7 posts tagged

Future

Alcohol industry blockchainization

Alcohol consumption is as old as the humanity itself. There is no way that the civilization will some time in the future give up this habit. and the history had shown us that the different prohibitions are definitely not a solution.

The humanity drank, drink and will continue to consume alcohol in the foreseeable future. Nowadays, the alcohol industry is growing at an undeniably high rate.

This industry includes bar merchants, suppliers, wholesalers, and producers. Due to QYKBAR’s data, the industry grew to an estimated $1.25 trillion in 2016. Considering its current pace, the production is expected to hit the $2 Trillion mark by the year 2025.

The blockchain technology popularity and worldwide adoption grows and has already been implemented in various fields – financial sector mostly, as well as healthcare, logistics, artificial intelligence, new technologies and developments and much more.

Various issues with providers throughout the supply chain exist as well, and it is currently difficult to establish accountability with so many stakeholders involved.

Nowadays, the blockchain tech approach represents a solution for this crisis in the form of smart-contracts that would serve to stabilize this volatile marketplace. Applying blockchain technology and the use of a public ledger that cannot be tampered with, each link in the supply chain would be held accountable. Improved efficiency and greater transparency can be achieved as the result.

Transactions that are currently subject to currency conversions and delays would take place in the specific cryptocurrency, further streamlining the process.

It seems the time has come to use the technology in the production field – particularly the alcohol industry.

Current attempts to bring the market and production together is aimed for solving numerous existing problems of the market and production:

1) The counterfeit problem. According to various studies, 30 to 60% of alcohol nowadays is fake.

2) The issue of product promotion by manufacturers and the decline in the effectiveness of traditional advertising formats.

Fact is, the 1989 year Directive, which is in full force in all countries of the European Union, restricts the way in which information on alcohol is provided. Some states have imposed a total ban on the promotion of alcoholic beverages in Europe, including France, Norway, Russia, and Ukraine.

3) The problem of vast alcohol range choice for consumers. Also, the consumer does not have the opportunity to quickly get acquainted with the variety and prices in different stores.

Considering these problems, specific steps need to be taken to develop the industry and move it on the next circle of production, efficiency, and security.

The unique encoded NFC-tags used for each bottle and specific blockchain tech may help, as the alcohol manufacturers will be able to protect their products from counterfeits and, as a result, increase their product sales and profits of their company.

The mobile application development will be required to be able to verify the authenticity of the products, obtain information from the moment of production until the goods hit the store, aswell as to track availability and prices in the nearest stores.

Blockchain tech can also help the alcohol manufacturers to directly advertise their products at the time of product selection by the end user, showing any information encoded in an NFC-tag (cocktail recipes, ingredients, production method). Moreover, they will be able to create loyalty programs for their customers, use big data to collect information and get targeted at 1,022 metrics, which will increase sales and increase customer loyalty to its brand.

Providing the platform for consumers of alcoholic products reviews, where they could post & read reviews of other users. The artificial intelligence platform will show recommended drinks based on the user’s preferences and experience. Moreover, the consumers can also participate in vendor loyalty programs and receive a reward either in tokens or fiat currencies for writing reviews of alcohol products, depending on the user’s rating and the number of likes of other users.

The industry market size & future

It is estimated, that the current average consumption rate of alcohol per inhabitant of the planet is 6.6 liters of pure alcohol per year, an average of about 60 bottles a year. World consumption number stands on about 450 billion bottles of alcohol per year. The cost of each NFC-tag is 0.06 dollars. The volume of the NFC-label market for alcoholic beverages could be $ 27 billion per year.

Moreover, the recent research indicates that 55% of the inhabitants of the world used alcohol at least once in their lives. The number of potential users of the system is 4.125 billion people. 5 billion people have mobile phones, 80% of them use smartphones that can read the NFC-tag.

There is a global trend both for the use of NFC-tags (the market grows annually) and for protection against counterfeiting, states are obliged to label their products at the legislative level (Bar-codes, QR codes, NFC tags, etc.). IBM company also announced the development of a chip to protect against counterfeit products in the field of drugs, cosmetics and so on.

The identifier itself (NFC-tag) cannot be faked, as it will be produced at the factory and the information will be encrypted in the blockchain. One label can be used in the blockchain only once.

Current existing and future market solutions

There are already blockchain platforms operating in this field. For example, the “Wabi” in China, which focuses on establishing protection from counterfeit products, but it is aimed at the Chinese market exclusively rather than the whole world. IBM is developing a chip and plans a system of protection against counterfeit products in the field of drugs and children’s products. OinSpase conducts a project to protect against the control of the production of QR codes. VeChain (Singapore) solves the problem of counterfeits of luxury goods and product safety for different companies.

The future steps in the vineyard

The world, however, doesn’t escape lightly as verifying authenticity had become as essential as never before – but on a massive scale.

