Big Data Toronto Conference: “Blockchain is Exhilarating”

At the Big Data Toronto Conference held at the Metro Convention Centre from June 12-13, discussions about the potential for blockchain technology couldn’t be escaped–even its impact in the health care industry.

At the Big Data Toronto Conference held at the Metro Convention Center from June 12 to 13, even panel discussions about blockchain were present, further exemplifying the impact this new technology is having in the industry itself and in others, like health care.

On Wednesday (June 13), a discussion called “The Age of Blockchain” was held to shed light on the potential for blockchain thanks to the growing interest in the public and private sectors “adopting large scale blockchain solutions.”

The Investing News Network (INN) had the opportunity to attend the panel discussion, which was moderated by Erin Kim, who serves on the board of directors of Blockchain Canada. The panelists included: Stephanie Nguyen, director UX/UI at Coinsquare; Lucia Gallardo, founder of Emerge; Oscar Roque, AVP of mobile products & platforms at Interac; and Jordan Himel, head of new venture developments with the Ontario Telemedicine Network.

“Excitement on blockchain and distributed ledger technology has rapidly spread,” Kim said in her opening statement to the crowd. “[Blockchain] has moved well beyond the cryptocurrency realm.”

The first question addressed to the panel asked how each of them would describe the potential blockchain brings as well as the impact it can have on daily life, both personally and professionally.

“I would describe blockchain as exhilarating,” Nguyen said. “There’s just so many capabilities towards the technology. ”

Gallardo expanded on that, stating that while blockchain is inevitable, it is still largely unknown. Roque contributed to that thought and said blockchain is underestimated in two ways.

Roque said that the first misunderstanding is on the technology front because there’s mis-information about blockchain.

“[It’s] really, really complicated to learn and complex just generally,” he said. On the business side, Roque said often times people are trying to apply a blockchain solution to a wrong problem. “We really need to focus on the new value proposition and use cases, and that really unlocks the potential for blockchain.”

The health care industry, for example, is one area where blockchain has the ability to grow exponentially.

“I think the [blockchain] vision for health care might be one of the most compelling use cases in the world,” Himel said when asked about the impact blockchain will have on the health care industry, stating that blockchain could be the answer.

Himel said that blockchain has all the “right” attributes as it relates to privacy, security, anonymity and protection of personal information and that it has the potential to benefit the public health care sector. He said, however, that private health care systems have a “less compelling use case.”

“[Private health care systems] are already a closed system,” he said, adding that the private sector is already able to solve problems that a public health care system can’t. “We … need to explore architectures and means by which we can integrate [patient] information and I hope that in the years to come we’ll be able to do that.”

For investors, while blockchain’s role is undoubtedly still relatively small in the health care sector, it is projected to change. BIS Research estimates that blockchain in health care will reach over US$5.6 billion by 2025 with some of the biggest beneficiaries being pharmaceutical companies.

Interested investors who want to jump in on blockchain stocks before its role in the health care sector truly takes off, there are already plenty of blockchain stocks for consideration. Still, investors may want to keep a watchful eye on how blockchain’s position in health care will transform in the coming years.

With files from Olivia Da Silva

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Securities Disclosure: I, Jocelyn Aspa, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.