Blockchain for Science: Revolutionary Opportunities and Potential Problems

By Judy Smith

Blockchain technology is infiltrating into every domain and sector on a global scale. What started with the choice to buy bitcoin has now evolved into a race for decentralization and tracking improvement.

In many ways, what once seemed to be nothing more than a daring experiment is not a reliable option to improve processes around the globe.

Not many people talk about the domain of science though. Blockchain technology seems to be very focused on financial services due to the recent DeFi boom, and this seems somewhat narrow-focused for those who know where to look. Before we delve any deeper, let’s start with some basic information.

What is blockchain?

Blockchain technology is a digital ledger that is shared around different nodes (computers) which can verify information independently in order to validate (trans)actions.

An easy way to explain the workings of a blockchain is to imagine a scenario where a huge rock is placed in the middle of a village. Everyone who lives in the village can go to this rock and write something on it. Other people who happen to walk past this rock can witness this information as it is public, and they can validate it, as it is really written on the rock. This information is then spread around the village and can no longer be “erased” from the rock.

Obviously, when it comes to money, this forms the foundation of a new, more honest, financial system. What started with Bitcoin, however, continued to grow in different sectors as soon as the Ethereum network was introduced to the world. When anyone can use blockchain technology as the foundation for their apps, many problems are solved on a global scale.

How can blockchain be used in the domain of science?

Science is obviously a very broad term, it would be wrong to create a focal point one or a handful of sectors. That said, there are elements within scientific research and exploration that can be streamlined with adaptation to a blockchain basis.

Scientific Research

The first and most important improvement in the domain of science is the ability to find scientific data across networks. When research and studies are performed, they are often really hard to find, as publications tend to make it difficult to find one specific answer. Meta-analysis can also benefit from this by backtracking studies in a non-biased way and be able to cross-examine information in their own manner.

Verification of data and sources

Pretty much everyone is confused nowadays when it comes to expert opinions and scientific studies. There are usually numerous studies on single subjects and often with opposing opinions. “But… experts say this” is an argument often heard when talking about scientific progress. Yet, it is incredibly difficult for the public to access this information in order to review existing data and resources.

Blockchain technology should allow people to easily filter the information they need to discover and verify it in real-time. This would, of course, still be a hefty task, but can at least streamline the process.

Healthcare trials

The healthcare industry as a whole benefits massively from blockchain technology. From medication records to patient data tracking, this new technological revolution gives a better and more transparent overview at any given time.

More specifically in the scientific domain, however, blockchains can be used on an international level to track the success of clinical trials for new medication. What is currently tracked through outdated systems that can often mix up information is once and forever resolved in an instance, so long people are willing to explore its potential.

The future of scientific research is upon us

Many people have yet to understand how the current challenges and limitations in the domain of science affect its overall performance and results. And since the world goes forward on the shoulders of science, it is easy to see how the dots connect. Rapid technological progress only comes when systems operate in a current manner. Hence, blockchain technology should be considered as a foundational layer of the next generation of scientists. One where research is a lot more transparent, easy to access, and forceful enough to push our society to the next level.

That said, it is important to recognize that we are still making the first steps in terms of progress. Yes, the price of Bitcoin may be higher than ever, and so is retail interest in cryptocurrencies. However, most do not understand how its underlying tech operates, and thus fail to see how it could offer a fundamental change in the future of the world.

As such, it might be a good idea to read more about blockchain technology and Bitcoin. What may seem like a money-making opportunity to most, is actually a lot more powerful than people tend to realize.

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