#Hashing it Out: Blockchain Terms Explained Part 4.
#Hashing it Out: Blockchain Terms Explained returns with four new concepts related to PharmaLedger and our upcoming webinar.
Our PharmaLedger project aims to create a Digital Trust Ecosystem (DTE) for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry; with distributed ledger technology (DLT) at its core. We are aware that not everyone is familiar with the terms surrounding blockchain technology, which is why we’re back with part four of our #Hashing it Out: Blockchain Terms Explained mini-series.
Many of the terms defined in this #Hashing it Out article are relevant to our upcoming open webinar titled “Building a Digital Trust Ecosystem: Blockchain & OpenDSU.” We invite you to join us to learn more about the technical aspects of our PharmaLedger project and our plans to help build a Digital Trust Ecosystem (DTE).
You can register by clicking the button below and read on to familiarise yourself with some terms we will be using during the event.
1. Digital Trust Ecosystem (DTE)
A Digital Trust Ecosystem (DTE) uses standardised digital solutions in a mutually beneficial manner. According to the technology research company Gartner, a digital ecosystem is “an interdependent group of actors (enterprises, people, things) sharing standardised digital platforms to achieve a mutually beneficial purpose.” Stakeholders in the DTE are independent yet collaborating through the digital platforms and solutions set in place. This can create mutual benefits, such as more efficient processes and increased trust thanks to the technology used, such as blockchain.
The PharmaLedger project stems from the idea of creating a blockchain-enabled “healthcare ecosystem”, which allows for the involved stakeholders (medicine manufacturer, clinical trials practitioner, shipping company, wholesaler, medical practitioner, patient) to work together more efficiently and share data more adeptly. The next step is to form a DTE, which is the result of the solutions of the blockchain-enabled platform being put into place and adopted by various stakeholders. Aside from those involved in the healthcare industry, governmental and financial organisations also have a stake in the ecosystem and help form the established DTE. Blockchain ensures trust and transparency amongst those involved.
2. Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO)
A simple way to understand what a Decentralised Autonomous Organisation (DAO) is: imagine a business mutually owned and managed by a group of members. All members have equal voting rights, and there is no single entity setting the rules therefore centralisation is implicitly removed from the organisation. DAOs operate through smart contracts, which act as regular contracts but are digital code. These smart contracts act as common rules among those involved in the DAO and can’t be changed by just one member. All members must vote for rules to be altered or set in place.
Individual healthcare companies have traditionally had a top-down hierarchical structure, but when working together with other entities, blockchain can help overcome this centralised model. Suddenly, one company can’t dominate and make decisions that are in their interest. A DAO helps give members involved equal say with mutual benefits. Traditional organisational structures usually have a governance board that dictates power. Much of this is still in conceptual development, but we are confident that our research from the PharmaLedger blockchain-enabled platform will continue to evolve in the future.
In a DAO as described above, certain actions take place with the use of tokens. These actions can include voting or service/network payments for example. Once a DAO is established, the members receive these tokens, which they can use to vote on standards or structural aspects of how the DAO will govern itself and operate. Specific tasks that need to be undertaken for a project to succeed within the DAO should be distributed fairly between members, however if a particular member or group specializes in a certain subject area, then a token could be used to upvote the work to those who have the required skill set. The exact token flow of how this would work is yet to be determined but heavily relies on its supply and demand within a circular economy.
The mechanics and decision of implementing a token economy are yet to be explored in the PharmaLedger project.
The Open Data Sharing Unit (OpenDSU) is an on-chain storage solution that utilizes smart contracts and acts as an in-between abstract architecture layer for the PharmaLedger platform. Since this term is so central to the PharmLedger project, it’ll be used as an example for better understanding.
Instead of having a single blockchain protocol for everyone to program and develop upon, the PharmaLedger platform aims to be “blockchain agnostic,” meaning it is completely open and inclusive to all. OpenDSU improves security and addresses confidentiality issues related to blockchain adoption because patient and business encrypted data is safely stored on-chain. Blockchain can manage assets and is good for timestamping and tracking supply chain processes, but it’s not particularly made for storing all the data shared on it.
OpenDSU allows the collaboration among different use cases and applications to therefore enable interoperability and cross-chain connectivity. The image below is a bit more technical, but it shows how OpenDSU is used within the project.
You can learn more about these terms and how they relate to our efforts to build a Digital Trust Ecosystem (DTE) in our free upcoming webinar, “Building a Digital Trust Ecosystem: Blockchain and Open DSU” June 7 and 22.