For example, the sales of Pinot Grigio exceeded the amount grown in the 90’s. So what made up the shortfall? Moreover, there had been recent scandals involving Brunello company. Sadly enough, there are plenty of other incidents occured. Fraudsters substitute cheaper inferior wines, cut them with water or use food additives – including even adding such added dangerous chemicals as Diethylene Glycol and Methanol which actually did kill people.

Nowadyas, one of the latest examples regarding alleged fraud involves the large French wine bottler, Raphaël Michel: Carrefour has canceled their supply contracts. The allegation is that part of this scam included passing off as much as 300,000 hectolitres (over 3m cases) of wine classified as cheap Vin de France as far more expensive Côtes du Rhône and Châteauneuf du Pape.

To avoid this, growers could attach an independent DNA fingerprint, Isotopic data, smart sensor data or chemical analysis to the initial Blockchain transaction executed through the specific smart-contract. However, the verification of wine quality, safety and origins are possible from grape to glass.

Moreover, blockchain is being implemented into many projects related to this field – the bars based on the blockchain, the crypto solutions for alcohol logistics, distribution and so on. Well, the future of alchool industry looks bright and sparkle with the blockchain.

2018   Blockchain   Crime   Crypto industry   Fraud   Future

ICO Smart-contracts vulnerability

Initial Coin Offering Models of fundraising still have a lot of loops which makes the money fraud and steal quite often and large-scaled.

According to the latest security researchers made by Positive last year as stated by the Bleeping Computer an average number of vulnerabilities in ICOs stands at number of 5.

The results had shown the very negative trends and outcomes. According to researchers, only one draft of the original offer of coins did not contain bugs.

The study found that 71% of the projects contained vulnerabilities in smart contracts. Among the common problems, analysts pointed out the inconsistency with the ERC-20 standard, the incorrect generation of random numbers and other significant shortcomings.

Experts said that such vulnerabilities appear due to lack of proper qualification of programmers and insufficient testing of the source code.

Most of the security breaches analysts found in ICO-projects to develop mobile applications. Among the common vulnerabilities were named the following: unsafe data transmission, unreliable storage of user data in phone backups and disclosure of the session identifier.

Some vulnerabilities in web applications were aimed at attacking investor funds. For example, because of a lack of proper security, hackers could register a domain similar to ICO, create phishing sites, thereby deceiving investors.

According to the research, every third project contained vulnerabilities that allowed hackers to access data and savings of companies-organizers. Analysts also noted that many initiators of ICO did not use two-factor authentication for important accounts.

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/researchers-last-year-s-icos-had-five-security-vulnerabilities-on-average/

Speaking about the background of the this research and former industry vulnerability issues, other things should also be remembered.

Currently, there are hundreds of thousands of smart contracts in the Ethereum blockchain that manage wallets, tokens, applications or are used to store funds. A group of some British researchers alone was able to identify 34,200 vulnerable smart contracts according to the Motherboard data.

An assistant professor from University College London Ilya Sergey and his colleagues conducted a large-scale study to detect all possible vulnerabilities of smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. To do this, they downloaded the Ethereum, in effect creating its fork for personal use, and began to launch a variety of scenarios, trying to achieve undesirable consequences. When these consequences came, they marked a smart contract “with a tracked vulnerability.”

Having analyzed about a million smart contracts in this way, the researchers found that 34,200 of them contained critical vulnerabilities. They tested their assumptions on 3,000 smart contracts, and in 89% of cases, they caused the most undesirable consequences. In theory, this could allow them to steal $ 6 million in Ethereum.

According to experts, early detection of vulnerabilities prevents
possible negative consequences. So, for example, in November 2017, a user under the pseudonym DevOps19 found a vulnerability in the code of the Ethereum-purity library Parity and accidentally blocked $ 150 million.

“We are working with applications that have two very unpleasant features: they are used to manage your money and can not be fixed,” Ilya explained.

Attempts to find the creators of vulnerable, smart contracts were in vain. However, since researchers do not say which vulnerabilities were found in smart contracts, they can be considered as safe.
“If someone wants to take advantage of our idea, he, at least, will have to do as much work as we did,” the researcher summed up.
Recall, in January, the Cisco unit detected many vulnerabilities in the Ethereum-client Parity. First of all, it was about the creation of operating code, the incorrect operation of which could lead to a large-scale DoS-attack on its supporting nodes. Moreover, some “loopholes” in the purse software allowed access to private information.

A few days later, representatives of Parity Technologies said that the vulnerabilities were corrected in new versions of the software Ethereum-client.

As we see, the ICO suffers from numerous vulnerabilities, and the further develops the market the points of hacker intrusion also appears.

