Issue #13
Beyond Blocks
A weekly blockchain and healthcare newsletter highlighting important ideas and updates

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Blockchain in healthcare updates
Bloomberg law highlights pharma companies' efforts in using blockchain in their supply chains

Blockchain development studio Bitfury and Longensis launch medical consent solution

Healthcare payments company Instamed announced they've created a blockchian prototype
Their website states "The InstaMed blockchain prototype essentially creates a shared patient account ledger accessible by the provider, payer and consumer." It's built on Fabric and leverages FHIR.

John Halamka talks about blockchain use cases we'll see in 2019
He highlights 1. the Synaptic Health Alliance, 2. ensuring data integrity and 3. managing consent

Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association - Comparison of blockchain platforms: a systematic review and healthcare examples
An introduction and review of a few different blockchain platforms. This is a hard task, so I applaud the authors for undertaking it. As a follow on work I'd like to see a comparison of that includes today's popular smart contract platforms and the wave of "next-generation" insurgents like Algorand, Cosmos, EOS, PolkaDot, and Tezos.

John Bass reflects on the differences between HIMSS and SXSW
What I'm reading this weekend
Andreessen Horowitz Is Blowing Up The Venture Capital Model (Again)

In my opinion this is probably the most significant news of the week. Andreessen Horowitz (also known as a16z) is a profilic venture capital firm with just under $10 billion under management. Over the years they've become known and respected for their contrarian style that pushes traditional boundaries. And last week a16z announced they've set off in a new direction once again.

a16z is renouncing its classification as a venture capital firm. As a VC firm it felt limited by regulations that set a cap on how much of their fund could be in "high risk" assets which lead them to set up separate entities, like a16z crypto or a16z's biofund, to hold these high risk assets. But, this made it difficult for partners at the firm to collaborate or share knowledge. By renouncing their status as a VC fund they invite more regulatory oversight, but gain flexibility in how they invest.

Here's the most critical sentence in the whole article:

"The benefit: The firm’s partners can share deals freely again, with a real estate expert tag-teaming a deal with a crypto expert on, say, a blockchain startup for home buying, Haun says."

There are two ways to interpret this statement by Katie Haun (of a16z crypto). The first is that a16z believes crypto's intersection with verticals, like real estate or healthcare, will be increasingly important. If that is true those who can combine blockchain/crypto knowledge with deep domain expertise in a vertical will be well positioned to capture massive value in the coming years. This is of particular note given a16z's $450m biotech fund.

The second way to interpret this statement is that the mention of real estate is highlighting tokenization, or representing assets of all kinds as digital tokens. In healthcare we've seen a recent interest by biotech companies in STOs and other token funding mechanisms. Regardless of the vertical, there are an exceedingly small number of companies which can provide capital, domain expertise, and highly specialized services necessary to create value with a token across the lifecycle of a company. ConsenSys Health is one of them.

So, regardless of whether you think Haun is talking about crypto and verticals or tokenization, a16z making this move is good news for blockchain in healthcare.

SEC Issues First ‘No-Action’ Letter Clearing ICO to Sell Tokens in US
This no-action letter is a significant development for crypto-regulation in the US, providing a more clear sense of how to conduct a compliant ICO. However, under these rules almost all ICOs to date would be disqualified. Here's a selection of the conditions you would have to comply with:
  • Token-generated funds cannot be used for development of a company's platform technology.
  • Tokens must be immediately useful.
  • Tokens will remain at a fixed price of one U.S. dollar and cannot be represented as having profit potential.
Still, a positive development for the space.

PayPal Targets Identity Ownership With Its First Blockchain Investment
The business model

US Healthcare Policy 2020 and Beyond, a new JAMA series

The WarLock: Building in Additional Rewards for Network Effects
A variant of a new token issuance model I'm seeing emerge where users lock up their assets for a period of time. Something to keep an eye on.
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