Blockchain in Health Care?

You all know that Blockchain technologies have helped the finance and investment world evolve.  Blockchain is associated with more than you think  in money processing!  So, what would happen if Blockchain technologies had a role in other industries like health care or engineering?  The article below explores health care specifically.  Learn about the capabilities Blockchain has that can associate with medical practice and what the future could hold.

Blockchain-Styled Solutions for Health Care on the Rise

by Rebecca Campbell | Blockchain | March 30, 2017

Blockchain technology has the potential to transform healthcare services just as it’s doing within the finance sector. Through a decentralized and encrypted network, the healthcare industry can share, store and distribute information easily and transparently, producing a streamlined system that is resistant to fraud. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, in 2016, a Medicare fraud scheme cost around $30 million in losses. A report from U.S. health startup Color Space Post, a privately owned, consumer-led health company that’s leveraging blockchain technology to develop a new healthcare infrastructure, states that “blockchain technology could make a massive impact on both the administration costs and fraud.”

And yet, even though it’s still in its infancy within the healthcare industry, blockchain technology is already helping to transform it.

Healthcoin: The First Blockchain-Based, Globally Scalable Platform for Rewarding Prevention

Founded in 2016 by CEO Diego Espinosa and COO Nick Gogerty, Healthcoin, which won the award for best private blockchain at this month’s CoinAgenda in Puerto Rico, utilizes blockchain technology to allow employers, insurers, individuals and governments across the globe to manage people’s lifestyle change and incentivize the prevention of adult onset diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, latest figures show that in 2012, approximately 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3 percent of the population, had diabetes.

Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Espinosa said that Healthcoin originated when he reversed his borderline Type 2 diabetes. Despite living a healthy lifestyle — a low-fat diet and running 25 miles per week — he found his A1c kept going up. This is a blood test, also known as hemoglobin A1c or glycohemoglobin test, that provides information on a person’s average levels of blood glucose. A normal A1c level is less than 5.7 percent. Espinosa said that after deciding to experiment with a low carb and no sugar diet, he found his biomarkers went back to normal, which helped plant the seed for Healthcoin.

“When I saw my blood labs, the idea for Healthcoin was born: shifting the focus of prevention to ‘moving the needle’ on biomarkers as opposed to just measuring steps and other ‘inputs,’” he said.

Still in its pre-launch, Healthcoin will work by tokenizing measurable improvements in health. Espinosa says that users will submit their information through their doctor, employer, insurer biometric screening program or even health apps. As it is biomarker-based, Healthcoin takes in information relating to A1c, blood pressure and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, which are precursors to Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

“When a user’s biomarkers improve, the blockchain issues them a token,” said Espinosa. “This token is equivalent to a ‘certificate of proven prevention.’”

By building a plug-and-play rewards and data analytics layer for prevention, Healthcoin is aiming to create a network that engages every level, from users to doctors and international health organizations to governments. Through blockchain technology, the network trades in a market for rewarding proven prevention readily, verifying when someone has prevented their disease over their lifetime.

Once launched, Espinosa says that employers and insurance companies can offer to pay users a pre-set reward for the tokens while the underlying biomarker database can be mined by the pharmaceutical industry to help in drug discovery.

“Healthcoin will shift the focus of healthcare to generating proven prevention outcomes,” he adds. “The goal is to have millions of people generating healthcoins across the globe and thus turn the tide on the diabetes epidemic.”

DeepMind Health: Bitcoin-Style Verifiable Data Audit

London-based DeepMind Health is planning to build out a new technology. Loosely sharing some of the same properties as blockchain technology, it is designing a system to track patients’ records in real-time, allowing clinicians to predict, diagnose and prevent serious illnesses.

Identified as the Verifiable Data Audit, the idea is to develop a digital ledger that will record what data has been used with DeepMind, claiming that the hospital remains in control.

