Exploring and deploying blockchain solutions in the life sciences and healthcare sectors
Blockchain is perhaps best known as the technology on which Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are built. Notwithstanding that adoption in the life sciences and healthcare sectors is still in its relative infancy, companies and other organisations in these sectors are increasingly exploring and deploying blockchain solutions. Here, legal experts James Baillieu and Jonathan Emmanuel discuss how businesses are increasingly exploring blockchain and what opportunities it presents.
Blockchain – what is it?
A blockchain is a distributed or shared database or ledger that sets out a list of transactions that have been validated by a peer-to-peer network. The peers in this network, often referred to as “nodes”, are computers that have downloaded and implemented the relevant blockchain software. A collection of nodes connected over the internet forms the blockchain network. Each connected node downloads and stores a copy of the database and can perform tasks such as sending transactions for recording on the blockchain.
There are different blockchain networks available that can be exploited to solve different problems. At one end of the spectrum, you have public blockchain networks where anyone can join. Public blockchain networks are truly decentralised. They have no central authority and there are limited or no contracts in place governing the rights and remedies of participants.