Tech startup Nebula Genomics is launching DNA sequencing using blockchain — eliminating the need for customers to reveal personal information.
According to a blog post published on Sept. 19, Nebula has rolled out anonymous genetic testing, enabling clients to purchase whole genome sequencing and provide saliva samples without the need to share personal data such as their name, address or credit card number.
Eliminating dependence on data de-identification
To achieve this, Nebula developed and implemented a blockchain-based product that enables transparent and controllable data sharing, and offers an option to conduct pseudo-anonymous payments using cryptocurrencies. For those customers who do not use digital currency, the company recommends using a prepaid credit card to protect their privacy.
“Most importantly, enabling individuals to remain anonymous would eliminate the dependence on data de-identification by personal genomics companies prior to data sharing with researchers,” the post reads. As such, Nebula offers anonymous sample collection by delivering saliva collection kits to USPS PO boxes.
This June, Nebula partnered with EMD Serono, the North American biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA — the world’s oldest operating pharmaceutical company. In its collaboration with EMD Serono, Nebula provides the firm with access to its network of anonymized genomic data in order to support the research and development of new medicines.
At the time, Nebula also outlined that its agreement with EMD Serono represented its first attempt to realize a model of sponsored genome sequencing.
Increasing blockchain adoption by health industry
Earlier in September, blockchain network Harmony teamed up with Lithuanian blockchain-powered health app firm Lympo to enable fast and secure health data sharing. Lympo is developing an incentivizing platform for healthy lifestyle activities such as walking or running in order to boost the platform’s scalability.
According to global market research and consulting firm Global Market Insights, the value of the blockchain technology in healthcare market is expected to surpass $1.6 billion by 2025 due factors including the implementation of government initiatives and increasing investment in the field.