According to the NHS Confederation, every 36 hours the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) deals with over one million patients. However, a report from the U.K.’s Daily Mail newspaper states that in 2016, over 205,000 medication errors were made in the prescribing, dispensing or administering of drugs throughout the NHS, and that medication errors are increasing by 6 percent a year.

DeepMind Health, which is collaborating with the London’s Royal Free Hospital, has created a kidney monitoring app. Called Streams, it is a clinical application that aims to improve care, directing clinicians to patients who are at risk of or have a serious condition of acute kidney injury (AKI).

In a blog post, DeepMind Co-Founder Mustafa Suleyman and Head of Security and Transparency Ben Laurie cite an example focusing on the Royal Free Hospital partnership to explain how the Verifiable Data Audit will work each time there has been any interaction with the data.

“Each time there’s any interaction with data, we’ll begin to add an entry to a special digital ledger. That entry will record the fact that a particular piece of data has been used, and also the reason why — for example, that blood test data was checked against the NHS national algorithm to detect possible acute kidney injury.”

They add that like blockchains the ledger will be append-only so that once a record of data use has been added, it can’t be removed. It will also ensure that third parties can determine whether entries have been tampered with.

However, it also differs from blockchains. According to Suleyman and Laurie, blockchain technology has some wastefulness associated with it, such as that most blockchains require participants to carry out complex calculations that involve high energy costs. Some estimates state that the energy used could be as much as the power consumption of Cyprus.

“This isn’t necessary when it comes to the health service, because we already have trusted institutions like hospitals or national bodies [that] can be relied on to verify the integrity of ledgers, avoiding some of the wastefulness of blockchain [technology],” they add.

DeepMind is also changing the “chain” part of blockchain technology and replacing it with a tree-like structure known as a Merkle tree or hash tree. Every time an entry is added to the ledger, it will produce a value known as a cryptographic hash, which recaps all entries made in the audit.

“Now we have an improved version of the humble audit log: a fully trustworthy, efficient ledger that we know captures all interactions with data, and which can be validated by a reputable third party in the healthcare community.”

In the long-term, the team is hoping to expand the system to individual patients or patient groups so that they can view how and where their data is being used.


Getting Blockchain in Your Portfolio

Many Americans have a least some money invested in the stock market, mutual funds or businesses.  For those who know investing well know that expanding a portfolio can be advantageous.  This is where Blockchain comes in.  Did you know you can invest in certain companies that have invested in Blockchain technology?  If you do, you are, in turn, exposing your portfolio to Blockchain!  Learn what some of those companies are and how you can begin dipping your toes in the Blockchain pool.

How to Slip Some Blockchain Exposure Into Your Portfolio

by Bradley Fink | Investing | June 9, 2017

Over the past year, there have been fortunes made with winning investments like bitcoin, ether and ripple. And yet many people don’t know how to buy a single bitcoin. If you are new to digital assets, you may find it a tap dance just to get your money in, between digital wallets, online exchanges and questionable regulations. If you are perplexed by blockchain technology and feel more comfortable having your money in traditional markets, there are companies you can invest in to get the technology in your portfolio. Companies like IBM and Microsoft are betting heavily on blockchain tech, and are positioning themselves as leaders for the Internet of Everything.

Here are some familiar, publicly traded companies that have invested in blockchain technology:

Microsoft (MSFT), Nasdaq

Microsoft has been sponsoring blockchain technology and is now a founding member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), along with dozens of other companies including J.P. Morgan and Toyota. The alliance was formed to create standards for Ethereum in business use cases and to collaborate for a blockchain-based online marketplace. Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing service platform also supports Ethereum, offering Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) tools for app developers.

Quoted in the MIT Technology Review, Marley Gray, who leads Microsoft’s blockchain efforts, said, “We see a huge opportunity here. Enterprise-scale and enterprise-grade infrastructure is going to be vitally important for this financial infrastructure that will be woven using blockchain over these next few years.”

As Microsoft adds development tools and industry expertise, its early bets on blockchain tech should grow in years to come. The stock is now sitting at a 52-week high in the $72 range, with a trailing annual dividend of $1.53 per share.


