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Showing posts from May, 2020

No More Hanging Chads!

The 2000 presidential election is probably the first election that I paid attention to and I will never forget the ubiquity of phrases like "hanging chads" and "dimpled chads." These phrases refer to punch card ballots that were used in some precincts and that were essentially defective. Hanging chads occur when the perforated portion of a ballot does not completely detach. Dimpled chads occur when the portion of the ballot that should be perforated is simply dented or dimpled. In the 20 years (wow!) since that suspenseful election (and controversial Supreme Court decision), the vast majority of precincts in the U.S. have adopted some form of electronic voting or scan voting. Will blockchain be part of the next wave of voting changes? This post is coming at a funny time in light of the national debate currently taking place about widespread voting by mail. I won't get into that but I will think out loud (or in writing) about the potential for blockchain to be

COVID-19 Contact Tracing

The past few months have really given us all a crash course in epidemiology. The vast majority of us now know more about the spread of infectious disease and the importance of "flattening the curve" than we ever thought we'd know. I even recently watched Contagion because...well, I don't really know why I watched it (am I a masochist?). But that movie had a pretty interesting depiction of epidemiologists' efforts to trace an outbreak back to an index patient, also known as "patient zero." If you're not in the throes of anxiety about what's currently happening in the world, I'd recommend it giving it a watch. As the country (and the world) continue to find ways to manage a truly global health crisis, the public health experts have emphasized the need for local communities to have adequate contact tracing processes in place. This process traditionally involves individuals with specialized training working with patients to identify all of th

DoD on the Block: Update 1

About a year ago, I wrote about the Department of Defense's " DoD Digital Modernization Strategy " report and the agency's plan to explore how blockchain can make messaging more secure. Well, a contract was recently awarded to SIMBA Chain to develop a blockchain solution to improve the security, auditability and integration of the agency's research and development data. Specifically, SIMBA Chain has been given an opportunity to test out a blockchain that will enable various agencies to securely share R&D information with the ability to control and track access. With the DoD touching much of the R&D that is funded by federal government, there is a plenty of opportunity for bad actors. Blockchain will hopefully show that it's an effective way to limit and track access to sensitive information. Stay tuned! Do you think blockchain will save the R&D day? Let me know what you think by shooting me an email at or tweeting me at @

DeFi the Odds

The financial system as we currently recognize it is largely characterized by the centralization of everything. The issuance of money, the performance of banking services, and the facilitation of market transactions are all performed by entities that exercise outsized (or in some instances, complete) control over these functions. In other words, there aren't a ton of players in the provision of financial services. The U.S. government is the sole issuer of our currency. As of last year, the top 15 bank holding companies in the U.S. held $13.7T (yes, T for trillion) in assets (out of a total $20T). There are three major U.S. stock exchanges that facilitate the exchange of billions of securities on a daily basis. Those bank holding companies and stock exchanges (not to mention the broker-dealers that facilitate the exchange of those billions of securities each day) operate in a heavily regulated space. This is a pretty simplified overview but I think it demonstrates the takeaway: the

Drugs on the Block

A major topic of discussion during the Democratic presidential primaries was the rising cost of healthcare and the costs of prescription drugs. This discussion also touched on the seeming free reign and lack of adequate oversight of prescription drug companies. I think most people are familiar with the outrageous costs of some prescription drugs (despite the manufacturing costs being significantly lower), but there's another issue that pops up in this discussion. And that issue is the lack of comprehensive tracking of prescription drugs. Enter: blockchain. In a nutshell, pharmaceutical drugs are manufactured and shipped to distributors and then from distributors to stores and healthcare facilities. The movement of drugs doesn't always flow in a single direction. Drugs are sometimes moved from one store/facility to another or even back to the distributor. All of this movement creates profitable opportunitie s for counterfeiters, thieves and other evildoers. Congress decided that

What the Bitcoin Halving Means

A few days ago, a pretty major event in the world of bitcoin occurred known as the "halving." If you haven't read any significant literature about bitcoin, you may not have a clue what this means or why you should care. If you're not into bitcoin, or cryptocurrency generally, you may not have a reason to care. But if you're the slightest bit interested in what the halving means, read on (it's pretty painless, I promise). Unlike U.S. currency, which is physically made in the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing or the U.S. Mint, bitcoin is mined. What this means is that bitcoin comes into digital existence when a person earns it by mining. Mining is essentially the process of solving complex problems that serve to verify blocks of transactions on the bitcoin blockchain (you still following?). So when a person, known as a miner, successfully solves the problem that serves to verify a block of transactions, that person receives a reward in the form of bitcoin. P