Off the Blocks | Vol 54, Feb 12, 2019
|Feb 12||Public post|| 3|
This newsletter is our weekly roundup of some of the significant blockchain news, that provides an overview of the rapidly changing blockchain landscape to help you map your blockchain strategy and be aware of regulatory announcements globally. Get your friends to Subscribe Here.
Saving the Healthcare System
Blockchain solutions work best when multiple partners are involved. The inherent transparency of data flow creates an environment of mutual trust. Additionally, with multiple parties working with the same information in a “single source of truth” in real time, the quality of analysis improves. Nowhere is this more apparent that in the healthcare systems we have today.
Healthcare is spread across multiple stakeholders - patients, providers, physicians, pharmacies, pharmaceuticals, insurance, medical records etc etc. This results in a lot of inefficiency throughout the patient care process as critical information is lost at every step of the way due to siloed datasets and disjointed databases. It is estimated that 40% of the healthcare data records consist of misleading information and outright errors. Further, security and data privacy issues discourage transparency, often to patients themselves, disempowering them from actively seeking information or understanding the tradeoffs associated with significant surgeries and treatments.
Blockchain is fast gaining traction as a savior of the healthcare industry that has long tolerated inefficiencies and high costs of delivering patient care. The key is to unlock the information barrier that separates desired health outcomes from the costs for insurers and providers. In a blockchain enabled system all the stakeholders are aligned to provide a value based care, instead of a fee for care. Blockchain, with or without a crypto token, serves as a tech layer that inherently aligns the incentives of all parties to enable such a model.
So far, there have been various use-cases that have been successfully trialed: tracking consent for clinical trials, QR code based tracking of drugs through supply chains, healthcare data and information exchange, health insurance etc.
It is not surprising that the incumbents are now starting to get challenged hard.
Bitfury, a blockchain technology company, is partnering with a radiology blockchain marketplace Medical Diagnostic Web to create a blockchain-based medical imaging ecosystem. The blockchain-powered life data marketplace will develop a platform for maintaining, sharing and securing medical imaging and diagnostics information such as X-rays and CT scans. The platform also guarantees compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
“Blockchain technology can strengthen patient data security by providing a tamper-proof record of patient history while simultaneously providing an avenue for doctors to more easily share information.”
Open Health Network recently launched PatientSphere so consumers can control and monetize their medical data. The platform uses blockchain and smart contracts to enable HIPAA-compliant data sharing among the various players in the healthcare ecosystem. Similar uses of blockchain technology in the healthcare industry will pave the way towards patient empowerment and restructuring the goals of providers towards measurable health outcomes.
Blockchain is opening the door to a new generation of solutions in a global healthcare market that is expected to spend USD $10 trillion by 2022.
Image Source: BurstIQ
Now for some significant news form the world this week:
M&A | Facebook Acqui-hires Chainspace Researchers: Facebook’s secretive crypto division has reportedly made its first acquisition, quietly on-boarding most of the research team from a blockchain startup, Chainspace, that specializes in smart contract development. The social media giant has “aggressively” hired blockchain developers and currently has around 40 employees working on its crypto project. […CCN]
“Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology. This new small team is exploring many different applications.”
UnionBank Launches Two-Way Bitcoin ATM in the Philippines: The UnionBank of the Philippines, one of the leading financial institutions in the country, has launched a two-way bitcoin automated teller machine (ATM), that provides users with the ability to sell and purchase digital assets like bitcoin for pesos. In a country where about 77 percent of the population doesn’t have a bank account, crypto bridges the gap and creates inclusion for financial services.
SEC Guidance on Crypto Tokens is Coming: Hester Peirce, one of the SEC’s commissioners, said that the agency’s staff are working on “supplemental guidance” to help projects determine “whether their crypto-fundraising efforts fall under the securities laws.” While the Howey test generally provides clarity, she said, there is a “need to tread carefully” as token offerings do not always resemble traditional securities offering. For instance, capital raised from decentralized token offerings could mean it is not truly owned or controlled by a company or person, unlike with traditional securities which are controlled by issuers or promoters. […Coindesk]
“We owe it to investors to be careful, but we also owe it to them not to define their investment universe with our preferences.”
Square and Bitcoin is a Question of “When” not “If”: Jack Dorsey — also the founder and CEO of United States based Bitcoin (BTC)-supporting payments service Square — said that rolling out the Lightning Network on Square’s Cash App is a question of “when, not if.” The Lightning Network (LN) is a second-layer solution to Bitcoin’s scalability limitations, which works by opening payment channels between users that keep the majority of transactions off-chain.
“We have a massive seller network of businesses [of different sizes] [...] We would love to make [Bitcoin payments] as fast and efficient and transactional as possible and that includes looking at our seller base and our register. It’s not an ‘if,’ it’s a ‘when.’”
Searching Blockchain Datasets with Google: Since they emerged in 2009, cryptocurrencies have experienced their share of volatility—and are a continual source of fascination. Previously, as part of the BigQuery Public Datasets program, Google Cloud released datasets consisting of the blockchain transaction history for Bitcoin and Ethereum. The six new additions are Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Dogecoin, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, and Zcash. The transaction clusters can now be classified into categories to visually paint a picture of which addresses are being used for trading, for making purchases, or for sending collateral to loan providers. […Google Blog]
“You now have public access to view all transactions on a payment network. We have never had that before with banks, because each bank is secretive.”
The Final Word: Why Blockchain Differs From Traditional Technology Life Cycles
Image from Technology Revolutions and Financial Capital
Perez provides a framework for how new technologies first take hold in society and then transform society. Within Perez’s framework, new techno-economic paradigms both encourage and discourage innovation, through an inclusion-exclusion process. Blockchain is actually still in the gestation period, in the early days of a technology life cycle before the installation period. There are three main implications of remaining in the gestation period. First, another blockchain-based frenzy and bubble is likely to come before the technology matures. In fact, multiple bubbles may be ahead of us. Second, the best path to success is to work through, rather than against, the existing technology paradigm. Third, the ecosystem needs to heavily invest in infrastructure for a new blockchain-based paradigm to emerge. […HackerNoon]
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