Pharma Blockchain Bootcamp – Speakers Perspectives on Blockchain


IEEE SA is pleased to support the Pharma Blockchain Bootcamp presented by DisruptiveRX. The event provides an introduction to blockchain technology and the key areas where applications could have a significant impact in securing, managing and leveraging of data throughout the enterprise from R&D to clinical to commercialization. Key issues to be addressed: what exactly is blockchain and why is it considered a disruptive innovation, wherein the pharma enterprise and what can blockchain enhance; the business, legal, and regulatory considerations with implementation and more.

Here, speakers were asked to discuss the technical merits of their presentations at DisruptiveRX. Leonard Kish, Co-Founder, YouBase, provides his perspective on Blockchain by addressing the following questions.

  1. What is blockchain in your terms? 

Blockchain is a a shared and unchangeable list of addresses, events and timestamps that a computer network agrees are true and valid. The addresses are public private key pairs that could belong to people or objects. The events could be transactions, or a bit of content or even code. The list is verified and maintained by every computer on the network.

  1. How will it change the way the world works?  

Having a single, trusted “version of reality” that can’t be changed has big implications.  For many of our trusted institutions, this is a core part of why they exist, from banks, to governments (think about providing your birth certificate or the deed to your home). If we can trust the protocol of blockchain to establish the trust needed between individuals to do business, we can decentralize a lot of how we do things far beyond just banking.  We can sell, buy, trade, provide services, and coordinate activities easier. We’ll simply be able to do more, faster with lower risk across a wide variety of use cases.

  1. What type of standards/open source bases will need to exist for your view to be realized?

Blockchain is largely open source. It couldn’t have reached critical mass any other way. Each node in a bitcoin network has to be open and available so people can implement them quickly, and the same for individuals and their wallets. Openness and open source is another layer consensus-driven trust. Part of the issues that have come up, such as block size, require all nodes to “hard fork” which, in a network without governance, becomes a real challenge. Changes will always be needed, improvements will always be needed, and that will require some governance, but mixing in governance with the open, peer to peer ethos of blockchain will be challenging. The key will be to do it in a way that supports the culture, how do we get to consensus-driven governance that’s aligned with the principles of the system?

leonardkish_photo_smallLeonard Kish, MBA, MSIS, is a regular writer, blogger, and contributor to and The Health Care Blog and has become a leading advocate for patient engagement and the decentralization of health care system. He has advised multiple leading companies driving the digital health revolution and is currently an advisor to Self Care Catalysts, a patient behavioral analytics company and is also a Co-founder of YouBase.

He has a breadth of experience across, healthcare, biomedical science and software platform development.

Mr. Kish received his undergraduate degree in Zoology from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and then continued on to receive a Master of Business Administration degree, a Master of Science degree in Information Systems, and a Master in Biomedical Sciences degree from the University of Colorado in Denver.

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