Please find the full transcript of our AMA with Jamie of the Abilities Research Center (ARC) as follows:
Great to see you all here! We’re looking forward to updating you all on progress and, of course, getting you more information on an important international collaboration we have secured.
I see a lot of familiar faces and many of you will know me and Nikita.
For those of you who are new to this group, I am Co-founder and CCO and Nikita is CTO of Decentr.
Nikita and I originally came up with the concept for a custom blockchain and decentralised browser that would secure the data every user generates online as part of their DecID, while our DeFi features return this value to users as economic value via our suite of DeFi features.
My academic background, combined with my interdisciplinary research experience, allowed me to hone the conceptualisation and development of the Decentr concept and the forming of the company in 2018.
We continue to develop the DeFi and other features necessary to realise our vision in conjunction with the team and this community as we move towards mainnet. Nikita — who needs no introduction really, haha! — why don’t you introduce yourself…
As Rich mentioned, I co-founded Decentr, and my telecommunications engineering background, combined with my Project Delivery Manager experience in the IT industry, contributed to me developing the kind of radical tech innovations that Decentr demands. This includes blockchain/DLT, AI/ML etc, while allowing me to achieve my goal to, as I like to describe it, change the world Block by Block!
Haha, great motto indeed! For anyone who is not familiar with Decentr, let me give you an overall summary of our project and aims:
Overall, Decentr allows every user to extract economic value from their secure data in several intuitive, user-centric ways.
To give a quick overview of how this works, Decentr is a browser integrated with our custom blockchain that secures user data for users as part of their DecID. What is game-changing is that this ensures every user “action” is a secure “transaction” on our blockchain, meaning users can derive economic value from these secure data “transactions” via our suite of DeFi features — all as easy as browsing the web.
To give this perspective, this economic value can be achieved in two primary ways, fungible and non-fungible:
1) Non-fungible: Users can elect to sell selected data they own, and that our system secures for them on their account, via our key data partner, Ocean Protocol. This is a significant partnership for us as Ocean immediately saw the value of what we were proposing, due to the uniqueness and granularity of the data we could harness. https://decentrnet.medium.com/decentr-ocean-protocol-form-a-strategic-partnership-19f35edc0d23
We look forward to sharing some updated details in regards to this partnership in the near future so stay tuned there!
2) Fungible: User data is recorded as a value on our system called “Personal Data Value” (PDV), which functions as a personal “exchange rate” between all currencies that can be applied at point of sale on Decentr to make purchases and payments cheaper. Pg 21 of our whitepaper has further examples of the PDV concept. https://decentr.net/files/Decentr_Whitepaper_V1.6.pdf
Within the context of these aims, Nikita, why don’t you let everyone know how the project is progressing.
The project is progressing as per our roadmap and, excitingly, we will be launching mainnet and a full version of browser in Q3, this quarter, so all happening soon! This is the culmination of the work we have been doing for the last 12 months, and we have been getting great feedback as regards our beta browser, which is gratifying as it means we are filling a real need for greater online autonomy and security while delivering an exciting and intuitive (and pop-up free!) browsing experience.
Very true, Nikita, users are really responding to the security and autonomy they experience when browsing the web with our beta browser.
The encryption level we employ functions as an automatic protocol when a user generates data. This basically means from that point forward, user data is only accessible by the user him or herself — and not by our system or any third party, etc, meaning a user has exclusive access to their own data, and is 100% in control of how their data is being used, or requested to be used, why and where it is being used, etc.
This is a big part of our product promise, so it’s great to see users responding to our delivery of these features.
Agreed, security is the key! We’re proud of having achieved this level of security and user autonomy by ensuring our browser incorporates a lot of critical security and privacy-oriented features, for example all user data on Decentr is encrypted using SHA-256 (Secure Hash Algorithm 2), which is a set of cryptographic hash functions designed by the US National Security Agency (NSA) and first published in 2001. Along with that, users are also responding well to our updated features, for example, we recently unveiled the latest browser version v 0.2.1 for both Windows and Mac, as well as updating our plug-in extension v 2.0.1 for both Chrome and Firefox, which made the browser more robust and data more secure while improving our ability to more accurately and granularly measure data value.
Which is pretty cool, and is at the core of what we aim to do with data by returning that value to the user.
I’d also add that at the same time we improved our VPN and ad-blocker — both are features that are free and integrated when you download our browser. Our VPN, called the Lalentos module, is intuitive to use, offering superior privacy and security while not compromising on speed, while our AdBlocker blocks the majority of ads that usually appear on a web page — a feature that we are receiving great feedback on as it makes the internet a less irritating and invasive place for our users.
As for what types of features, updates etc can we expect from the mainnet/standalone browser, I’ll let Nikita fill you in…
The recent successful relaunch of our testnet means it is now our mainnet release candidate (RC), so that mainnet release date is getting closer! Our public mainnet launch, which will go live in Q3, is timed with the launch of our full browser release, mainnet validators and delegated staking.
