Let’s start with the problematic scenario.

A medical researcher stands behind the podium at a prestigious healthcare conference and proclaims that the “Kill Cancer Blockchain” will revolutionize the clinical trials process. The audience erupts with enthusiasm and begins to believe in this new “blockchain” concept.

Most of the healthcare conference attendees are unfamiliar with the nuances of blockchain. Little do they know, the researcher holds 100,000 “Kill Cancer” tokens and other cryptos in a cold storage wallet.

Disruption, come hither

Sure, that future may be exaggerated, but it’s one that might be worth considering.

In the fall of 2016, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), a division within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, challenged industry, academia and developers to a blockchain contest.

The ONC solicited white papers on subjects including patient-reported outcomes, interoperability, healthcare finance and clinical research. Over 70 white papers entered the competition and the contest helped to springboard healthcare into the world of blockchain. Furthermore, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2017 annual conference, attended by over 40,000, held a full day Blockchain in Healthcare workshop which sold out.

In 2016, Distributed Health, a healthcare-specific blockchain conference, spawned as well as others, and they grew and gained momentum in 2017.

And this is likely to continue as entrepreneurial concepts are finding fertile ground at the intersection of healthcare and blockchain. However, changing the course of a slowly moving, highly regulated, behemoth takes time.

Medical claims and billing with a built-in fraud prevention blockchain, supply chain management to help prevent phony medications, medical devices with IoT integration, the verification of provider credentials across state lines, private and secure health information exchange with an immutable audit trail, all could cut overall medical cost and improve efficiency.

These are just a few use-cases that blockchain will transform. And many have not been thought of yet, but they are coming…

Unsurprisingly, a plethora of startups are grasping at the opportunity.

For example, Health Nexus from SimplyVital Health is a healthcare-grade blockchain with protocol-level governance and validated HIPAA-compliant miners. The protocol is a fork from ethereum and the smart contracts and apps require Health Cash, the Health Nexus token, to run.

Other healthcare companies or researchers can build apps on Health Nexus blockchain for free. Moreover, many other startups are building on ethereum and initiating their own ICOs. The tokens or coins are then listed on exchanges and made available for traders, investors and speculators.

Conflicts of interest

Indeed, a tsunami of blockchain-related literature and presentations touting the revolution of healthcare is coming and the ensuing conflicts of interest statements will inherently become opaque and cryptic.

Digital cryptocurrencies have seen an astronomic increase in monetary valuation. As this valuation may be rooted in the successes of the blockchain, should presenters of blockchain-based research and applications disclose cryptocurrency holdings and their amounts?

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors’ Uniform Disclosure Form for Potential Conflicts of Interest is the de-facto standard, and it is used by many academic journals to include the likes of the New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, Radiology and the British Medical Journal.

The purpose of this form is to provide conference attendees and readers of manuscripts with information about the author’s other interests that could influence how they receive and understand the work. This form does not address cryptocurrencies specifically but does state that all monies received that can be relevant should be disclosed. It continues to state that it is best to disclose than not to, if there is any question about a conflict of interest.

Cryptocurrencies fall into the “other” category. The goal is to provide transparency to allow the objective consumption of the presented material.

Yet, as blockchain efforts expand, we face the question of cryptocurrency holdings as a potential conflict of interest to investigators looking to further its role in healthcare.

This problem is multifaceted, based not only on the financial ties between cryptocurrency and the successes and failures of blockchain, its platforms and applications, but the inherent anonymity of the investment. Like most ethical concepts, this consideration came about through retrospective analysis of past projects and the implications on future blockchain-based research, presentations and publications.

The challenge is the analysis and difference of opinion on the question of whether the new champions of blockchain in healthcare should disclose the holding of cryptocurrencies in their personal digital wallets or in any form of fund, and should they disclose the amount?

Technologies such as immunotherapy, artificial intelligence and CRISPR will also likely change healthcare, but they will follow the convention rules regarding conflicts of interest, meaning authors and presenters will disclose associations with commercial entities or financial support before peer-reviewed publications or professional speaking engagements.

Most traditional financial assets and associations are easily traceable through tax records and statements, which result in a feeling of greater responsibility to disclose. However, the inherent secrecy and anonymity of cryptocurrency raise questions about traceability and disclosure in general.

Conclusion and solution

It’s a worthy question, and one I’m thinking about as I weight the benefits of the technology.