Read the similar material about how to ensure safety from Ddos-attacks in our official blog

https://blog.merklion.com/all/how-to-ensure-security-from-ddos-attacks/

2018   Artificial Intelligence   Blockchain   Crime   Crowdfunding   Future   Hacks   ICO

The Artificial Intelligence development trends

The world transforms every day with fastening pace, and the digital age is so fast-coming that most of corporation and fintech organizations sometimes do not even realize how to implement the more and more developing technologies. That goes double for blockchain industry. The fusion of AI and blockchain tech in the nearest future will give a lot of useful results. The most known advances so far include the development within the rising blockchain industry.

Artificial Intelligence market goes decentralized

No doubt that Decentralized Artificial Intelligence is coming the big time this year with the advent of decentralized platforms. As the traditional existing AI market had become controlled by corporate tech giants like Google, IBM, and Microsoft, all of which offer cloud-based AI solutions and APIs, the model assumes little control of the users over the AI products. This major flaw, in the long run, shows that a currently existing centralized model leads to the monopolization of the AI market.
The main cons of this are unfair pricing, a lack of transparency, interoperability and limited participation of smaller, but progressive, rival companies in bringing AI innovations to this day.

Today we see the fast emergence of a decentralized AI market, born at the intersection of the blockchain, on-device AI, and edge computing/IoT-tech. The continued AI market-trend is the development of decentralized networks built on the blockchain.

Best current examples of existing platforms that should be outlined are Maxtrix AI and SingularityNet projects.

In the long run, decentralized solutions can produce the radical democratization of the AI market, optimization of solutions for a wide variety of use cases, easy integration and communication between different algorithms through a single protocol and the development of interoperability standards, which will ultimately lead us to the era of AGI (artificial general intelligence). Here the most promising pioneers should be outlined.

The MATRIX intelligent Blockchain is a game changer in its sector. The platform differentiates itself from previous Blockchains by offering breakthrough technologies in building AI-enabled autonomous and self-optimizing Blockchain networks, which feature multi-chain collaborations and decoupling of data and control blocks.

As a result of the extreme congestion on both the Bitcoin and Ethereum Networks, ICO investors or contributors have faced significant challenges with cryptocurrency transfers which cause substantial hitches in trade transactions. The MATRIX Blockchain, via a unique dynamic hierarchy generation mechanism, enables the delivery of a superior transaction speed with the goal being to outperform the VISA system and deliver a remarkable throughput of 1 million transactions/second.

MATRIX also aims to reduce cases of cryptocurrency fraud and theft with reports of such incidences increasing over the past few months. The MATRIX Blockchain also offers ease-of-use to the Blockchain community, allowing a user base which is 3500 times bigger than that of Ethereum to design smart contracts without having programming expertise. With the MATRIX Blockchain, smart contracts are easily implemented with natural language, and it offers a flexibility that is welcome to Blockchain technology and by the crypto community. MATRIX provides the higher flexibility that affords the dynamic adjustment of parameters as required to adjust to the ever-changing and improving cryptocurrency market needs.

With most Blockchain projects having to deal with the hard fork community splitting and digital asset devaluation challenge, MATRIX offers evolutionary parameter optimization without triggering hard fork while also providing the intelligent integration of public and private chains with AI-based coordination.

The SingularityNET projects, in its turn, seeks to dodge the monopoly of tech giants over AI by allowing any company or researcher to monetize their AI solutions and get access to a variety of AI algorithms. The concept of AI merged with the blockchain is an extremely useful idea. For now, Hanson Robotics and its partners are still seemingly in the early stages of development.

Smart data search and AI-driven marketing

An issue of slow and inefficient data search is still at large in major IT-companies. Nowadays, proper data collection is a serious task in the world at large. First of all, companies that need the data are almost never sure about the quality of it. Besides, consumers do not know which companies use their data and what purposed is it used for. Right here, the AI-blockchain based project also steps in. The Apex platform, for example, aims to create a decentralized data platform based on Neo where companies can get high-quality, and up-to-date checked data while consumers benefit from the use of their data.

Here, the AI-based programs come to place. With Apex, users will be able to control which companies get access to collect and to use their data in future. Before a company uses the collected data, a notification is sent to the user which may contain additional links or marketing tools. Opening a link, users have the chance to earn other rewards, and companies can use targeted marketing, while not spending extra money.
In addition to Nexus and IQ, this platform will also use the PRISM (real-time data collection infrastructure), and the company already has clients among large brands like Maserati and BMW.
The Nucleus Vision promises to take data-driven marketing to the new level. The project was founded at Harvard University in 2014.
It is known, that the current data collected by the retailer (and other industries) very often have significant errors, which means that this data cannot be used to optimize the customer’s purchases. The main feature of the project is a unique AI-driven technology of IoT sensors designed for the stable operation that does not depend on RFID, WiFi, Bluetooth and other high-tech solutions and systems, which are currently used for face recognition.

