TimiDNA Will Provide Blockchain-Secured Genetic Testing—And Won’t Sell Your Data
TimiHealth, a blockchain-based health service, has announced that it is expanding the genetic portion of its platform. TimiDNA is expanding and will become “a full service genetics company” according to a press release. The service will provide testing kits similar to those used by 23andMe:
“In the coming weeks, consumers will also be able to get their DNA tested directly with TimiDNA testing kits and TimiDNA will secure the results with blockchain technology while also tokenizing the data to empower the consumer with the option of selling their DNA data.”
The company is assuring its users that their data will not be shared or sold to third parties — at least, not by default. If users do decide to share or sell their genetic data, TimiDNA promises to give those users 70% of every sale:
“TimiDNA assumes you have full control of your DNA data…[if] you opt-in you can participate in purchase requests for your data and you will be paid.”
TimiDNA was launched as a competitor to 23andMe, with the intention of combating the latter platform’s habit of monetizing user data without regard for their users. TimiDNA notes that 23andMe has signed a $300 million deal with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) that will give GSK access to 23andMe’s records in order to study drug targeting.
Although dissatisfied 23andMe users may want to switch to TimiDNA or other services, there is a roadblock: 23andMe has prevented its customers from moving their data to other platforms. According to an email that 23andMe sent to its customers late in August, users will not be able to send their data to other services:
“Moving forward, we’ve decided to restrict our API to only work with select applications…We will be disabling other apps’ ability to access your data using the 23andMe API, and any features in those third-party apps that rely on your 23andMe data may no longer work.”
TimiDNA’s new testing kits will allow customers to add their data to TimiDNA without relying on another platform. Additionally, TimHealth is running a petition to restore transparency and portability to 23andMe.
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TimiHealth is just one blockchain service that is trying to break into the health market. ALLIVE is providing a complete Ontology-based healthcare system, and the Taipei Medical University has built their own blockchain. Meanwhile, China is tracking and authenticating vaccines using VeChain.
It seems that health services on the blockchain are becoming increasingly prominent, as the interconnectivity that the blockchain provides can handle user data more effectively than traditional systems can.
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