The Idea for HealCoin, Part II
orrible Diseases and the Hard Truth.
Confronted with a poor little child in the Andes Mountains struggling with a hereditary disease, the question to me was: how can I help? Ease the pain? Pay for a doctor? Buy medication – if it even exists? And just for one kid, or what about the millions more out there? None of these made real sense, since at best they addressed symptoms, not the cause of the disease. Healing seemed out of the question, but just alleviating the pain for the few would not do.
Healing it had do be. And it had to be for the masses.
But what did I know about diseases? Which one was it anyway? And how could a child in a remote and poor area get state-of-the-art treatment, let alone become a priority? Let’s face it, the majority of advanced medical treatments and cures are expensive. Therefore, they are available mostly to Caucasians living in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand, increasingly to people living in wealthy countries in East and Southeast Asia, and to the rich upper-class in the rest of the world.
It had to be equitable, help the poor and the rich, and do so globally.
An additional problem was how to get treatment to the people who need it. Isn’t that what health care systems are for? Largely government-run bureaucracies, mostly centralized health insurances or socialized approaches? With advanced medication developed by multi-billion-dollar conglomerates in multi-year R&D efforts and drawn-out test and approval processes? Highly regulated and prohibitively expensive? No country on Earth spends more money on health care than the United States, in absolute numbers and per head. And still Obamacare seems to be falling apart, as did the system before. And most other “advanced societies” are struggling with the same problem. All my family members that suffer or have succumbed to horrible genetically driven diseases like cancer, MS, Lupus or Alzheimer’s did so in such societies with advanced health care systems.
We need decentralized disruption, personalized and optimized.
The challenge did not end there. How could we still protect the privacy of people? Leave us as individuals in charge of the core information that makes us who we are? How to prevent Big Brothers Mark and Tim and Jeff from knowing even more about us, eventually controlling our lives? Or maybe even Xi, Barrack, Donald or Angela? Or criminals or terrorists?
The solution needed to be distributed, self-organizing, and outside centralized control.
This was still not enough, though. If we were to go for it, who would be paying for this? Sequencing a billion people at a cost of a few thousand dollars each? Spending trillions of dollars? And then paying to store a data volume of unsurpassed size, maybe even considering Google, Facebook, NSA, or MSS?
Only technology could help us here, and leveraging capabilities and scale so far mostly used for advertising or top-down control. We need a new bottom-up economic model to pay for it.
Falling in Place.
And then things fell in place very quickly. A focus on healing, for everybody, equitable, disrupting and decentralized, using a new economic model, and, and, and … but isn’t all of that where today’s technologies are heading?!
I had studied and written about the convergence of decentralized technologies and how they disrupt and transform societies: Big Data. Deep Learning. Artificial Intelligence. Distributed Computing. Self-organizing systems. NoSQL databases. CRISPR/Cas9. Gene sequencing and gene editing. Encryption. Portable devices. Massive data sharing using social media. 4G and 5G mobile networks. Smartphones. Biometrics. Cloud computing. The Internet of Things. Bitcoin. Ethereum. IPFS. And on top of that the new economic models of crypto-tokens and crypto currencies.
For years this is what I had studied, thought about, some of it even prototyped. And now it all came together.
Why not take the best of that and combine all of it? The pieces are right there, in front of us!
- Eliminate the energy and computing and data storage waste of Bitcoin, and let miners do something useful. Then move even away from traditional Blockchains into more advanced and scalable solutions like IOTA’s Tangle, or a more capable Ethereum derivative.
- Use the crazily fast advances in gene sequencing, smartphones, mobile computing, and portable devices to scale out and dramatically reduce costs of genome data collection.
- Use AI and Deep Learning to finally go far beyond advertising and controlling people’s lives to positively affect every human’s life deep down where it counts for everybody, every minute of the day. Democratize AI and biotech and enable and empower every lab, and any smart and capable scientist sitting at home, to find treatments and cures.
- Leverage crypto-currencies to free us from the limits, if not shackles, of centralized 19th and early-20th century-style health care bureaucracies.
- Work with the arguably biggest super-computer and data storage capabilities of the world, the crypto-currencies mining community, to “heal everybody”.
- Encrypt data and use biometric identifiers to personalize data while keeping the individual human in charge.
- And so on. And on. And on. It all fits together.
You have a disease? Let’s heal it. With you, your “identity”, your “ID” in the center.
And so the last question loomed. How could I possibly think about pulling this off? Aren’t so many of these pieces unproven at the scale we require and for the purpose we need?
That one was the easiest of all. I look at Silicon Valley’s Founders Fund, Elon Musk and Peter Thiel and Steve Jobs and how they go for the Big Ideas and do not care about negativity. Personal Computing for everybody? Smartphone. Going to the Mars? SpaceX. Decentralized energy production, storage and use? Tesla. And then the improbable success of the Human Genome Project in 1999, which seemed behind schedule until it was completed ahead of schedule.
It’s a no-brainer. Healid it is.