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Blockchain sentiment turns positive in Geneva, especially for healthcare

This week, Unblocked CEO Helen Disney visited and spoke at 2 events in Geneva where some 1000 delegates gathered for the 2nd Geneva Blockchain Congress held at the impressively large Palexpo conference centre. Overlooked by snowy mountains and buffeted by ‘la Bise’ (a very cold wind) it could almost have felt like crypto winter was back again. Except that the atmosphere in the room was much more upbeat than the blockchain community may have seen for quite some time.

Is blockchain entering the ‘plateau of productivity?
Opening the event, Swiss politician Pierre Maudet spoke about his goal of making Geneva a blockchain-friendly hub and said he believes the difficult ‘trough of disillusionment’ phase is over and that 2020 will see blockchain entering the ‘plateau of productivity’. In his keynote later in the morning, Blockchain Revolution author Don Tapscott also argued that rumours of blockchain’s death have been greatly exaggerated. As well as the world’s major companies like Facebook and vast economies like China taking blockchain very seriously, his think tank, the Blockchain Research Institute is currently looking at 110 real world projects using blockchain in areas ranging from supply chain, through to telecoms, identity, manufacturing, government and healthcare. “People who say this is not happening are deeply uninformed”, he said.

Is healthcare blockchain’s killer app?
Interestingly, Tapscott noted that healthcare might indeed be a killer app for blockchain, a sentiment reflected in the conference programme which had a full track devoted to health and wellbeing. 20 speakers and 12 healthcare blockchain start ups took a prominent part in the programme including a plenary panel on the main conference stage, where Dr Alex Cahana identified healthcare as THE investment opportunity in blockchain today. If data is the new money, then healthcare data and its management using blockchain will be pivotal to the economy of the future.

Where is blockchain useful in healthcare?
Sessions in the health track – and at a second satellite event held the following day at the Centre d’Innovation (HUG) – covered important topics facing society today. Discussions ranged over the ethics of data sharing, the potential return on investment of investing in blockchain for healthcare, humanitarian blockchain (a key topic in the same week that the World Economic Forum is taking place just few hours’ train ride away in #Davos) and the vision for a decentralised Web 3.0 healthcare world. A range of start-ups with real-world projects also took part outlining applications in wearables, clinical care, creating a marketplace for healthcare IPRs, supply chain solutions for pharmaceuticals and citizen-centred consent management.

What are the next steps?
Most participants agreed that blockchain is a vehicle to get us from A to B not something to be evangelised for its own sake. Myths and misunderstandings still need to be deconstructed in order to reconstruct the narrative around blockchain and distributed ledger technologies so we can drive real organisational change. A distributed trust environment is a new tool to help us achieve important social goals including, importantly, a new way to manage healthcare data and ensure confidentiality of our most sensitive personal information. In the future, where data may be more akin to labour, this will become ever more vital to ensuring equality and protection of human rights.

In his closing remarks, Don Tapscott called on the audience to come together as a community – much like a murmuration of starlings where each individual moving alone contributes to the common goal. It seems like a beautiful vision with which to start a new decade of blockchain exploration.

Endorsements

"Healthcare Unblocked is a cut above the rest - a unique smart agenda designed to unwrap pertinent topics wrapped up in a naturally cosy atmosphere where you can really connect with people. If impersonal blockbuster events leave you cold, reconnect with Unblocked Events."

Jenny Creed Geraghty - Clinical Genetic Scientist

"Great events with great participants, discussions and topics. A must-attend every year!"

CEO - Autolomous

"It was a great experience! We listened to amazing, influential presentations and acquired important networks. Loved it!"

Poonyah Care

"Superb content and speakers"

NHS Consultant

"Attracted a high quality of delegate and speaker that led to some genuinely unique and interesting conversations."

Programme Manager, Health and Social Care - techUK

"An excellent event in all ways"

CEO - Proxime Solutions

"Your healthcare event was brilliant. Glad to see that London still leads the way in terms of international innovation."

Matthew Gardiner - Catch London

"I was most impressed by the quality of speakers and delegates. We are at the challenging phase of moving from theory to practice for many of the potential users of blockchain. Your events are certainly helping to bridge the gap!"

Conference delegate, Healthcare Unblocked

"One of the best conferences ever with a level of relevant and real-world examples that are not always found"

Conference Speaker, Healthcare Unblocked

"Healthcare Unblocked was the first healthtech event we’ve attended that truly covered new ground, spoke in line with the sector, and exhibited extremely well-informed speakers and audience."

Imogen Bunyard - Co-Founder and COO, Qadre

"Healthcare Unblocked 2018 was a seminal event"

Barry James - Chair, British Blockchain and Frontier Technologies Association

"a rich, intelligently designed agenda and a chance to network with go getters"

Jenny Creed Geraghty - Healthcare Unblocked 2018 attendee

"An extremely high quality, cutting edge event with expert speakers and well informed audience - thoroughly enjoyable and excellent learnings"

Dr Jane Thomason - CEO, Fintech Worldwide

"I had the pleasure of meeting Helen Disney last year when she organised what I would have said was the premier event in Blockchain."

Genevieve Leveille - Founder, 0tentic8

"Very interesting and a proper glimpse into the not-too-distant future. The talks felt particularly relevant to my area of work so I'll be investigating further."

MS Society

"The most succinct explanation of what Blockchain could do for our sector to date"

Centrepoint

"It has been wonderful working with Helen. She is an expert in the blockchain and distributed ledger space, having been an early proponent of the technology. I've learned so much from her, and she has provided valuable consulting services to us"

Christian Hasker, CMO - Hedera Hashgraph

"This is one of the best curated series in London or globally. This is a great opportunity to learn new things and going ons in the space."

Blockchain startup founder

"a pioneer in Blockchain and emerging technologies and a champion for women in blockchain. She is an accomplished policy analyst and writer and is a leader in the London Blockchain ecosystem, especially exploring industry verticals like health."

Dr Jane Thomason - Fintech Worldwide

"World-class events"

Founder - Braxxis Partners

"A really great and informative session with a lot of impressive speakers"

Big Innovation Centre

"Very well organised and provided our team with a great opportunity to make many useful connections"

Previous Startup Showcase winner

"A truly worthwhile event"

Bridget Greenwood - The Bigger Pie

"Unblocked continues to curate exceptional events on how industries and processes can be enhanced with the introduction of Distributed Ledger Technologies"

Start up Founder

"Unblocked's events are always highlights in the calendar - interesting, informative and inspiring in equal measure"

Barry James - Chairman, British Blockchain and Frontier Technologies Association

"as informative and insightful as it was entertaining, with the distinguished panel offering diverse opinions on blockchain's manifold applications. Networking opportunities were ample and the good food a real bonus."

James McKay - McKay Research

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