I am actively brainstorming healthcare related use cases, beginning to build proofs-of-concept and submitting abstracts to medical societies. I am promoting the use of blockchain, yet it is not clear if I must disclose these potential conflicts.

I believe cryptocurrency holdings should be considered for disclosure when presenting research and potential applications of blockchain technologies in healthcare in any form. These disclosures are not meant to question a person’s integrity or hinder progress, but instead to allow for the consumption of information in an unbiased manner.

A conflict of interest later discovered can lead to a retracted journal article or a discredited presenter.

Regardless, if professional societies require presenters to disclose coins of interest or not, I encourage transparency.

Radical transparency can only help to further the adoption of blockchain applications in the healthcare settings, and healthcare hungers for disruption. If the “Kill Cancer” tokens are coming, then there may be many buyers, and with a cause like that, who wouldn’t want to be among them?

John McAfee gave an exclusive interview to CCN about his crusade to remove the fees and authority of centralized exchanges. He discussed more details about his plans on shedding light on scams within cryptocurrency exchanges.

HitBTC Draws the Most Criticism

As CCN reported, one of the most offending exchanges is HitBTC, according to McAfee. The high fees that the exchange levies on traders is “egregious.”

McAfee recently tweeted about his frustration with HitBTC and asked users to send their complaints to an email address that he provided in the tweet. In the interview, McAfee said that that the address “received thousands of emails within hours. Users described how they had coins that went missing, balances didn’t add up, and support was unresponsive. The fees were outrageous also.”

Too Many Fly-by-Night Exchanges

McAfee is concerned that many exchanges “are not accountable to anyone and exit scam with people’s funds with no repercussions. Many don’t even have an address or President and you can’t find who’s behind the exchange.”

McAfee is concerned for exchange users who have very few weapons when they feel mistreated. Since it is so difficult to find the entity to sue, McAfee said that he plans to take the complaint’s to the site’s website hosting provider.

Centralized Points of Failure Aren’t Healthy for the Crypto Ecosystem

It’s not only HitBTC that McAfee is concerned about. He is concerned about all centralized exchanges and the increasing power they yield. As the point of entry for newcomers, centralized exchanges can leave an impression.

McAfee has been a consistent, outspoken critic to regulators. In June, as CCN reported, he ran afoul with the SEC over ICO promotions and spoke out publicly against the regulatory body.

In the interview, it was clear that his beliefs about central government regulations plays a big role in all of his work. As a firm believer in decentralization, powerful exchanges pose a threat, according to McAfee.

McAfee said in the interview:

Centralized exchanges can be shut down at any moment by a country’s government or legislators. They can just show up at the office and shut it down whenever they want at any time. Customers would be left in a tough spot if this occurred.

Decentralized Exchanges Are a Good Answer

Asked whether he believed decentralized exchanges are a good solution, he said:

Yes. With decentralized exchanges, there’s no single owner. If a user is forced off the exchange, everyone can still trade. They have the blockchain and trading platform on their devices still.

However, he did concede that many issues still need to be worked out with decentralized exchanges, such as fiat deposits/withdrawals. He believes that these issues will be ironed out soon — “they have to be,” he said. As CCN reported, the benefits of decentralizing exchanges are numerous, from better security to greater user control.

His numerous projects are based on the concept of decentralization of cryptocurrency infrastructure. Though he stated that he no longer writes software himself, he hand-picks the best software engineers for his projects.

His latest project, BitFi, is a secure, cold-storage wallet, with “no memory or applications.” The low attack surface of the wallet makes it stand out as more secure than competitors. He also recently put up a $100,000 bug bounty program for anyone who can hack it, as he stands by his claim that the device is “unhackable.”

Featured image from Flickr/Gage Skidmore.

A $1 billion Chinese blockchain fund launched in April has denied a report that the local government will withdraw its financial support following the leak of a recording involving a former partner of the fund.

The news report in question, published by China Business Journal on Thursday, stated that the Hangzhou city government has demanded that the Xiong’An (or Grand Shores) Blockchain Fund stop promoting itself by describing itself as a government-backed fund. The Journal added that the local government has also decided that it will not contribute further capital to the project.

If true, the news marks a notable withdrawal from the initial plan revealed in April in which the local government agreed to contribute 30 percent of the fund. So far the government has apparently allocated 30 million yuan (around $4 million), the report said.

