Richard K. Yu with Studypool recently brought up some salient, if somewhat deflating points for the crypto world. First, much of blockchain’s meteoric rise—bitcoin’s price climbing to $20,000, 235 ICOs debuting in 2017—has the characteristics of a market bubble. A bubble eventually pops, which means that many of today’s hot new blockchain products will be fail. Of course, after the bubble pops, we might see a whole new wave of crypto innovation, as the savviest, most market-appropriate and innovative blockchain companies survive, learn, and grow.
Yu also points out that most people investing in crypto don’t fully understand what they’re buying. Many firms lean heavily on grand statements and sleek aesthetics in their marketing campaigns with less emphasis on salient market analysis. Satoshi Nakamoto’s groundbreaking 2008 paper, explaining blockchain itself, contains high-level mathematics that your average bitcoin purchaser probably doesn’t fully understand—few people have the highly technical background required to do so.
Comprehensive understanding of new technology is not a requirement for smart investing—oil investors, after all, don’t usually have PHDs in geology or chemistry. But rushing into new ICOs because they sound flashy is a surefire way to get burned if the bubble collapses. So what are crypto enthusiasts supposed to do?
The answer may be to look to companies who promise clear solutions to well-defined, society-affecting problems. And being attached to an existing massive industry certainly doesn’t hurt. Under these criteria, Nano Vision is an excellent choice for crypto investors.
The State of Healthcare Research
Healthcare research is big business–the National Institute of Health provides about $32.3 billion of grants each year. These grants are spread out over hundreds of institutions, however, and much more research happens with funding from tons of different foundations, philanthropists, and private companies.
As a result, many valuable datasets become “siloed” — accessible only to members of the institutions where they were generated. Forbes calls data siloing “healthcare’s secret shame”, while Health Data Management reports that silos are holding back both research breakthroughs and patient outcomes. The exact mix of causes behind siloing can sometimes be difficult to determine—concerns over patient privacy (justified in some cases; over-readings of HIPPA in others), platform incompatibility, and the cost required to generate such data—and thus, the institution’s economic interest in limiting access to it—are all major interplaying causes. Siloing has very real consequences. Forbes points out that cancer centers general hold the majority of up-to-date cancer data while treating a minority of cancer patients. Without strategies in place to combat siloing, the majority of cancer patients would not actually benefit from the majority of cancer research.
Of course, access to huge amounts of data doesn’t necessarily mean that it can be intelligently used. Health Data Management now reports that many healthcare leaders are advocating that data management training and analytics be included in the education of all medical students. Even with a more sophisticated user set, seeing trends and making connections can be difficult. MIT’s Critical Data initiative, which seeks to apply data analytics to the healthcare world, states that “Large amounts of data originating from critical care needs to be de-identified, analyzed and curated for it to be mined effectively.” A huge portion of medical studies currently fail, but many still provide data that can be combined with other datasets to move the field forward. When those datasets are siloed, of course, this can’t happen, but it also can’t happen when two human researchers sorting through a massive data set don’t realize a complimentary research project has happened. Both results mean that the resources that went into those studies have been wasted.
While any research process entails some false starts and disappointing results, the healthcare sector experiences them at a particularly high rate. According to Clinical Leader, fewer than one in ten drugs make it all the way through trials and approvals to market.
Using blockchain technology, Nano Vision has found a way to solve many of these problems at once. Nano realized that the immutable ledger of blockchain provided an accessible and universally compatible platform to store, share, and access healthcare data. Nano Global, a subdivision of Nano Vision, has recently partnered with Arm, the world’s leading semiconductor IP company, to design and produce Nano Sense chips. These tiny chips can be placed in a huge array of medical and research environments, where they collect and store data molecular-level data in secure blockchains. This blockchain data is instantly accessible. Researchers on one side of the world will be able to check in on air quality measurements or newly discovered drugs on the other side of the world.
Nano has a feasible solution for the issue of smart data analysis too. The Nano Sense platform includes a machine learning AI program that constantly sorts and analyzes data to look for trends and complimentary data sets. Because it uses a machine learning protocol, it becomes more sophisticated the more data it analyzes. This means that the AI will be able to draw connections and generate breakthroughs. The next big cure isn’t going to happen without the help of dedicated researchers and doctors, but it will likely include a major lift on the part of an AI program such as Nano’s that can analyze data en masse.
While many individuals first become involved in healthcare research out of an altruistic desire to help others, Nano recognizes that some amount of economic incentivization is key to keeping any healthcare system afloat. Luckily, blockchain has economic incentivization built in, which Nano plans to utilize. The Nano Sense chips will mint Nano cryptocurrencies as they collect, store, and analyze data. These currencies can be bought and sold like other cryptos, and owners can even use them to allocate funds to research activities that are particularly important to them.
Changing the healthcare industry is no light task–it will require en-masse embrasure of data analytics in the healthcare world, investment in new infrastructure, and tackling issues such as protecting patient privacy as technology aids breakthroughs. But Nano provides a way to move forward with this essential revolution.
How could blockchain revolutionize healthcare?Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.