Nucleus Vision is based on blockchain to preserve complete security and privacy of users ’ personal data. The innovation AI-system determines the range of interests of the client, accumulating data on his preferences and behavior in the shopping center or mall. Taking into account all these data, the client can be offered certain goods on the basis of his personal preferences. Nucleus Vision system already operates in 10 major shopping centers.

According to the creators of the platform, today offline retailers are unlikely to provide personal price, and other offers for their customers-they simply do not have opportunities for differentiation. Nucleus Vision also offers a differentiated approach to each client. Buyers will receive nCash tokens for each visit to stores equipped with Nucleus Vision system.

The blockchain-fueled future of the AI- research projects

These are only a few examples of what’s coming in the nearest future. The upcoming merge of blockchain technologies and Artificial Intelligence will see many existing areas revolutionized. The blockchain and AI will continue to disrupt the financial services industry. Future AI development and tech will focus on cognitive use in the data collection, sales, marketing, investments, the wealth management and compliance sectors of the financial services industry.

2018   Artificial Intelligence   Blockchain   Future

Hottest Blockchain Week News #1

1) Facebook is open for crypto advertising again

The world’s largest social network and media giant Facebook announced the revision of the total ban on advertising crypto-currencies. So, previously approved advertisers will be able to post content about crypto-currencies and related topics, except ICO. The news had been announced on Tuesday, June 26.
To obtain permission to publish advertising products and services in the field of cryptocurrency, advertisers must provide Facebook with data on licenses, listing on stock exchanges and any important public information about their business.
Facebook will make decisions based on the data received from advertisers; however, as already warned in the organization, not everyone will be tested.
The company promised to listen to the community’s opinion, learn technology and review the rules if necessary.
A recall is regarded, earlier Facebook banned advertising ICO ads and cryptocurrency, including the Bitcoin.

2) Bithumb Exchange hacked

After just over a week after breaking into the South Korean trading platform Coinrail, the crypto-exchange community shocked the news of the hacker attack on Bithumb. As a result of the hacking of this much larger stock exchange, crypto-investors lost a total of 35 billion South Korean won (about $ 31 million).
However, the management of the exchange Bithumb managed to move part of the digital assets to a cold wallet and promised to reimburse investors funds soon. Payments will be made from the fund’s own stock exchange, which holds about $ 450 million.
Against the backdrop of this wretched event, the government of South Korea announced a tightening of the regulation of the crypto-currency industry and acceleration of the implementation of the new regulatory framework.
“If the bill of the deputy from the Democratic Party of Korea, Zhe Yong-gyun, is adopted, the authorities will be able to introduce rules for crypto-exchange exchanges that are identical to those for commercial banks,” the representative of the Financial Intelligence Unit of the country (KFIU) said.
It is expected that with the participation of KFIU and the Financial Services Commission (FSC), security and the infrastructure of the crypto-currency market will be strengthened. In this case, exchanges will be obliged to work in compliance with the safety standards that apply to financial institutions.

3) John Mcafee is back to life

Unknown attackers poisoned the famous crypto enthusiast, media person and founder of MGT Capital Investments John McAfee. He was unconscious for two days but woke up on June 22, which he immediately told his subscribers on Twitter.

“I apologize for my three-day absence, but I was unconscious for two days at the Vidant Medical Center in North Carolina and just woke up. My enemies managed to spike something that I ingested. However, I am more difficult to kill than anyone can imagine. I am back.” – McCafee said.

Besides, the crypto-enthusiast has left a rather ominous message for the attackers themselves.

“And for those who did this – You will soon understand the true meaning of wrath. I know exactly who you are. You had better be gone. – He replied.
Attackers poisoned the famous crypto enthusiast and founder of MGT Capital Investments John McAfee. He was unconscious for two days but woke up on June 22, which he told his subscribers on Twitter.”

Earlier, Roger Thomas Clark, known under the pseudonym Variety Jones or simply VJ, was extradited from Thailand to the US, where he would stand trial for alleged complicity in the illegal activities of the DarkNet marketplace Silk Road.

It is believed that it was VJ that prompted Ross Ulbricht to order the murder of Curtis Green, the Silk Road administrator of the Silk Road, caught by the FBI.

The Dangers of Darknet

Numerous articles had been written on how the blockchain will change the world to better and why cryptocurrency assets are the future of the financial industry.

However, while admiring the current and future benefits of usage, the digital money also has the other side with its malicious nature. The fraudsters, hackers and different criminals use the topcoints and altcoins for different activities forbidden by the law. So, the common public knowledge is often influenced by the unfavorable market situations and overall despair against cryptocurrency are getting worse.

Quite often media highlights the dark side of the crypto world and make the public opinion regarding cryptocurrencies look like facilitating criminal activity. Actually no wonder that being the top coins at the moment Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, and a few other assets are the weapon of choice for the digital fraudsters and cybercriminals during these years of crypto market fever. Of course, the governmental bodies and special commissions are up for changing that as they present more and more strict regulation measures and laws, but the current situation will not change in the nearest future.

