Chinese Authorities Using Alipay and WeChat to Track Coronavirus Victims? Hubei, the Chinese province that’s the epicenter of the Coronavirus outbreak, had its government releasing a report on February 18th that gives details about the measures taken to combat the disease.
Hubei officials said they have been tracking online and offline fever medicine purchases in order to organize their relief efforts. Since the virus doesn’t show any sign of slowing down, medical institutions and pharmacies need to ask people who buy fever medicine for ID since these individuals may look to treat the deadly disease. While Alipay and WeChat haven’t been mentioned, it’s only logical that especially online purchases of fever medicine have been monitored through these apps.
Is the Digital Yuan Truly Necessary in Such a Situation?
China is known for the digitization of payments. It has now used for a while QR code-based mobile apps. To make things even more digital, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) is the most encouraging institution of the digital yuan, at a global level. However, when it comes to financial monitoring, issuing a digital currency would be detrimental because WeChat and Alipay payment mechanisms would be displaced. With such mechanisms, the Chinese government had most likely monitored its citizens’ purchases, which it couldn’t do in the eventuality of payments made with the digital yuan.
Can Bitcoin Come and Fix Everything?
The way in which the Chinese officials have tracked Coronavirus victims is only possible through centralized payment systems. Medication purchased in Bitcoin (BTC) would have been easily tracked because identities would have been assigned to wallet addresses.
Privacy coins such as Zcash (ZEC) and Monero (XMR) could solve the anonymity problem, but on the other hand, extreme surveillance measures were taken to prevent the spreading of a deadly virus, not to track down people for the sake of it. Just like cash, some cryptocurrencies can impede the investigations in emergency situations like the spread of an infection from being conducted.