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Analysis of the nuts and bolts of blockchain industry

CryptocurrencyJul 06, 2021 11:01AM ET
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© Reuters. Analysis of the nuts and bolts of blockchain industry

Blockchain is a source of untamed potential for multiple industries. Apart from the possibility to transcend geographical boundaries and attract clients from all across the globe, blockchain-based services may as well be the tipping point in terms of their security, privacy, smart contract and automation capacities, as well as the possibility of leveraging them with other advanced technologies – AI and Big Data. Moreover, by giving clients the possibilities to earn on blockchain mining as well as the coin trading profit, blockchain could forever revolutionize lifestyles due to the unprecedented amount of technological freedom.

According to the data of market research, the size of the global blockchain market is expected to reach the figure of $72 billion by 2026, with a corresponding growth of 51.8% CAGR. In fact, some of the major banks and government institutions have started actively ingraining this trend into their daily practice, showing the first signs towards the main-stream adoption. The blockchain technology also appeals to those who are based in remote and technologically disadvantaged areas of the world, where it could bring a real innovation in terms of the provision of services and the subsequent possibility of growing the economy. All of that could bring a spectacular $1.76 trillion boost to global GDP by 2030.

More than that, blockchain also became a source of reliable and transparent data. With the whole network of users responsible for the transaction verification process, blockchain tolerates no missing or stolen records. This may as well be the reason why blockchain-as-a-service gains traction, expecting to be the most prevalent service within the upcoming years. Considering the variety of other ways blockchain can save money for business, the active implementation of blockchain could bring down the costs on infrastructure by $15bn-$20bn per year from 2022.

Now, I’m here to gather the latest industry insights first-hand from the COO of ClinTex. During the interview, I will try to find out what makes blockchain so distinct from other technical solutions, and how this industry is expected to unfold in the future.

What are the most influential external factors affecting the growth of the blockchain industry on a global level?
It’s been great to see confidence back in the market this year and the rise of excellent crypto and smart contract use-cases in decentralized finance and loaning.

Obviously the DeFi boom was enormous over the 12 months, and as usual with all the new found attention comes regulatory scrutiny, some good (for example — oversight of stablecoin reserves) and some perhaps challenging and affecting the spaces growth when and if regulators attempt to shoehorn such new tech into traditional finance rules.

Outside of the currency and fintech space, blockchain has emerged as a highly promising technology in the IT domain, providing an open, immutable, distributed public ledger that can find powerful application in many industries such as healthcare, insurance, Identity Management and even government services.

All these real world applications current being researched will drive growth into the future and drive the point home that this technology is still even today in its infancy.

How can local industries promote the use of blockchain, thus positively influencing the overall growth of the economy?
Leaving aside the obvious giant DeFi monster in the room and sticking with healthcare - when we look locally at the UK, the blockchain technology market has witnessed huge growth during the COVID-19 pandemic with various hospitals using blockchain technology for tracking the COVID-19 vaccine. Two Hospitals, in Warwick (London) and Stratford-upon-Avon, are using blockchain technology to monitor the storage of the temperature-sensitive COVID-19 vaccine.

Even more locally, at Clintex, our use of blockchain in the CTi data model is based on data standards derived from the existing FDA compliant source systems in pharma. We designed it this way for ease of on-boarding when it comes to the use of blockchain in clinical trials by big Pharma.

What makes blockchain stand out from other advanced technological solutions actively employed by businesses nowadays?
The development of cloud-based computing canceled limits related to storage, flexibility, and cost. It also marked a new era of software innovation, enabling the development of fundamentally new and game-changing cloud-based services like Dropbox (NASDAQ:DBX) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Drive.

Blockchain has even more innovative potential. For us, blockchain is what the cloud was always supposed to be — a truly transparent and interlocking network that excludes the need for a centralized national or transnational authority and resolves the cloud’s most concerning and troubling security risks.

If we speak about the medical industry, what are the important challenges unresolved up to now? How can blockchain be useful in tackling them?
In the Medicines Development industry, the major challenges remain around data quality, data availability, safety and compliance to FDA regulation. Issues around these areas cause delays and sometimes cancellations to clinical trials. This seriously impacts the speed and cost to get a new medicine from lab to patient.