Going on with the explanation, there are a quite a few reasons why cryptocurrencies are so attractive to the fraudsters these days. No real names are being used, and the wallet address is convenient for hiding your real identity, which makes the personality disclosure a hard challenge.

Next thing is the volume of transactions. The global worldwide networks take a lot a massive load due to everyday growing number of transactions, and that makes the finding of the fraud schemes a tough challenge.

Even considering the popularity of cryptocurrencies, the so-called Darknet existence is still bad news for the many crypto enthusiasts of this industry as not many newcomers are aware about the crypto realm shadow side. But the highlights are often come to this area, as the cryptomarket rise thieves the activity.
The main points that drive the fraudsters methods popularity are the anonymity and privacy.

Due to the latest researches, over the 95% of illicit activity on the different darknet nowadays had been produced using the Bitcoin. This is of course due to the most popular asset popularity, liquidity and value.

However, the Silk Road has shown the world how the darknet and cryptocurrency can come together in meaningful ways. Perhaps people can remain convinced this was a positive development in general, and the public opinion looks very different these days.

The Darknet itself is a place, mainly speaking, where one can get any items strictly prohibited by the law and get away with it after.

The main points of user interest include such things as illegal drugs acquisition, black market guns trade, fake documents and IDs of any kinds, all sorts of explosives, secret files disclosure, porn content of all types, going on with the nasty stuff like that from there.

No wonder that the Bitcoin is the most liquid instrument for this kind of activities, and it will likely remain for some time.

Speaking about official statistics, it is known that 2016 had almost 14,000 cases related to the drug and other illegal substances. Therefore, over 1,400 people engaged in this type of activity until police officials around the world actively began arresting vendors and buyers globally. It is estimated in 2016 more than $1.3 billion of the worth of profits for drug sellers embracing cryptocurrencies was the actual number. Considering the crypto market popularity rises, no wonder that the official date of 2017 could present much more embarrassing and shocking data.

One thing is sure that the shutting down of such darknet marketplaces cannot change the situation significantly as the new platforms will arise pretty much soon. Same as with Hydra – you cut one head, the more appears. Much more drastic measure is to be taken by the world governments to change the situation and make the widespread more closed and the acquisition of dangerous prohibited items – even more complicated.

2018   Blockchain   Crypto industry   Daknet   Fraud   Future

Gambling goes blockchained

During the last couple of years, the popularity of digital currency casinos has increased considerably, given the wide variety of benefits being offered to players worldwide. Many people believe that the Bitcoin and some top coins are the perfect currency for online casinos, and recent statistics show that the market agrees with this mass opinion.

The blockchain industry victorious march is even out of the question for – the next years will undoubtedly see this prominent technology getting adopted in more and more industries. Banking area, transportation, jurisdiction, logistics, different productions, healthcare, gaming – there is potentially no shortage of sectors of current human activity where the blockchain cannot be applied for improving the existing solutions. Verifications of the highest possible level, unmatched security&safety options, smart contracts that can ensure payment transactions on the new standard.
Online gambling represents one of the first industries that went on experimenting with the use of blockchain technology, as different bitcoin casinos represent one of the most widespread use cases of cryptocurrency in its early years.

However, despite the evolution of cryptocurrencies in recent years, the overall impact on online gaming had been relatively small so far.

Anyway, despite the cryptocurrency market rapid shifts the last couple of years, the digital currency casino market has evolved and grew, given the appearance of more game types, features, bonuses, and more.

Nowadays not many even professional online game players and supporters do realize the potential benefits of cryptocurrency casinos when compared to more “traditional,” fiat-currency based online casinos.

1)The blockchain technology allows providing the games results, stats, and ratings that cannot be counterfeited. Different solutions out there in the market even before the blockchain adoption, though so far nothing is likely to provide better security and privacy in the coming years.

2) Client’s anonymity of the top level and best access options. Years before many had legitimate doubts and concerns with the personal information being shared on third-party gambling resources. And of course, this isn’t a case with crypto casinos. However, many gambling solutions are so easy-to-use that they automatically register user accounts when accessing the websites, and therefore, do not require personal information such as email, name, or real postal players address. Of course, it is a positive approach as an anonymity level like this also allows users located in countries where online gambling is under a legal ban, still access the resources and play their favorite games.

3) Unfortunately, some emerging crypto casinos currently suffer from the governmental tightening regulations as they are required to obtain licenses and apply more and more stricter rules over time.

4)The astronomically high speed of transaction execution. Before the blockchain stepped in, both the deposits and withdrawals in online gambling had never been that fast. Most popular existing casinos require transactions to have one confirmation on the blockchain network, before allowing users to wager the funds. However, the overall process can require no more than a few seconds or a couple of minutes, based on the client’s digital currency of choice. In contrast, the withdrawals are usually processed almost instantly. Users no longer have to wait for days before being able to play or withdraw their funds.

