3D Printing Could Help Now, Except for the IP Issues

Cathy Barrera, a CoinDesk columnist, is a founding economist at Prysm Group, an economic advisory group, and was chief economist at ZipRecruiter. She has a PhD in business economics from Harvard.

From Italian startups to local school districts, many groups have adopted 3D printing technologies to fill the urgent global need for ventilator components and personal protective equipment (PPE). In times of crisis, the gap between supply and demand grows and becomes more apparent. 3D printing is a perfect solution to address these issues.

Currently, these critical shortfalls are being addressed in an ad hoc manner. This is inefficient and wrong. Instead, the U.S. needs robust 3D printing production capabilities nationwide so we can seamlessly increase the availability of needed supplies. Although it is clearly impossible for this to occur during this current pandemic, such capabilities should be developed before the next crisis hits. While prior efforts – including an initiative by President Obama – have stalled, we now have the tools and resources needed to accomplish this task. The remaining challenge to achieving this goal is economic rather than technical in nature. Crucially, blockchain will play a key role in overcoming that challenge…

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