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Can On-Chain Medical Data Marketplace Work?

LEMONCHAIN
Can On-Chain Medical Data Marketplace Work? Source: unsplash

Recently, I have been looking at many projects in the Korean market, most of them are closely linked to traditional industries, e-commerce, tourism, import/export, art trading, etc. However, most of the projects have no technique, with no novel structure, just accepting cryptocurrency as a payment method based on the parent company's business. However, the medical data marketplace shows a hint of convergence.

The decentralized data marketplace itself is a very niche track, with one of the more prominent ones being Ocean Protocol, founded in 2018. It divides the transaction of data into ownership and access. On Ocean Protocol, people uploading data will be given an NFT which represents their ownership of the data (IP). The IP owners are able to issue tokens, while other users can access the data by purchasing the specific token. Besides, the ownership NFT is tradable, enabling the trading and transfer of ownership.

In fact, the concept of a medical data marketplace has come up for a long time. Medicalchain, founded in 2017, is a decentralized medical data marketplace that aims to reduce the information asymmetry between doctors and patients through timely health record retrieval and help realize online medical information services. However, the project has not achieved too remarkable results. To date, its market capitalization is only $489,320 (2022.06.16). The recent resurgence of the medical data marketplace is probably due to the emergence of COVID, which has made people realize some shortcomings of the traditional medical industry, or that there is "a new story to say". It has triggered a lot of thinking about the pros and cons of offline healthcare systems.

Generally, both Medicalchain and the recently emerged on-chain medical projects are trying to solve the same problem.

  1. Eliminate the information barriers between hospitals. In the traditional medical market, users' health data is actually fragmented, users' data may differ in each medical institution, and the information is not interoperable between institutions, which limits the development of the medical industry to a certain extent.
  2. Improve the efficiency of patients' medical treatment. The first is the enablement of online consultation, which saves the time for offline appointments for registration and consultation. Secondly, the patient's past medical records are stored in the system, the hospital does not need to repeat the diagnosis of the patient, and the patient does not need to bring paper materials, CT, etc. to the hospital for consultation.
  3. Let users have ownership of their own medical and health records and benefit from it. Currently, personal medical data is in the hands of medical institutions or collected by technology companies through wearable devices. The decentralized healthcare marketplace, however, is now dedicated to making users themselves the custodians of their personal health data and making health data a tradable personal asset.

How It Works

On the whole, the architecture of medial marketplace projects is roughly the same, which can be divided into three parts: data collection, data marketplace, and upper-layer application.

Data Collection

To build a data marketplace, the project first needs to integrate DID (Decentralized Digital Identity) mechanism to allow users to have provable and verifiable digital identities to manage their own health data. Second, there needs to be an adequate supply of data. Projects generally collect health data in four ways: cooperative medical institutions, individual users, electronic wearable devices, or obtaining information through medical services provided by themselves.

The collected data will be encrypted and stored on the chain, in a distributed storage database (such as IPFS), or partially stored in a centralized database. Users will be granted a private key to access and manage the data. And demand parties pay for access or authorization. Since data is stored on-chain or in a distributed storage system, it is immutable, and the related transactions/accesses will be recorded, ensuring the security and transparency of data management.

The following figure shows the process of medical data from being collected to being purchased and used.

Data Marketplace

After sufficient data is available, the project developer also needs to design a marketplace where data providers and demanders can trade freely. The data providers include individual users and medical institutions, while the data demanders are mainly institutions (e.g., medical institutions, laboratories, related companies, etc.).

And linking users and medical institutions, the project parties can actually form a virtuous circle of data circulation. Users, institutions, and platforms can be mutual suppliers and demanders. The diagram below shows the data and tokens circulating based on the data marketplace.

Upper application

Upper-layer applications refer to the use of databases to provide users with richer services, such as telemedicine, insurance, health management, DeFi, etc.

Telemedicine: It mainly refers to online medical services, mainly provided by partnered medical institutions. The user's therapy records can be recorded and used.

Insurance: Through the collected big data, the project party can develop corresponding insurance products and realize on-chain insurance services.