5)Lowest fees – the modern digital currency casinos had proven to have some of the most affordable dues on the existing market. Most cases show no cost associated with either deposits or withdrawals, and many new startups aim for low maximum indications to be attractive in this market and cope with numerous competitors.

The market for mobile applications and online games shows tremendous growth and an ever-increasing influx of new users over the past few years. According to 2017’s “AppAnnie 2017 Retrospective: A Monumental year for the application economy”, the overall market capitalization of mobile applications has reached $ 86 billion.

Due to the latest Newzoo insight, in 2018, the mobile games market will generate $70.3 billion – 51% of the overall global games market. However, the data from Statista reports that social casino revenue worldwide is estimated to reach $5.89 billion by 2022.

Moreover, according to Newzoo – the quarterly update of its Global Games Market Report service – the current forecast shows that 2.3 billion gamers across the globe will spend $137.9 billion on games in 2018. This represents an increase of +13.3% from the year before which was $16.2 billion.

Digital game revenues will make up 91% of the global market with a value of $125.3 billion. Mobile gaming will continue to be the largest segment following 10 years of double-digit growth since the first iPhone was launched in 2007. In total, mobile revenues will grow +25.5% year on year to reach $70.3 billion. This means that for the first time, more than half of all game revenues will come from the mobile segment.

No doubt that in fact best options for immersive player experience nowadays are provided by the most reputable companies.

Healthcare blockchain development

The future is much closer than most people think. Current advances in the blockchain technology developments open the new horizons in different already existing areas of human activities and create the previously incredible opportunities.

The blockchain technology, which stands behind Bitcoin and many other existing cryptocurrencies, had attracted billions of investments from some of the world’s leading corporations for its security and immutability. It is known that nearly 150 million of secure Bitcoin transactions had been successfully performed since the digital currency launched in 2009. In the modern world of today, the Bitcoin and others can be used for various purposes that include hotel and flights booking, digital products purchase, paying in cafes in restaurants and even the healthcare.

The emerging blockchain technology has the much-needed potential to transform healthcare industry, placing the patient at the center of its complex ecosystem and increasing the security, privacy, and interoperability of health data overall. With the help of it, a new model of health information systems can be built.

The ambitious goal can be achieved by making electronic medical records more transparent, efficient, correct and secure.

So far, most of the blockchain tech success is supported by the fintech startups, but it does not end up just there. The healthcare industry is undoubtedly attractive as it has a high demand for innovations in different areas. In most of the world leading-tech countries, the healthcare authorities and even always cautious with the new movements governments are equally excited about the new possibilities presented by the blockchain technology.

Still, the top industry developers have to focus their efforts on establishing the blockchain community on forging the future ecosystem standards and frameworks options for the further implementation on a large scale level across healthcare implementation areas.

With the recent improvements in genetic research and the advancement of precision medicine, the healthcare industry is witnessing an innovative approach to disease prevention and treatment that incorporates an individual patient’s genetic makeup, lifestyle, and environment. Moreover, IT advancement has produced large databases of health information, provided tools to track health data and engaged individuals more into their own healthcare problems. Combining these advancements in healthcare and information technology would lead to a significant transformative change in the health IT-field.

Truth be told, the overall excitement emerges progressively as the blockchain tech marches all over the world. Nevertheless, specific points need to be taken into account for considering how the real implementation could look in future applications.

So, what qualities and application implementation features do the blockchain specified for healthcare industry has to offer to become truly useful and demanded? We need to define the primary cases where the blockchain can be at full fit and need for use in the nearest future.

1) Personalized Health Data Exchange systems advancement

Among many options needed for crafting the technology of the future, the very first thing comes to mind is a creation of the advanced systems of data exchange.
The thing is, currently existing IT-systems of the healthcare industry are in need of the fundamental upgrade and the blockchain can undoubtedly become that very stone on which the future of these systems will stand.

With it, the specific current challenges such as health data interoperability, overall integrity, security, portable user data, and processing speed could be tackled on an entirely new level.

Speaking about the areas that are more fundamental, the blockchain could enable data exchange systems that are cryptographically secured which will allow seamless access to historical and real-time patient data – with it the cost of data reconciliation will finally be out of the question.

It is also worth mentioning the recent collaboration between Guardtime, the data-centric security company, and the Estonian eHealth Foundation to secure the health records of one million Estonian citizens using its proprietary Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI) – a specific successful example of blockchain technology.

Anyway, that particular case is not likely to be global so far – specific complexities around the data origin, ownership and overall governance structure for health data exchange between public and private entities lead to the difficulties created in implementing the similar blockchain model for the health records worldwide.

