Four Blockchain Technologies Expected to Drive Efficiency in Life Sciences and Medicine
**This article should not be taken as investment advice. This is for educational purposes only.**
It’s a hot topic in the technology and banking space at the moment. With countries around the world (including the US) exploring Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), nations like El Salvador accepting Bitcoin ($BTC) as legal tender, and financial institutions exploring various cryptocurrencies for enterprise-level use, it certainly feels like we’re on the cusp of a digital revolution. Moreover, this is a time where our Internet of Things (IoT) is poised to meet a brand-new Internet of Value (IoV).
But what does all this mean for Life Sciences and Healthcare? It’s a good question – because few industries are better positioned to capitalize on improved supply chain efficiency and immutable digital records. So let’s explore four companies and what they’re doing to move the needle in our space.
VeChain ($VET) – An Infrastructure Layer with Great Biotech Applications
You’ve probably heard conjecture that it’s blockchain technology that will ultimately be the winner, not cryptocurrency. This company blurs that line, having created a crypto-powered infrastructure layer.
For them, Biotech/Medicine is just one application of their technology (albeit a large one). Here are three applications that are in use today:
1. eNFT COVID Vaccination Record – In the small European nation of San Marino, VeChain’s eNFT (enterprise non-fungible token) is being used to create a COVID vaccination record for patients that is verifiable and immutable worldwide. This means that anyone vaccinated will have a digital copy of their COVID-related immunization records with two QR codes. One that can be scanned and is in compliance with EU regulations and one that can be scanned anywhere else eNFT records are accepted. The best part? Because it’s a public ledger, it can’t be counterfeited.
2. Drug & Vaccine Traceability – Verifying drugs and vaccines of all kinds is expensive. It requires an ecosystem of enterprise-level technology, reputable supply chain participants, and regulatory bodies to ensure that what a patient receives is safe and effective. That’s why VeChain, in conjunction with DNV GL, has created a traceability solution that utilizes a public blockchain and reliable data sources to monitor, secure, and audit drugs and vaccines worldwide. This cuts down the need for many high-cost stakeholders to receive the same level of effectiveness and security.
3. MyBaby IVF Service Application – This tool allows users to view and track the extraction, labeling, and scoring of fertilized eggs, as well as the cultivation and preservation of fertilized eggs. Moreover, this tool provides private, exclusive, and end-to-end data to prospective parents undergoing treatment.
Algorand ($ALGO) – An Ecosystem That Promotes Global Trust Through Decentralization
Algorand is another one of several major companies seeing their platforms become an optimal choice in the age of COVID. While many projects are successfully building on the platform, the company itself made news when Colombia selected their VitalPass application to track vaccination across the country. This tool is another immutable, secure, and traceable tool to track users and their COVID vaccinations. With the success they’re seeing in Colombia, there are already plans to expand this tool to other Latin American countries.
Hedera Hashgraph ($HBAR) – Distributed Ledger Technology Meets Healthcare Providers
You’re probably noticing a pattern here. Patient records secured by blockchain technology, housed on public ledgers, demonstrate the value of augmenting trial data and patient medical record information while maintaining patient privacy and meeting regulatory compliance.
Through a partnership with Safe Health Systems, Inc., Hedera Hashgraph’s product is responsible for logging an immutable and verifiable log of patient information and identifiers while preserving privacy. This impacts 150,000 users at Delta, Arizona State University, The Mayo Clinic, and likely more to come. This added level of security increases trust by both patients and institutions, leading to great adoption, retention, and platform usage.
Tellor ($TRB) – A Decentralized Oracle Network Headquartered In The Capital Region
This is a company we wanted to include to show that the ferment of blockchain innovation is occurring both all over the world and right here at home. Their contributions to Life Sciences and Biotech may not be happening yet, at least not publicly, but it’s this backing technology that will promote its adoption in our space.
These oracle networks are ways to cryptographically secure real-world data. This will be exceptionally important throughout various life science applications that require up-to-date, verifiable data to make automated business decisions.
As an example, imagine you had a vaccine being shipped from Manufacturer A (MA) to Clinic B (CB). The product MA is shipping to CB needs to be shipped under 35 degrees Fahrenheit. The two entities could set up a smart contract on a blockchain that received data on CB’s inventory and prospective use, ship inventory at an optimal time, and automatically receive payment upon delivery. If MA’s distribution chain malfunctioned and the data stream showed that one of the delivery participants allowed the product to exceed the set temperature, they wouldn’t receive payment.
In this hypothetical scenario, a decentralized oracle network like Tellor’s would be responsible for ensuring all the data being utilized to execute the smart contract.
Overall, this technology is here. We’ll see it mature and reach the adoption phase with companies that understand the massive value and efficiency that can be gained by embracing it. There’s a number of digital assets that will affect everything – from how we attract, hire, and even pay talent to how multinational organizations improve payment streams and create better accounting practices. We’ll touch on some of those moving forward.