Health management: Through wearable devices or health management applications, the platform can pay attention to and obtain users' health status and data, which can complement other services (especially insurance).

DeFi: In order to increase the value of platform tokens, most project parties will introduce some DeFi mechanisms, such as staking, lending, AMM, etc.

What Kind of Projects Can Stand Out

In terms of this track, projects can be judged by focusing on the following points.

  1. Whether the framework structure of the product (mainly referring to the database and data marketplace) is clear and whether it can be realized.
  2. How about partners the project is working with. If the project cooperates with large medical institutions, first it will be supplemented with sufficient medical information, and then it will also gain from the large and stable customers of the institutions.
  3. Whether it can attract ordinary users? Blockchain projects generally have a high entry threshold and are not suitable for most hospital patients.
  4. Can it build a complete ecosystem (the construction of the upper layer application can realize the virtuous cycle with the ecosystem, and can increase the stickiness of users and enrich the value of the token)
  5. whether compliance (such projects involve sensitive information, so whether they can get government support will also be one of the influencing factors) First of all, health data is sensitive personal data, whether the project side's business can get government support, that is, whether compliance is a more important influencing factor.

Examples

Equideum Health

Equideum Health (formerly ConsenSys Health), one of ConsenSys Mesh's portfolio companies, is dedicated to building a Web3 health data sharing and research network through machine learning, AI, tokenized data marketplace, decentralized personal identities, and more --DILNs (Data Integrity and Learning Networks). Equideum Health is mainly characterized by its decent backers and partners with complete technology. The project has not yet issued a token but plans to do so in the future.

In August 2021, Equideum Health acquired FHIRBlocks, a technology company that owns the Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) and licensing technology, and has developed a healthcare data-sharing platform that is available on Microsoft's Azure Marketplace, which provides API services to interested parties.

In addition, Equideum Health announced a partnership with NOKIA in March 2022 to build a decentralized marketplace to help users securely trade health data.

Equideum Health's primary use case will be supporting clinical trials through medical databases and helping the development of new drugs/treatments by overcoming volunteer recruitment difficulties.

LEMONCHAIN

LEMONCHAIN is a Korean on-chain medical data marketplace founded in 2022. LEMONCHAIN wants to build an on-chain medical ecosystem with a range of medical services, including online diagnosis, data marketplace, wearable devices, insurance, etc., built on Klaytn. $LEMC is a utility token for the protocol.

The development of LEMONCHAIN is still in an early stage, while the core architecture, such as data collection and data marketplace, has not been built yet. However, its two products that are currently launched (a loss insurance claim app called CheongGu-ui-Shin and an online healthcare app called LemonCare 365) have great users which are optimistic about the future expansion of the project. In addition, LEMONCHAIN introduces some user-friendly mechanisms, such as allowing users to pay in fiat but adding an intermediary service provider to convert fiat currency to LEMC for trading, which is convenient for ordinary users without sacrificing the value of $LEMC.

The overall operation and management of LEMONCHAIN is centralized, but only uses blockchain technology in data management to ensure the transparency and authenticity of information usage and transactions, so there is a certain risk of centralization. Secondly, the project ecosystem is not well built at present, so its native token $LEMC has very limited application scenarios for now.

Misbloc

Misbloc is also a decentralized medical service provider, but its main focus is an online medical community (ANAPATALK), just like a "Yelp for hospitals". The platform encourages users to participate in hospital reviews and share their experiences to help other patients make the right choice. Secondly, the platform supports partner hospitals uploading patient treatment records and documents to the platform via on-chain technology (authorized by users), which users can download or use at any time (a fee is required).

Misbloc plans to provide users with a data management tool, but this has not yet been implemented.

Currently, Misbloc's medical review app is also live and has a user base. $MSB is a utility token for the protocol.

NFTDataTraditional Industry
LEMONCHAIN

LEMONCHAIN is a Korea-based decentralized medical service provider. It is striving to build a complete medical service ecosystem including data marketplace, insurance, and online diagnosis via utilizing blockchain technology.

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