With a different approach, IBM has joined Hyperledger in its foray onto the blockchain. Governed by corporations, Hyperledger has five blockchain and distributed ledger projects in incubation. The one that IBM is most invested in is called Fabric, a blockchain layer for enterprise solutions, which also has support from companies including Accenture, Airbus, American Express, CME Group, Intel and others.

In 2016, IBM focused specifically on introducing blockchain technology to the company’s artificially intelligent computer named Watson. Potential applications include machine-to-machine communications and payments, machine self-diagnostics, and machine self-learning.

Similar to the Microsoft Azure developer platform, IBM also offers blockchain building tools for corporations. Shares of IBM are now trading around $152, with a trailing annual dividend of $1.40 per share. (OSTK), Nasdaq  

In 2014, started a VC fund to manage investments in firms leveraging blockchain technology. Named Medici Ventures, the fund now owns a 2.5 percent stake in Factom, which may become a leading data hashing company. And in April 2017, Medici invested $428,000 in Bitcoin company Ripio, a leading digital wallet and exchange in Argentina. Medici has also invested in several platforms related to equity trading. CEO Patrick Byrne has long been a proponent of Bitcoin and blockchain technology. In 2016, he announced a new subsidiary blockchain-based equity trading platform named t0, which he thinks could revolutionize equity trading. t0 combines cryptographically secure distributed ledgers with existing market processes to reduce time and costs, and increase transparency, efficiency and auditability.

Medici continues to invest in promising blockchain startups. The company’s stock is trading in the $14.50 range, with a market cap of only $363 million.

FastForward Innovations (FFWD.L), London Stock Exchange  

FastForward Innovations is a VC firm investing in emerging technologies. In 2015 FastForward made a £279,000 ($431,300) investment in Factom, which in 2016 was revalued at £560,000 ($709,800) after another successful funding round. The latter round included funds from well-known investor Tim Draper, who stated, “Governments also need better security from hackers, and the blockchain avails them of better security than they currently have. I believe that the Factom team has the opportunity and the potential to build a company greater than Oracle and Palantir and IBM combined.”

FastForward is also invested in digital gaming, wearable technology and online media. The company’s stock is currently trading at £12.65 ($16.24).

Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), OTC  

If you want exposure to bitcoin and only bitcoin, you can buy into the Bitcoin Investment Trust through your traditional brokerage account. A financial product of Grayscale, which is owned by Digital Currency Group, GBTC is meant to track the bitcoin market price on behalf of investors, who then don’t have to buy and safekeep bitcoins for themselves.

The fund’s bitcoins are kept in deep storage vaults with Bitcoin company Xapo, where they are protected by intense cryptographic and physical security. With $390 million in assets under management, the fund has a market cap of $882 million on Yahoo Finance. Recently, the price of the fund has soared above the market price of bitcoin, which shows an active demand for a bitcoin investment vehicle. Currently trading at $516, GBTC is up from $101 just six months ago.

Blockchain Capital  

Though not publicly traded, if you would like to dabble in digital assets but don’t know which projects to invest in, Blockchain Capital offers an interesting way to play this space. Calling themselves the “First Ever Digital Liquid Venture Firm,” Blockchain Capital invests in promising blockchain projects and the platforms that support them, and now has what looks to be a strong portfolio. Their holdings include industry leaders Blockstream, Bitfury, Coinbase, Ripple, ShapeShift, BitPesa and more.

What is unique about Blockchain Capital is that they have their own digital token called BCAP, which represents an indirect fraction of non-voting interest in their Digital Liquid Venture Fund. By buying the BCAP tokens, you will own a share of the fund of companies that Blockchain Capital invests in. When the fund released these tokens to the public earlier this year, the entire offering of 10 million BCAP sold out in less than six hours, raising a total of $10 million USD at $1 per token. Today the token trades on for $2.25.

This article is for general information purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Investors should conduct their own due diligence and consult with a qualified tax/investment professional before attempting anything described in this article.