Blockchain offers the ideal solution by addressing a number of key requirements for this type of a tool operating in a critical and regulated industry e.g. audit trails are a required procedure and control for all clinical data. The FDA and other regulatory authorities need to be able to verify the quality and integrity of the data and a pharmaceutical company must, in accordance with Good Clinical Practice (GCP), record all changes to the data, who made the changes and when. A blockchain ledger is the perfect record keeping tool because it does exactly that.

How will the use of blockchain transform the lives of employees of medical sectors? Does it create a need for acquiring additional technical skills?
Blockchain is already transforming the lives of employees in the medical sectors. Given the ability of blockchain technology to enable secure and rapid transactions around the world, much of the efforts in the pharmaceutical industry to leverage its capabilities are focused around improving the supply chain in manufacturing and logistics. With a decentralized blockchain solution, both manufacturers and their clients are able to independently verify the quality and point of origin of drugs quickly and securely.

Blockchain technology also has the potential to help prevent diversion, counterfeiting and tampering, because drug products can be tracked from the time they are produced until the time they reach patients. Any attempts to change records will be visible to all parties immediately.

The hope is that one day blockchain technology will facilitate the management of patient data. However, building the infrastructure to support data sharing and transaction tracking across the pharmaceutical manufacturing supply chain and the wider healthcare system is one of the major limiting factors for implementation of blockchain technology in the pharmaceutical industry — and other sectors.

What made you turn your head to the blockchain?
While the majority of the team have an extensive clinical trial background, my own experience is actually predominantly in financial operations, consumer marketing and of course, digital assets. I’ve been closely following everything in the blockchain space since 2012 and have been involved with cryptocurrency since 2013.

The guys have experienced first hand the problems and delays in clinical trials and is passionate about how data can make a difference – this prompted our combined research back at the ideation stage and it then became obvious that the medium of blockchain can drive this forward by providing an immutable audit trail, and further to that allowing for evolution to a decentralised “clinical intelligence” database.

In what specific ways can smart contracts be useful in medical trials?
A smart contracts ability to perform the secure execution of a contract or a payment based on triggers and milestones in clinical data make introducing that functionality to medical trials something of a no-brainer.

For example, a payment to a doctor conducting a clinical trial can be automatically triggered as pre-set milestones are reached based on data entered and verified. Payment of vendors supporting clinical trials e.g. Lab Services, can also be managed seamlessly with smart contracts based on delivery of the data (e.g. Lab Results) to the pharma company.

It’s pure cost saving by cutting out human middleman services.

In the future, how can the problem of a high turbulence of the cryptocurrency market be resolved? How do you find a way around this challenge with your native token, CTi?
As the cryptocurrency market matures and more regulation is brought forward (love it or hate it!) the volatility in major cap digital asset markets should naturally calm. Although it’s still clearly wildly volatile, it’s less so than it was back in 2013 as can be evidenced by the Bitcoin Volatility Index. We can assume as more corporate entities take part and the market grows, this thread should continue.

In the meantime, ClinTex minimise this for our healthcare organisation clients on-boarding the platform by handling on their behalf. A subsidiary of ClinTex in the UK will act as a brokerage to facilitate that process.

The ClinTex subsidiary will accept fiat for the service and provide the license to the pharma client. This is critical from a customer experience point of view — in order to get the platform into real live clinical trials, the UX has to be seamless for them.

In the background though, the ClinTex brokerage service will be purchasing the CTI tokens for the licence from the open market.

It’s the best of both worlds, a constant volume and buy pressure from the pharma world is brought to the CTI token via the ClinTex subsidiary, while the client sides user experience remains constant and familiar.

What is the future trajectory in development of the blockchain industry – and of ClinTex, in particular?
Blockchain-enabled business models will present a seismic shift to how business is conducted in the future. Its impact on commerce will be game-changing, especially given the increasingly digital global economy and the decentralization of business models and stakeholders enabled by blockchain. New innovation awaits us, disrupting traditional business models across all industries. Specifically for ClinTex in the short term, in learly July, ClinTex are planning a soft launch of our Operational Excellence Application (CTi_OEM). This will be followed closely by our Predictive Analytics application (CTi_PDA) and Patient Retention and Recruitment (CTi_PRR). Following this will be the Clinical Data Visualisation application (CTi_CDV). Our plan is on track to have live pharma client onboarding and revenue generation by end 2022, at which point we will be focused on delivery our vision - New Medicine: Faster, Safer, Smarter.

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