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How will Blockchain and the token economy make us healthier?

By Catalina Buitrago B.

Photo by Nenad Novaković on Unsplash

The “Build” Market Community

Recently, we all have experienced the intense hug of a bear market. The entire economic system is being challenged by the devastating effects of a pandemic and at the same time reinventing itself to face the challenges of a post-pandemic era. All the current situations that we are experiencing, are just a confirmation on how interconnected we are, and how we can all benefit or be affected by scattered and/or massive world events. All of this led me to asking: instead of surviving in a bear or a bull market, why don’t we thrive in creating a build market?

When I first heard about this concept in a Podcast, it really opened my mind to a wide range of possibilities and many ideas came to the surface, however, one really resonated within and inspired me to write this article. Since I started immersing in the Blockchain ecosystem, thanks to the network created by the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management’s Blockchain center, I’ve been nourishing myself with information on how it works, the infinite possibilities that exist to materialize any project that one can imagine, while simultaneously, meeting unbelievably smart and kind human beings coming from a large variety of backgrounds building a great worldwide community.

Health and Wellness built in Blockchain

After working for more than ten years in the banking sector, I came to appreciate how valuable health and wellness are; they both play a core role in our performance in almost every task to which we commit, whether it be in our working or our personal environment. Thanks to this awakening, I realized how impactful the support of a community is.  This support is necessary if we are to be successful in planting the seeds to accomplishing our goals, understanding different subjects (education), acquiring healthy habits and being part of a network of people who shares common values and interests with us whilst being rewarded for it. The Blockchain ecosystem is the underlying technology that is allowing all those seeds to be planted, whose fruits will be gathered in hopefully a decade or less.

We all have heard of Blockchain’s dark side: how cryptocurrencies are being used in the black market or how scammers and hackers have managed to destroy the reputation of this technology, yet it has still managed to survive and succeed. There is, however, more to blockchain, as I am sure many experts and enthusiasts will agree.

About a month ago, I came across an article about “Incentivizing Healthy Behaviors With Blockchain Technology” published by Nasdaq and I started to do research on the subject. It completely blew my mind that a software company called Mosio launched an app that runs in the Ethereum blockchain named Clinicoin. It is based on a proof of engagement system, where users participate to earn coins,  with the purpose of providing a secure channel that allows communication between the health and wellness industry providers, developers and users in an effort to improve global health and wellness.

The Wellness industry is worth more than $3.7 trillion worldwide, here final users, the ones who pay for the services, probably are not being rewarded for creating the majority of value of a very wealthy industry, one might wonder how all the actors in this story benefit. I could not picture another option better than Blockchain to recognize the real value users add to companies. Thanks to the tokens and smart contracts created under this technology, the proof of engagement models are possible. In this case, for the health and wellness industry, value is found in different sources. Statistics for example, are vital to conducting research on new treatments, new medicines, new biohacking technologies, among others. Interesting to note that we, the patients, the users, are the providers of such information. We, as individuals, carry all sorts of valuable data that is important for the evolution of our kind, for us to be healthier, for us to heal ourselves and for multiplying the effect on others, and we should be rewarded for that, not necessarily only in currency, but with other intangible benefits as well.

The Role of AI and Measurement Devices

This year in May, The Economist published in its Technology Quarterly issue “The Quantified self” compiling a series of articles on AI, wearable devices and apps from where data is being utilized as a source for a sizable amount of medical research. Regardless the developer’s brand, academics analyze data from any tracker which measures heart rate, physical activity or sleep activity and are able to predict future infections and possible illnesses with disease-surveillance algorithms. Although I found this fascinating, it is important to be aware that to conduct these types of research, individuals need to sign up or download the apps and grant permission to share their data for research studies.  Sadly, not many are willing to do so, or if they are initially willing, they drop out before the study finishes. Here is where the Blockchain proof of engagement models and tokens are of significant importance.

Clinicoin app is one of the pioneers utilizing blockchain technology and has a very well structured model that includes the core parts in the supply chain of the Health and Wellness industry. They have created their own tokens, CLIN, to use as means of reward within their space.

  • Users can be paid for going to a doctors appointment, for engaging in physical and mindful activities (meditation, yoga) by connecting to health tracking apps and devices, and filling out surveys. By participating in this proof of engagement, patients can mine their own CLINs, which they can further use in health education, consulting online physicians, purchasing wellness apps, as well as in many other ways.
  • Developers can connect their software or their apps to the Clinicoin platform and from there benefit for (from?) the users activity and purchases.
  • Healthcare and research providers benefit from a secure platform to communicate with users, gather data, and “ensure they are meeting health and research goals by offering CLIN tokens as incentives” as it is stated in the Clinicoin website.

I have no affiliation to or with Clinicoin in any sense, however, for me it was the best use case so far to develop my thesis. Health is one of, if not the most, valuable assets of human kind. Hence, we must preserve it and develop technologies and medicines that allow us to heal, we need to battle against all sorts of illnesses, viruses and bacteria and to stay healthy as well. At the same time, through this healing process we must find sustainable ways of reaching a wellness state that also protect our home: The planet earth.

A Space to Be Creative

Finally, how are you going to build in this market? I invite you to be part of projects, ideas, companies such as Clinicoin to reach a critical mass of users in order to succeed. The topic for me was health and wellness, but it could be different for you. What is your passion, purpose? In what are you an expert? What motivates you? Climate change? Education? Payments? Engineering? Robotics? AI? Financial Access? Investment? Gaming? Any other? How will the participation be set up? Play-to-earn, learn-to-earn, meditate-to-earn, innovate-to-earn? Blockchain offers endless options to build, you just have to be curious, creative and eager to learn.

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