Citing an anonymous source close to Li Xiaolai, a well-known Chinese crypto investor and a former managing partner of the fund, the news source indicated that the government’s decision to withdraw came after a recording of a private meeting at which Li made controversial comments was leaked early this month – statements deemed  to have had a negative impact on the company and the city government.

According to China Business Journal, though, Li responded that the fund “is not suspended.” He further clarified to CoinDesk that, by that, he means the government has neither suspended Grand Shores’ operations nor pulled out its future funding support.

Later on Thursday night, Grand Shores Blockchain Fund also issued a statement denying the report, saying they have not received any suspension notice from the government.

Dominoes image via Shutterstock

July 26 might be forever remembered as one of the darkest days in Facebook’s history – or, at the very least, for its shareholders.

An otherwise unassuming Thursday, the day saw the social media giant lose more than $120 billion in market value, the biggest loss in one day for any U.S. traded company. According to Bloomberg, the loss is a direct result of the company’s second-quarter report on sales and user growth figures, which fell short of analyst projections, along with months of scandals and criticism regarding data privacy.

But if the social media giant was already having its worst day ever, crypto advocates were there to make it (maybe) just a little worse.

If you’re wondering how Facebook’s loss could possibly be associated with cryptocurrency, the answer is simple: it all started with a comparison between the values of bitcoin and Facebook.

Of course, crypto supporters would not let it go as cryptocurrencies have long been criticized for being volatile by traditional market views.

The seemingly tenuous nature of Facebook’s stock price led some to draw comparisons with the volatility seen in cryptocurrency markets. As Romain Dillet put it, bitcoin “feels like a stable asset” by comparison.

Interestingly, as many can still recall the feud between Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg and the Winklevoss brothers from the award-winning movie The Social Network, members in the crypto community also gave a shout-out to Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss brothers, who are now among some of the biggest crypto investors as well as co-founders of Gemini, a New York-based cryptocurrency exchange,

In the words of one observer, the reversal of Facebook’s market fortunes represented a dose of “sweet revenge.”

(The Winklevoss brothers, as CoinDesk reported Thursday, suffered a blow as the SEC once again shot down their bid to have a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) listed.)

Not everyone was buying the Facebook stock and cryptocurrency comparison, however.

Some Twitter users who said they believe that conflating Facebook and cryptocurrency is a meaningless exercise.

As of the time of writing on Friday, Facebook’s stock hadn’t seen much of a recovery, according to data from Google. Yet the plunge seems to have been arrested, offering, at the very least, a possible reprieve from the crypto-critics.

The Tron price strengthened against the U.S. Dollar on Sunday, helped by strong fundamentals, while the rest of the cryptocurrency market remained stagnant.

Tron Price: Technical Indicators

According to the data available on Bitfinex, Tron’s TRX token jumped 8.5% against USD, while other top-tier cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and ethereum, continued to trend sideways. From the technical point of view, TRX/USD has already crossed above its near and medium-term moving averages, while the pair’s RSI and Stochastic indicators are also indicating a potential upside extension. In the chart below, one can notice the 100H MA trend (represented in blue) crossing above the 200H MA (depicted in red). The crossover indicates a strong bullish sentiment.

The TRX/USD is now supported by an ascending trendline, represented in purple, while its intraday positions are reflected with the help of a Fibonacci retracement level graph (drawn from 0.0436-high to 0.0328-low).

Tron Price: Fundamental Factors

However, the key driver behind the TRX/USD upside could be more fundamental than technical.

Fundamental Factor 1: Smooth Mainnet Migration

Tron lately began to migrate from the ERC20 to the TRON20 standard, a native coin for the Tron independent mainnet. As of now, the migration is reported to be running smoothly, with 351 nodes and the block height is 9,294,675 being migrated already. The round has support from Binance, Gate.io, Max, Bitfinex, HitBTC and other leading exchanges.

Fundamental Factor 2: BitTorrent Acquisition

Justin Sun, the founder of the decentralized web content project, had recently confirmed their acquisition of BitTorrent, the world’s leading torrent client with over 150 million active monthly users. Speculations point to traders’ growing interest in the TRX token post-BitTorrent acquisition, the result of which could have influenced the rally mentioned above.

The BitTorrent team confirmed two days after the acquisition that they would be candidates to Tron’s Super Representative elections.

