Bitcoin, the leading cryptocurrency of the digital age, has captured the attention of the general public primarily because of the dramatic rise in its value. What most people do not realize is that Bitcoin's rapid growth has demonstrated the value of "blockchain technology." This new technology can and will transform industries, including health care. Here's how:

How Blockchain Protects Bitcoin

The first question that almost everyone has about cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin is how to  avoid counterfeiting. After all, counterfeiting is an ongoing problem for currencies issued by national governments. It seems that a cryptocurrency would be easier to counterfeit because computer files are easy to copy.  In fact, cryptocurrencies built using blockchain are almost impossible to counterfeit, because of decentralization of data.

Bitcoin relies on decentralization to prevent counterfeiting. Instead of a central processing facility that handles all records, information is kept in a continuous database on thousands of computers connected through the Internet.  Each computer has a copy of the database that it cannot change.  Every computer receives regular updates of the database from all the other computers.  Each update is a "block", which leads to the name of this technology solution: blockchain. The accuracy and security of each database is checked every time time a block is added.

If someone finds a way to break into the database on a computer and change it -- e.g., counterfeit Bitcoin -- the network disregards that change because that copy of the database does not match the other sequestered copies. Instead of being compromised by file sharing, security in a blockchain system is actually provided by the sharing of records.  Decentralization is the new way to keep information safe.

Blockchain Is A Significant Change

It's easy to miss how significant this new type of security can be. Consider the early days of the textile industry. Factories were located next to rivers where the flow of water could directly power the machinery. When machines began to run on electricity, the textile industry went though a massive change and moved to locations independent of access to rivers. It became decentralized.

The same thing happened when trucks changed the transportation industry.  Manufacturers used to be located only in cities near railroad lines and terminals. Trucks allowed raw materials and finished products to move anywhere there were roads.  Manufacturing itself became decentralized. With the building of vast new road systems in the 1950s and the ubiquity of personal automobiles, cities also became decentralized giving rise to an entirely new social arrangement -- the suburb.

Blockchain technology, the ability to protect information through decentralization, will have similar impact. Just like an electrical network needs wires, and the trucking industry needs roads, blockchain technology needs platforms.  Blockchain networks can be used for any blockchain application. The Bitcoin network is unique to Bitcoin.

Today, companies that want to use a blockchain system do not need to build their own platforms. Systems such as Ethereum provide the tools for any business to create a custom system for using blockchain technology.

Blockchain Will Impact Industries

The key to understanding how blockchain will transform industries is to remember that blockchain protects information. Bitcoin uses blockchain to protect ownership information, but other types of information are just as valuable. Business reputation is an extremely valuable aspect of branding, and is based on the information that customers and the general public have about a business. A blockchain setup that holds and protects proprietary information can benefit many businesses.  As similar businesses see the benefit of decentralized data protection capacity, blockchain can transform an industry.

Dentacoin - How Blockchain Is Applied To Health Care

Dentacoin, "the blockchain solution for the global dental industry," is the first example of such an industry-wide solution. The first Dentacoin tool within this blockchain protects patient reviews of dental practices. This information is valuable to the dental practice itself, to patients considering using that practice, to professional regulatory boards reviewing licenses, and even to banks considering making a loan to the practice.  Clearly it is also valuable market research data with protected sources.  

Dentacoin is also rewarding those who create this information with the custom ERC20 Dentacoin token. Like Bitcoin, it is a unit of currency used for this data solution. It can be purchased, but it can also be earned by patients who give on-system reviews of their dental treatment. Patient reviews are valuable information in the Dentacoin blockchain. The Dentacoin token is the tool to allocate value to the person who created the feedback and contributed to the improvement of the industry.

Thus, Dentacoin will help create a global community of participants interested in improving the dental industry from all aspects. Patients who have tokens can use them to pay for dental care. Dental practices that accept tokens can use them to buy supplies on specialized industry platforms. And the reciprocity of the blockchain system enhances connection and customer satisfaction. Dentacoin can both improve oral health for patients, and provide essential feedback to the dental practices that participate. The dynamic of rewards, symbolized by the Dentacoin token, is directly linked to the creation and protection of valuable information

Just as the trucking industry transformed transportation, blockchain technology can transform a wide variety of industries. Its elegant technology and highly unusual model for data protection make blockchain ready to be the next big thing in health care.   

Published on: Oct 17, 2017