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Blockchain DNA testing allows patients to sell their data

Recently, there has been a major uproar around many DNA testing companies after some of their data sales operations have started making headlines. In the current climate, the blockchain healthcare startup TimiDNA has distinguished itself from most of the industry respecting the privacy of its customers and guaranteeing them the ownership of their genetic data.


With biotechnology becoming a valuable information technology, DNA data can expose some rather intimate details of who we are.

For example, DNA tests can predict which level of intelligence will develop a newborn, or if they are likely to die from a heart attack . Genetic tests have also been designed to find out if you are at risk for developing schizophrenia . Most people would not feel comfortable with such information that they are sold without their knowledge.

Furthermore, what has just been described is exactly what is happening. Companies like 23andMe Ancestry among others, profit from by selling genetic information of their users. A health care startup has shown how blockchain can solve this problem.

Privacy is compromised by default

Users of these DNA testing companies need to go one step further and opt explicitly to prevent their data from being sold.

Sharing – or selling – of user data by default and the fact that most users do not read overly complicated and time-consuming service conditions are among the reasons why most users are not aware of the fact that their data is sold to third parties

Such systems are legal, but designing a system so that people consent to something without them necessarily knowing it is probably considered dishonest by most.

This feeling of dishonesty and wrong is probably the reason why Joyce Lignell – the president of TimiHealth – said that "there should be regulations against the sale of any health information without the clear understanding and consent of the consumer . "

Further explanation, Lignell added that "many believe they are sharing data to support non-profit research due to overly complicated terms of service and pre-defined non-ethical opt-in policies."

A DNA Testing Service for Privacy [19659018] Getting their DNA tested by TimiDNA – which will be possible in the coming weeks – consumers will find themselves in a completely new paradigm.

Protecting DNA data on a blockchain and making them tokenize TimiHealth gives users full control and ownership over their genetic code. The TimiDNA platform not only allows users to decide who can access their data.

70 percent of the profits made by selling the data on the platform is assigned to the user whose genetic code is sold and never happens without the user's permission. Will Lowe – the founder of TimiHealth – explained that "it takes the buyers of DNA data to each consumer who decides whether or not to sell the data."

Blockchain is a solution to problems in the health sector

However, privacy and data ownership are not the only problem in the healthcare sector that the application of intelligent blockchain can solve. TimiHealth is not a company focused on DNA – as the name suggests – its primary objective is the exchange of health information.

According to the white paper TimiHealth (or TimiCoin) the problem with "personal health data" is [that it is] currently not used efficiently nor effectively due to fragmented information created and isolated "by and On different sources, the sharing of such data between the institutions has also been made complex by the concerns on privacy and by the fear of giving others an advantage .

of DNA data is only part of a larger picture, the challenge that this company is undertaking is to create an exchange of health information ( HIE .) If this platform gets traditional traction, all that that has been said about DNA data will be applied to all medical data.

[…] As Lignell noted,

[…] consumers realize that technology has evolved into centralized systems of the past, where corporations hold control, to one like ours where we transfer power and control to the consumer, where it should be. I see a moment when the consumer determines the price of the data and consequently changes the business model.

What are your thoughts on the TimiDNA platform? Would you sell your DNA information if you knew it was safe?


Images kindly granted by Shutterstock.

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