Blockchain in the life sciences sector with Gerald Law, Innovation DB
We caught up with Gerald Law from Innovation DB about blockchain in the life sciences sector…
What is blockchain?
A blockchain is a way of organising records in an order that reveals immediately if someone has tampered with it. Consider taking the a page out of a book and putting back somewhere else. The page number would not fit the sequence, the words would not follow in a coherent manner, any illustration would be out of context, and so on. A blockchain gets its name because the records in the system are in an unalterable sequence, made up of blocks of information.
Where are the opportunities for blockchain in the life sciences sector?
A blockchain is not entirely secure on its own, it simply solves the problem of people trying to adjust records out of the proper sequence (trying to change a transaction that happened at some point in the past, for example), but when coupled with other security measures, such as basic encryption, smart contracts, anonymous IDs and other elements, the chain makes for an unbelievably difficult system to cheat.
How might we see this impacting analysis and research in the laboratory?
In life sciences the use of big data will allow for powerful progress, but the data being used belongs to people who have justifiable reasons to be worried about how it is stored and kept private. Blockchain systems can give assurance to data owners that their data is both secure and anonymised – although the complexity of the systems will require a talented PR campaign as most people will not understand how these systems work and will need to be convinced indirectly of the system’s credentials.
Who will this impact?
There is massive potential for the sharing of helpful data with the consequential reduction in duplication of effort and the acceleration of conclusion that are better drawn from fuller data than from more limited data.
Laboratory equipment can expect to need enhancements that allow for the inclusion of this data and the analysis of text results that accompany it.
Everyone… either passively or – better – actively.
Thanks Gerald for this great insight!