Apr 23, 2018 · 2 min read

what can genomic blockchain do?

Like other blockchains, the genomic blockchain is also a distributed, peer-to-peer, virtually unhackable, immutable, permanent record of transactions. Typically, blockchains store data — like financial transactions. The genomic blockchain stores genomic data.

If people get tested and want to always be able to access that data, then store it on the Gene-Chain free of charge. Their data will be more secure than most other solutions, including carrying around a USB stick which could lose. On the Gene-Chain, people data is virtually unhackable, encrypted, and persons can provide a time-limited key to their doctor or others with whom they want or need to share the data. People can also choose exactly what part of their genome to share. They can also track misuse of that data, which has a unique signature.

Scientists will have access to the data and the metadata — the data about the data, such as age, ethnicity, gender, etc. — and can search for potential subjects whose data might be useful and interesting for their studies. That search reveals nothing specific or personal about the donor, and it does not give them access to the genomic data itself. But they can make a request to the donor, who can then choose whether to allow its use, negotiate terms for getting paid for that use (possibly), and finally go through the ethical consent procedure necessary for their particular jurisdiction.

All of this will mean a real revolution in genomic science, as well as provide donors of data with greater protection than ever. Blockchain also enables a lot of that functionality because one of its strengths, besides extremely strong encryption, is managing transactions. Research institutes and companies with large amount of genomic data can purchase licenses to store their data without worrying about the ethics, which is baked into the product and its transactions, allowing them to instead focus on the science.