Framing itself as “A protocol for the genomics age,” Nebula Genomics proposes to use blockchain technology to make genomic data more easily accessible to both individuals and big industries alike. Recognizing the need for privacy in highly sensitive DNA data, Nebula Genomics offers a way to standardize, centralize, and acquire genomic data while simultaneously protecting user privacy.
Nebula Genomics: what’s their goal?
According to the Nebula Genomics’ whitepaper, genomic sequencing was first attempted in 2001 and cost a whopping $3 billion. Now, whole genome sequencing allows researchers an exciting way to sequence large amounts of DNA from patients. With advances in technology, Nebula estimates that within a few years, this price will drop to below $100. They’re looking to capitalize on better technology and help individuals and industries meet without a middleman to hone genomic data.
Part of their goal is to aggregate a huge amount of genomic data on the Nebula network. By doing this, they hope to solve the issue of fragmentation of genomic data by having it in one place. In addition, they hope to standardize the data to promote ease of use.
Who would use Nebula Genomics?
Though it may seem abstract, whole genome sequencing offers an incredibly powerful asset to individuals. By allowing people to sequence their DNA-data, people can get a glimpse into what exercise they need for their body type, what diet is optimal for them, what medicines are appropriate for them to take, and what diseases might be lurking on the horizon. As an example, the Nebula Genomics Whitepaper mentions that mutations in specific genes can show a high predilection for certain types of cancer. Checking for these variants with genomic sequencing can offer people the chance to take preventive measures.
And those planning to start a family can also make use of whole genome sequencing. Often, whole genome sequencing can show if two people have a higher risk of their children being born with genetic disorders. Nebula Genomics hopes to empower individuals to understand their data.
Once in the Nebula network, individuals have the option of selling their data to industries. For example, Companies can buy this data to help develop personalized medicine – drugs that are specifically tailored to work with genetic variants. This data analysis platform opens up powerful possibilities for research into genomic sequencing, which will allow hospitals and research facilities to stay at the cutting edge of health.
How it works: simplicity, security, and token economics
Nebula Genomics Eliminates the Middleman
The basic set-up of Nebula Genomics will allow data owners (i.e. individuals) to acquire and store their own genomic sequencing straight from Nebula Genomics instead of relying on a personal genomics company. From there, data owners can choose to join the Nebula Genomics network and connect directly with data buyers. This creates a simple, cyclical system that will decrease costs by eliminating need for anyone outside the Nebula system.
Token Economics: Nebula Currency
In fact, the Nebula network plans to even keep currency with the Nebula network by using Nebula tokens as currency. How this works: users will pay for Genomic sequencing at Nebula facilities with Nebula tokens. Data-buyers will also use tokens to purchase this data. Data buyers can get these tokens from Nebula Genomics for “flat money.” This should set up a cyclical system in which Nebula tokens are used to both buy and sell data.
Security: Encryption, Blockstack, and Blockchain Transactions.
Nebula Genomics is quick to emphasize data privacy. Data-owners are given ultimate agency on whether or not to sell their data to buyers. If they decide to share their data, it’s encrypted and analyzed through Intel Software Guide Extensions. They retain their anonymity through “cryptographic identifiers” which won’t be matched to their identity. In addition, the “buyers” have to remain transparent so that data owners know exactly who is going to be using their data. And all of the transactions are stored on the secure Nebula blockchain so there’s an immutable record.
Nebula Genomics’ network is built on Blockstack technology and Nebula blockchain. Blockstack offers decentralized apps so that users have the freedom to choose their own storage providers, like Dropbox, to store their data. All records will be stored on the immutable Nebula blockchain. Storing records through Nebula’s Ethereum-based blockchain will give users to security and peace of mind they deserve, as their transactions will be time stamped, secure, and immutable.
Nebula Genomics is at the forefront of an exciting wave of blockchain-supported healthcare. With an emphasis on protecting users’ privacy and ushering in a new age of genomic possibilities, this is an exciting start-up to watch. For more information on this and other healthcare solutions, contact us at Blockchain Healthcare Review.
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Brennan is a blockchain technical adviser in the healthcare sector and blockchain entrepreneur who has worked on developing proprietary concepts for both artificial intelligence and enterprise blockchain. He is a graduate of Rutgers University School of Health Professions where he earned a M.S. in biomedical informatics.