Issue #7
Beyond Blocks
Bridging the gap between blockchain and healthcare.

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Blockchain in healthcare updates
Blockchain in Health Insurance
A wide ranging piece touching on IBM's health utility network as well as the Synaptic Health Alliance. There's a quote in here by someone at IBM which suggests they are tackling claims processing as a use case, but the way it is framed seems non-committal.

40 Startups Using Blockchain To Transform Healthcare
A list of 40 startups in the space with brief descriptions of their use cases.

Prototype of running clinical trials in an untrustworthy environment using blockchain published in Nature Communications
Key quote: "We showed that a blockchain-based file and data structure could be used to reliably safeguard data in a clinical trials network, and provide an immutable and fully traceable audit trail"

A team at ETHDenver made a WebAssembly interpreter with support for Fully Homomorphic Encryption to power a dApp for zero-knowledge analysis of medical data.
That's a ton of jargon, but this would enable a decentralized and transparent platform for analysis of medical data without exposing that medical data (or the analysis!) to service providers.

I published an update on healthcare ICOs
Key takeaways:
  • Healthcare ICOs have performed very poorly to date. Only 17 out of 147 have been listed on an exchange and all 17 have produced negative returns.
  • Teams are experimenting with token models beyond just the "payment token" where a token is only used to buy and sell goods within a closed ecosystem.
  • Ethereum is by far the most dominant platform
  • The US is by far the most dominate location.
Crypto news
Dan Boneh and a few other researchers published a paper on private smart contracts
Critically this could be implemented on Ethereum today without a hard fork. This is yet another approach to privacy in the context of public blockchains.

CasperLabs is a well-funded new startup implementing the CBC Casper proof-of-stake protocol
At a high level, proof-of-stake (PoS) is a different way of reaching consensus in blockchains. Validators (analogous to miners) stake money in order to gain the right to participate in consensus. If validators act dishonestly their stake is penalized in some way. The idea here is that PoS requires drastically less energy and could be more scalable than the incumbent proof-of-work (PoW).

Ethereum has had plans to move away from PoW and to PoS for some time now. Vlad Zamfir specified the technical protocol for this, called CBC Casper, and Ethereum is racing towards implementing this. It is a very daunting task to do so.

The central thesis behind CasperLabs is that we should be moving towards CBC Casper style PoS, but that it is much easier to implement this from scratch as opposed to transitioning an existing system like Ethereum to PoS. To that end, they've raised $20m from key VCs, plan to launch their own blockchain, and critically have hired Vlad Zamfir to be their lead architect. Vlad has said he will continue his work on Ethereum as well.

CasperLab's slide deck can be found here.

Sidechains are quickly developing. The Loomchain Plasma Sidechain is live on the mainnet.

A brutal assessment of the STO market called "The real STO market outlook: near death"

Polkadot: The Foundation of a New Internet
Polkadot is trying to be a "global network of blockchains," both enabling cross-chain interoperability as well as creating shared security infrastructure that others can tap into. It is technically ambitious and a key project to watch in the coming months.
Blockchain in healthcare events
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Robert Miller · Queens Street · Long Island City NY 11101 · USA
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