HEALTH 2.0 13TH ANNUAL CONFERENCE | SANTA CLARA, CA | SEPT. 16-18, 2019

Is Blockchain the Answer to DNA Privacy Concerns?

Nebula Genomics, a blockchain company trying to accelerate the growth and use of genomic data in a secure way, won the 2018 Health 2.0 Launch! Contest. Health 2.0 co-founders Matthew Holt (left) and Indu Subaiya (right), presented the award to Nebula Genomics co-founder and CEO Kamal Obbad.

By Heather Munro, freelance writer focusing on emerging technology.

In the 11 years since 23andme arrived on the scene, genetic testing has gone from a fun way to learn more about yourself to big business. The long game, according to Scientific American, is medical research, with the company vying to become “the Google of personalized healthcare.” Now the race is on to gather enough genome sequences to create a viable genetic marketplace of data the medical community can use to help cure diseases.

Some in the industry, however, are drawing worrisome comparisons to Google. The search engine giant, if you’ll remember, touted itself as an easy way for users to find information, and now makes billions using the information it gathers on its users to help advertisers. So it’s no surprise that the general public is concerned over how their personal genetic data will be used.

Enter Nebula Genomics. The winner of the 2018 Health 2.0 Launch! Contest promises to reward consumers who help contribute to medical breakthroughs by sharing their genetic data. Their blockchain technology “eliminates middlemen and connects data buyers directly with data owners, who store and control their own data.” It’s quite a business proposition.

Kamal Obbad, Nebula’s co-founder and CEO, told HIMSS.TV how his company will help consumers understand consent and the risks to consider before giving someone access to their data. To learn more, watch Genomics startup bets on blockchain for data sharing platform.

And stay tuned to learn more about the potentially disruptive technology hitting the stage at this year’s Launch! at the Health 2.0 Fall Conference this September. To get updates on when you can register or apply to compete, sign up here.

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