Happy holidays from Robert Miller's blockchain and healthcare newsletter

Blockchain in healthcare updates

From HIMSS: TEFCA and Blockchain

HIMSS posted an article by a couple of contributors in the HIMSS blockchain task force on how blockchain technology can support the Trusted Exchange Framework and Common Agreement (TEFCA) including:

  • Establishing trust between entities

  • Facilitating medical record transactions in a peer-to-peer way

  • Providing access management and audit trails of access

  • Recording consent

Is Blockchain the Shot in the Arm Healthcare Needs?

As part of their annual review CoinDesk is publishing 100 op-eds, interviews, and takes on blockchain and the world. I was glad to see Dr. Alex Cahana’s article published this week, giving some representation to blockchain and healthcare in a top blockchain publication. He reviews some of the ailments that the healthcare industry has and the past year’s activity, highlighting industry investment trends and new business networks. Further, looking towards 2020, he identifies three factors that will dictate whether blockchain is transformational:

  1. Using better, refined language.

  2. Explaining why we would use blockchain instead of just describing it

  3. The outcome of the 2020 election and ensuing reforms to healthcare

I am also frustrated by the language used in this space and endeavor to be precise in what I’m saying and how I’m saying it. The difficulty in communicating comes from the interdisciplinary nature that this work requires. Blockchain technology by itself combines a dizzying array of fields like cryptography, economics, mathematics, and political science (& more!) before you even think about applying it to a vertical like healthcare, which brings further nuance. It is easy for meaning to get lost because not everyone shares the same mental models across these domains.

As for my thoughts on 2020 I’m hoping to share those in a end of the year review next week. In the mean time if you have thoughts on the most important stories of the year, reflections on 2019, or predictions for 2020 feel free to send them my way. I’d love to hear what my readers think.

Regardless of whether I hear from you or not I’m wishing everyone a happy holiday!

What I’m reading this weekend

Everyone is publishing predictions for 2020:

There are a ton of these floating around but I found these to be pretty high quality:

In contrast to 2019 predictions the mood from investors, commentators, and builders is pretty upbeat. My observations after reading the above articles:

  • There are a lot of rosy predictions about crypto on the world stage, stablecoins, decentralized finance, and DAOs.

  • In general people seem to be skeptical about new smart contract platforms launching.

  • Expectations about the shift to ‘web3’ and decentralizing everything are much more tempered.

Parity is transitioning their Ethereum client, one of the most popular clients, to a DAO

Gavin was the author of the Ethereum yellow paper, which formally specified Ethereum, but generally he doesn’t get as much credit as he probably should for his role in creating Ethereum. Gavin founded Parity Technologies, which created the Parity Ethereum client, a client that remains very popular and important to this day. Early on there was friction between Gavin and the broader community leading him to forge a new path and create a new blockchain entirely, Polkadot, which Parity is stewarding. There is some bad blood between the two communities, particularly over the 500,000 ETH Parity has locked up in a bugged smart contract.

Given their stewardship over a new blockchain entrant that will compete with Ethereum, there were many who were suspicious of Parity, and wondered aloud what the fate of their Ethereum client would be. In September this was heightened by a Parity dev saying they were focusing resources on Polkadot. And now, on the back of an op-ed by Gavin literally heralding the coming age of blockchain wars, Parity has decided to stop maintaining their Ethereum client and focus on Polkadot. Governance and maintenance of the client will be transitioned to a DAO.

This doesn’t spell the end for the Parity Ethereum client per se, but it does introduce uncertainty into its future. Moreover, this story should prompt enterprises to reflect on the technologies they are using. Who are the maintainers of these technologies? What are their incentives? How is the code governed? These are critical questions to ensure the long term success of a blockchain deployment.

Libra's second roadmap outlines its final push toward mainnet launch

On zero-knowledge proofs:

The Facts of Economic Growth

Why Big Tech Companies Won’t Solve Healthcare’s Biggest Challenges

Venturing A Perspective On The Drug Pricing Debate

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