Happy Thanksgiving from Robert Miller's blockchain & healthcare newsletter

Hey all, happy Thanksgiving if you’re celebrating. I’m thankful for my readers and the many incredible entrepreneurs and innovators driving forward positive change in healthcare using blockchain technology. This week is relatively short as many folks have been away.

Blockchain in healthcare updates

Afghanistan Ministry of Public Health signs MoU to apply blockchain in the health sector

The Ministry signed this MoU with FantomOperations, a firm which I cannot seem to find any details on. Nonetheless, the press released highlighted identifying fake medications and medical records as use cases to be tackled.

An brief interview with Optum’s Mike Jacobs on the Synaptic Health Alliance on blockchain in healthcare and the Synaptic Health Alliance

In this interview Mike Jacobs talks about the Synaptic Health Alliance and adoption of blockchain. After successful first results with provider data management I am keenly watching to see what the Synaptic Health Alliance’s next move is.

KPMG’s China, Japan, and Australia teams launches a blockchain track and trace product

It seems this product has a broad scope and isn’t limited to healthcare, but KPMG’s leaders reference work on going in China with pharma device and medicine manufacturers. I doubt that it is a coincidence that KPMG moved to announce this work a few weeks after President Xi’s announcement a few weeks back.

UCSF researchers using blockchain to share clinical trials lab results

Dr. Laura Esserman, Director of the UCSF Carol Franc Buck Breast Care Center, and her team have been working on a proof-of-concept for how a blockchain can be used to standardize and share clinical trial lab results. It leverages the fairly new Salesforce blockchain and the idea appears to be automating processes that still rely on people to drive down costs. I looked for more details online but couldn’t find any, and I am a bit skeptical given the details shared in the above article. It is generally not a good idea to put any health data on chain because that data will be shared broadly and it is, by nature of using a blockchain, very difficult to revoke.

Previously researchers at UCSF had created a proof-of-concept using a blockchain to prove the integrity of data collected in a clinical trial.

What I’m reading this weekend

Vitalik reviews the progress made in the “Hard Problems in Crypto”

In 2014 Vitalik created a list of hard problems in cryptocurrency space. 5 years later he reviews the progress that has been made. Vitalik highlights three categories of problems:

  1. Cryptographic, highlighting scaling, time stamping, proof of computation, code obfuscation, and problems in hash based cryptography

  2. Consensus theory, largely improvements to proof of work and proof of stake, and 

  3. Economic, discussing how to properly design systems of incentives to achieve desirable outcome, like stablecoins, public good funding, reputation, “proof of excellence,” sybil resistance, decentralized contribution metrics, and decentralized success metrics.

It’s useful to zoom out for a second and think about these problems. A lot has changed in the past 5 years, and indeed a lot of that change has come in the last two, but the hard problems of today remain largely the same. That being said, these hard problems are very much focused on public blockchains and their consumer facing activities. From an enterprise perspective the hard problems holding back adoption have less to do with technical innovation, and more to do with finding clever ways of creating value as well as governing shared infrastructure.

A researcher affiliated with the Ethereum Foundation was arrested by the DoJ for allegedly assisting North Korea in evading sanctions

It should be said that this was a personal venture, not an official Ethereum Foundation activity.

Facebook’s Libra Is Half A Century Late And A Navy Short

What to Consider Before Trading Your Health Data for Cash

Why Google’s Move into Patient Information Is a Big Deal

Breaking Mimblewimble’s privacy model

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