When speaking about the patient care level, the standard clinical data integration would allow providers to seamlessly use the entirety of a patient’s health data to provide individualized care quickly and easily.
For example, blockchain technology could facilitate and streamline the use of tools like the American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP) Surgical Risk Calculator, as the necessary clinical data inputs could be automatically gathered with access to a patient’s records.

In its entirety, data gathered across a range of personal health and wellness activities, diagnostic and therapeutic services, procedures, laboratory testing’s, radiology, smart devices, and genetic testing services could all be securely incorporated into a patient’s file, accessible to both patients and healthcare institutions. Patients control their own data, while institutions control institutional-level data. Each party involved could give encrypted access keys to providers, researchers, or any other parties they choose, providing a range of access—from minimal amounts of de-identified data to individual-level full-chain access—that can be revoked at any time. Every data interaction is appended to the chain in a time-stamped and stable manner, adding to the system’s intrinsic security.

2) Management systems for fraud & false claims elimination and Clinical trials resolution

For now, nearly 50% of all the clinical trials in the U.S. are known to go unreported, and investigators often fail to share their results (that makes almost 90% of trials on ClinicalTrials.gov results). All of it creates the troubles and safety issues for the patients and knowledge gaps between healthcare stakeholders and health policymakers.

The anarchy could be eliminated with the new system based on the blockchain, supporting the time-stamped permanent records of clinical trials, protocols and results could potentially address the issues of outcome switching, data snooping and selective reporting. This will help in reducing the overall level of fraud and time to time errors in clinical trial records.

Also, the blockchain-based management system could help drive unprecedented collaboration between participants and researchers around innovations in medical research in fields like precision medicine and population health management.
In the United States and many leading world countries of today, nearly up to 10% of healthcare costs are considered as fraudulent, which results in excessive billing or billing for non-performed services. In 2016, for example, the fraud in healthcare industry officially caused around $30 million of loss. The blockchain-based systems can provide realistic solutions for minimizing these medical billing-related frauds. By automating the majority of claim adjudication and payment processing activities, blockchain systems could help to eliminate the need for intermediaries and reduce the administrative costs and time for providers and payers. Blockchain could also have significant ramifications for improving some of the enormous logistical information tracking hurdles of reliability-centered maintenance (RCM) functions. For example, Gem Health, a provider of blockchain application platforms for enterprises, has collaborated with Capital One to develop blockchain-based healthcare claims management solutions.

3) Building the pharmaceutical products supply chain of the next level

Due to recent statistics, the pharmaceutical industry and companies annual loss worldwide are now close to $200 billion due to counterfeit drugs all over the world. Nowadays about 30% of drugs that are sold in developing and third-world countries are considered to be counterfeits. A blockchain system could ensure a chain-of-custody log, tracking each step of the supply chain at the individual drug/product level.

Moreover, the implemented new functionalities such as private keys and smart contracts could help build in proof of ownership of the pharma source at any point in the supply chain and manage the contracts between different parties. For example, a company called iSolve LCC is currently working with multiple pharma/biopharma companies to implement its Advanced Digital Ledger Technology (ADLT) blockchain solutions to help manage drug supply chain integrity.
Blockchain technology also stands to eliminate fraudulent clinics billing cost, for instance, are increasing every year. Crafting a tech-immutable severe blockchain with the help of which the patients are informed of all changes to their health care records and bills would eliminate the possibility of such abuse. The creation of such a system would also increase the safety of the drug and device supply chains. Counterfeit drugs are understood to pose both a public health threat and a significant cost to the pharmaceutical industry, costing the EU area nearly 10 billion Euros per year according to the official data.

4) Medical research implementations and data sharing

The future HC – data blockchains can surely help the next generation of scientific research as the Surgical and medical data of today is encumbered by the difficulty of building large datasets across existing silos of patient data. The cost, labor, and error associated with the problem of manual updating databases like ACS NSQIP, the National Trauma Data Bank, or the National Cancer Database can be avoided if clinical data are integrated into a standard, searchable blockchain records. Moreover, the power of these data will be amplified in coming years if the troves of genetic data from public online sources and phenotypic data from wearable devices can be effectively incorporated into the technology.
The data gathered across a range of personal health and wellness activity, diagnostic and therapeutic services, procedures, laboratory testing, radiology, smart devices, and genetic testing services could all be securely incorporated into a patient’s unique file, accessible to both patients and healthcare institutions.

Everyone can benefit from it – so the patients are in control of their own data, while the medical establishments control data on the institutional level. Each party involved could give encrypted access keys to providers, researchers, or any other parties they choose, providing a range of access—from minimal amounts of de-identified data to individual-level full-chain access—that can be revoked at any time. Every data interaction is appended to the chain in a time-stamped and stable manner, adding to the system’s advanced security measures.

5) Advanced network security

Speaking about the last, though not the least worth attention point of HC-blockchain development features, the security measures are needed to be executed on an entirely new level.

