological ant, an "ant" in ANT$ is incentivized to gather information for the good of the nest. The unique and random cryptographic keys for each participant are much like the unique chemical pheromone of an individual ant.
What it does
ANT$ is a new method of collecting information from a distributed, incentivized array of sources. Users, referred to as the “ants”, are able to be rewarded by contributing to an open data market. Much like the biological ant, The ANT$ system depends on the distribution of ants over a specific area to report and relay information.
Using strict on-chain permissions, only authorized data sources are let through to be recorded on chain. This helps avoid the spread of misinformation.
Data reports are sent to on-chain data Archives, which are represented by human-readable, unique, on-chain domains. These domains are able to be co-owned by multiple entities.
All actions are recorded on Symbol’s secure, fault-tolerant ledger. Data is distributed amongst multiple nodes to ensure total uptime and accessibility.
How I built it
Challenges I ran into
So far, the main challenge has been to facilitate large datasets through a distributed ledger.
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
One of the first projects to track COVID-19 data in real time from multiple sources on to a distributed ledger. We're also one of the first second layer Symbol blockchain protocols currently out there.
We've also created a mobile app and website (ants.iodlt.com), which you can find the source for here:
What's next for ANT$
- Distributed storage implementation
- Explore autonomous, on-chain machine learning from COVID-19 data (images, video, audio)
- Smart watch and other wearable integration