Fundamental Factor 3: Tron Virtual Machine Launch

As the TRX price climbs, another essential factor that could be acting as a ladder is the launch of Tron’s Virtual Machine (or TVM). The new testnet is scheduled to go live on July 30, and, according to the company’s latest announcements, is 80% faster than Ethereum. The statement confirms a hype that is traditionally associated with the high performing assets in both traditional and crypto-trading ecosystems. If what Tron claims is true, then the project could attract developers that are currently using Ethereum to run and create smart contracts.

Fundamental Factor 4: Hype around Secret Project

Tron’s hype machine is getting further support from a so-called secret project that will be announced alongside the TVM launch. According to Justin Sun, their secret project will add over 100 million active users to the Tron platform. The community is blindfolded and waiting for a surprise package, with some even speculating that Tron will partner with Alibaba, a world-renowned Chinese e-commerce company.

Could Tron Fundamentals Change?

Despite the hype followed by a TRX/USD upside momentum, many users have expressed their concerns over Tron’s style of putting mouth before action.

As Tron and its community prepare for July 30th, only July 31st will have the answer about TRX’s interim price action. We will continue to monitor this story for further updates.

Featured Image from Shuttersetock

 

We appear to be in the season of predictions as various stakeholders in the bitcoin ecosystem are finding their voices again. The reason for this isn’t far from the recent bullish run of the bitcoin price that has seen it test the $8,500 mark before retracing and trading around the $8,200 mark as at the time of writing.

The last time that bitcoin crossed the $8,000 mark before now was in May 2018, after which it pulled back below the $6,000 mark. Overall, the year 2018 has been one of a downward trend for the cryptocurrency after making an all time high of almost $20,000 just before the beginning of the year.

bitcoin price

Amidst all the volatility and massive sell-off, several predictions have emerged from different angles both in support and against the sustainability of the cryptocurrency. Some of the predictions have regarded bitcoin as a bubble, especially during its swift downward movements. However, even in the course of the downtrend, a number of enthusiasts maintained their forecast of an eventual bottom in sight while insisting on a pending massive upward movement.

With the most recent bounce off the price region of $6,000, the voices of the enthusiasts and those who support the cryptocurrency have become even louder. While speaking on CNBC’s Fast Money, Spencer Bogart of Blockchain Capital reinforced his prediction that bitcoin is bound for higher price levels in the near future as he thinks that the pullback momentum may have been exhausted.

Bitcoin Price Waiting for a Catalyst

Bogart noted that bitcoin is in a kind of tinderbox right now and waiting for reasons to go higher. Global currency wars, trade wars, an ETF approval are some of the possible catalysts noted by Bogart that may trigger the next upward movement in the price of bitcoin.

Even though there have been speculations on a possible ETF approval in the near future, Bogart sees 2019 as a more realistic timeline for that to happen. However, he points out that while SEC’s ETF approval remains pending, other vehicles are already granting access to both retail and institutional investors into the ecosystem. He explained that retail investors are already getting exposure through bitcoin companies like Coinbase, institutional investors are gaining access through companies like Bitwise Asset Management, and Europe already has ETPs.

The rise in level of activity within the cryptosphere is not limited to the big players alone, neither are they restricted within the bounds of expert predictions either. There seems to be an increased vibe in bitcoin and crypto activities on a global level. Services providers in the form of exchanges and trading signal providers around the industry seem to have upped their ante again after a dampened first half of the year.

Investors Need to Prioritize Security

Another area where participants are also renewing their concern is on issues of security. It can be recalled how the increase in number of cases of hacks and attacks on exchanges and crypto sites rose in correlation with the rally of 2017. It is only natural to also expect bad players who anticipate another price surge to see the industry as yet another potential profitable target.

Therefore, it is apparent that while the bitcoin price is expected to skyrocket by many, the interest of hackers and fraudsters will follow in the same direction. What this means for “hodlers” is to take appropriate measures in safeguarding their assets and investments. Also in order to avoid the fangs of the marauding fraudsters and scammers, proper due diligence is advised prior to any investment venture, especially for newbies.

The bitcoin and cryptocurrency ecosystem is dynamic and remains a continuously evolving environment. Bogart describes it as a quintessential disruptive innovation that is going to favour startups rather than entrenched innovation. As the overall long term forecast portends an imminent disruption, the ability to predict momentary swings remains an essential aspect for most investors who seek the best avenues for maximum profit.

Featured Image from Shutterstock