Developers believe participants will be interested in controlling how their private health data is provided to medical laboratories, drug companies, research organizations, and the federal government, while also earning an income

Bitcoins for blood tests, anyone? A new venture is examining the idea of exchanging cryptocurrency, a digital asset, for the results of weekly clinical laboratory tests and photographs of body parts from healthcare consumers. If successful, in a couple of years, people might be able to earn a “basic income” from selling their private health data to pharmaceutical companies, medical laboratories, research organizations, the federal government, and more.

Insilico Medicine, a Baltimore developer of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for research and pharmaceutical companies, and the Bitfury Group, a blockchain technology company based in Amsterdam, Holland, are working together on the project they call Longenesis, a blockchain-based platform that uses AI to collect, store, manage, and trade data, such as medical records and health data.

Marketing Human Life Data

The two participants presented their novel idea this past November in Taipei, Taiwan, at the TaiwanChain Blockchain Summit. They published their report in Oncotarget, an open-access biomedical journal that covers oncology research. The authors of the paper believe blockchain and AI technologies could support patients and physicians in working with medical data.

“There are many companies engaged in the marketplaces of human life data with billions of dollars in turnover. However, the advances in AI and blockchain allow returning the control of this data back to the individual and make this data useful in the many new ways,” Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, founder of Insilico Medicine, told Cryptovest.

“I would love to live in a world where I’m motivated to regularly take all kinds of medical tests for free, I get the data back, and I will be able to sell this data to the marketplace, and I earn all kinds of goods and services—primarily health related,” Zhavoronkov told Motherboard.

Alex-Zhavoronkov-PhD

Alexander Zhavoronkov, PhD, Founder and CEO of Insilico Medicine, told Motherboard, “Right now, it’s difficult to predict. But I think that if [users] submit blood tests, pictures, transcriptomes let’s say on a weekly basis, you probably will be able to earn a good universal basic income.” Zhavoronkov is describing a new business model involving clinical laboratory testing. (Photo copyright: Insilico Medicine.)

Exchanging Human Biomarkers for Digital Coin

Combining blockchain and AI technologies is one of the many emerging technological advances emerging to enhance the medical and pharmaceutical industries.

“Recent advances in machine intelligence turned almost every data into health data. The many data types can now be combined in the new ways: one data type can be inferred from another data type and systems learning to optimize the lifestyle for the desired health trajectory can now be developed using the very basic and abundant data,” noted Polina Mamoshina, research scientist at Pharma AI, a division of Insilico Medicine, during the company’s presentation at TaiwanChain. “Pollen, weather, and other data about the environment can now be combined with the human biomarkers to uncover and minimize the allergic response among the myriad of examples. People should be able to take control over this data.”

Because pharmaceutical companies rely on data mining to obtain individual demographic information and medical records, the growth potential for this type of product is huge.

Clinical Laboratory Test Results Earn LifePound Tokens

Longenesis is still being tested, but Zhavoronkov hopes it will be ready for the public within the next two years. The plan is to utilize blockchain technology to collect and store patient medical data in exchange for their cryptocurrency, known as LifePound.

According to the Longenesis website, “Longenesis is a marketplace, which uses personal health data, transformed into a LifePound token. LifePound is used inside a marketplace as a monetary system, powered by Exonum blockchain technology to keep data secure and transparent. Tokens are distributed between Longenesis marketplace members and are used for transactions between the following elements:

  • Developers;
  • Users;
  • Data providers;
  • Customers; and the,
  • Stock cryptocurrency market.

The developers believe the “Longenesis Data Marketplace will be able to provide new insights in the fields of healthcare research and development. It will provide analysis and recommendations to pharmaceutical companies to help develop new drugs.”

It’s too early to predict whether Longenesis will be successful and catch on with the public. However, the popularity of cryptocurrency, and the opportunity to earn an income from one’s clinical laboratory data, could encourage individuals to participate in this type of endeavor.

In addition, this is a highly unusual and unexpected approach to encourage consumers to undergo regular medical laboratory testing in order to earn payment by a digital currency. It is a reminder of how rapid advances in a myriad of technologies are going to make it possible for entrepreneurs to create new business models that involve clinical laboratory tests and the data produced by such tests.

—JP Schlingman

Related Information:

This Biotech Company Wants You to Give It Selfies and Blood Tests in Exchange for Cryptocurrency

A Decentralized Medical Record Marketplace Powered by Human Data

Blockchain, AI Could Spur Biomedical Research, Insilico Medicine Says

Converging Blockchain and Next-generation Artificial Intelligence Technologies to Decentralize and Accelerate Biomedical Research and Healthcare

Blockchain, Explained