For example, the last reports by Protenus Breach Barometer, there were a total number of security breaches in the US exceeded 450 in 2016, and over 27 million patients had been affected. Moreover, about 43% of these breaches were insider-caused and 27% due to hacking and ransomware.
As the market of Internet of Medical Things evolves and grow every year, the existing computer system of health industry can face a lot of challenges in future due to the overall infrastructure weakness. It is estimated, that by 2020, no less than 20-30 billion of healthcare IoT-connected devices will be used on a global scale.

Blockchain-enabled solutions have the potential to bridge the gaps of device data interoperability while ensuring security, privacy and reliability around IoMT use cases. Companies such as Telstra, which specializes in user biometrics and smart homes, IBM (cognitive Internet of Things) and Tierion (industrial, medical device preventive maintenance) are actively working around these use cases.

Blockchain-based systems that aim to track each step of pharmaceutical procurement and delivery—with each intermediary contributing a cryptographic key to a final product hash are already being developed to eliminate this problem.

There are also security issues related to the centralized nature of these records in their current form, making them frequent targets of cyber attacks. More than one-third of the U.K. National Health Services’ (NHS) trusts report coming under cyber attack, and more than 110 million U.S. citizens had health care data stolen in 2015 alone. The next year the situation even got worse as the hackers targeted several hospitals in so-called “ransomware attacks,” where hackers locked systems until ransoms were paid, with at least one hospital in Los Angeles, CA, admitting to paying to meet hacker demands.

Blockchain-based systems that aim to track each step of pharmaceutical procurement and delivery—with each intermediary contributing a cryptographic key to a final product hash are already being developed to eliminate this problem.

In the nearest future, the health care providers would need encrypted keys to request information from patients, and patients could, in turn, select who has access to their medical records and when. Patients could potentially preauthorize information sharing with legitimate providers in unforeseen emergencies without actually pre-sharing that data, and choose to which, if any, research entities to lend their data.
Healthcare providers would need encrypted keys to request information from patients, and patients could, in turn, select who has access to their medical records and when. Patients could potentially preauthorize information sharing with legitimate providers in unforeseen emergencies without actually pre-sharing that data, and choose to which, if any, research entities to lend their data.

As blockchain technology continues to develop rapidly, it is essential that surgeons and other high-profile medical personnel understand both its capabilities and its limitations.

The more specific benefits of implementation and top existing problems
The HC-systems that currently exist are massively overrated regarding functionality and cost. The patients sometimes are treated without access to medical histories, current medications, and prior imaging studies that could influence patient care at large.

It can save up to $77.8 billion per year in U.S. market, mostly by avoiding redundant tests and imaging studies, and by decreasing administrative expenses as well.

Multiple reasons are standing behind the healthcare sector vulnerability to cyber attacks. The clinics budget shortages, IT-staff incompetence and overall systems insecurity, come to mind in the first place.

But there is always a place for human error which results in malware and ransomware infections due to the incompetence of clinic staff, and the software of unknown origin to be installed on healthcare systems.
Recent research made at Trapx Labs discovered the 63% increase in attacks in 2016. The most significant attacks revolve around the theft of patient records, including 3,6 million records stolen from Banner Health, and 3,4 million patient details leaked by Newkirk products. What drives all these cases? Patient record databases can fetch a decent price on the deep web these days, as long as they contain full information.
Medical device data hijacking remains one of the consistent trends throughout the recent years. A lot of medical devices are connected to the Internet, for some reason, making them prone to attacks from hackers looking to gain remote system access. Medical devices also contain backdoors, which can be accessed through targeted campaigns, malware attacks, and ransomware distribution. For now, addressing this problem is not easy, as the healthcare sector cannot afford downtime due to cyber attacks. In most cases, they will end up paying a ransom to make sure that their systems are left alone.

Conclusion

In healthcare, opportunities exist not only to revolutionize the electronic health information, supply chains, and data ownership, but also to assimilate expansive tranches of data for research purposes by creating technology that is transparent, digital, immutable, secure, and controlled by institutions and, more importantly, by the healthcare industry patients.
That represents another critical step at the beginning of the blockchain revolution at large, and significant obstacles to implementation remain. It is imperative that further research and advocacy efforts led by clinicians underscore potential advances in research and innovation as a result of blockchain technology.

Only time can tell if the blockchain can raise the healthcare field to the new level, but there is no doubt, that its fuel will ignite the overall process of long-needed advance in this industry and many others. The global technology areas covered by blockchain spread beyond the healthcare of course. That also implies the next level of healthcare chips development.
Another significant factor of the biotechnology progress is the biochips technology. Since the end of the 20th century, microchips of different design began to enter the arsenal of techniques used in scientific biomedical laboratories, and then came into diagnostic practice as well. Biochips are a sensitive, highly specific, reliable and fast method of research.

2018   Blockchain   Future   Healthcare