At that point our standalone browser becomes fully available for Windows and Mac OSX with functionalities the same across operating systems. Along with that, our dWallet will have in future releases all ERC 20 tokens (future and present) and with mainnet release it will have mainnet DEC integrated with ease of transactions on the Decentr blockchain and Ethereum blockchain.
Nikita, you mentioned staking, and there have as our community knows been a lot of questions asked in the group and other forums: could you elaborate a little more on how this works?
Certainly. Validators on the mainnet will be validating transactions while earning real DEC as part of our mainnet validator/staking program. Timing the launch of our mainnet along with staking, validators and our full browser release means from day one users will be able to stake mainnet DEC to earn rewards while validating transactions such as liking, posting, dPosting, surfing data and valuing PDV.
Exactly, all of which gives our native token, DEC, unparalleled utility. So an exciting future for the project and browser, and all just around the corner as well. But the excitement doesn’t stop there…
As we mentioned earlier, and in the AMA announcement, we have a very exciting and important collaboration announcement we’d like to make here today…
Drum roll… As our community knows, we are always looking to explore potential partnerships, both commercial and technical, which make sense as regards our mutual aims and goals. Some good examples of these technical partnerships are Ocean Protocol https://decentrnet.medium.com/decentr-ocean-protocol-form-a-strategic-partnership-19f35edc0d23 Cosmos/Tendermint https://medium.com/@DecentrNet/how-decentr-integrates-with-cosmos-tendermint-d3b7b74ff5a8 and Chainlink https://medium.com/@DecentrNet/decentr-integrates-chainlink-to-provide-user-centric-social-reputation-scores-to-defi-311d12ed4b68 to name but a few.
As we have been progressing towards mainnet it made sense to focus more on mainstream collaborations in order that we can continue to expand our user base while demonstrating real-world use cases for our tech, features and product. This makes sense as we are aware that many tech start-ups overlook that critical bridge from theoretical to practical, which is why we identified this direction very early on and are capitalising on it.
Excitingly — cymbal clash! — we are here to announce one such important collaboration today. So without further delay, we do have a big surprise for you: as promised, we have a special guest with us today that I want to introduce to you…
Dr. Jamie Wood, a huge supporter of Decentr, who the astute amongst you would have noted was featured in some press articles that came out last week is here with us now https://www.htworld.co.uk/news/how-cryptocurrencies-and-blockchain-can-improve-access-to-healthcare/
Jamie thank you for finding time for us and our community, feel free to tell the community more about who you are and what it is you do…
Thanks Rich! Hey, guys! Thanks for having me! My name is Jamie, and I am a researcher at the Abilities Research Center (ARC), within the Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.
Mount Sinai is one of the United States’ largest and most respected health systems, acclaimed internationally for excellence in clinical care. We have a reputation for being at the forefront of inclusion and diversity in the populations it both employs and provides healthcare for. The broader Mount Sinai Health System incorporates 8 hospitals and the Icahn School of Medicine, has over 43,000 employees, and sees over 3.5m outpatient clinic visits per year.
Awesome, Jamie! Again, great to have you! I am sure many here will have heard of Mount Sinai. I am pretty sure everyone is really intrigued at this point — Jamie, feel free to tell everyone to how you and your work at the ARC, and Decentr are connected so we can take the community through it?
Thanks, Rich. We initially reached out to the Decentr team with our vision of a better way to disseminate science information. We have long been supporters of exploring strategies to decentralize sharing of scientific knowledge, clinical techniques and technology, as we believe in the profound impact that it can have on healthcare and humanity.
When it comes to science communication, we believe the current system is somewhat broken. Don’t get me wrong, the world is full of amazing scientists and clinicians, but the way we share information and include the patients and research participants in this process is outdated. We are hoping to take some steps that will help solve this.
However, this is not an easy task with the existing technologies that we have at our disposal. Platforms like Decentr are exactly the type of technologies that we can utilize to realize our vision.
We definitely agree with this: it is not an easy task by any means. The secure and decentralised sharing of information is at the heart of what we are doing and why we also see our collaboration with you at Mount Sinai as progressing our joint goals, vision and ethos, as well as those of the wider scientific community and broader society.
We are excited at the prospect of utilizing novel technologies to bring decentralized communications to the mainstream, in the same way we aim to open up the dissemination of health, science and research data, to be more inclusive and engaging, to break down the silos and barriers, and remove healthcare disparities.
Platforms like Decentr are uniquely designed to do just that, which makes them great collaborators for us.
This is the key to levelling the playing field, all the way from the patient and carer through to the biomedical industry and big pharma, including everything in between.
Fast and wide-reaching dissemination of health, science and research information which is user centric on all levels which empowers everyone involved, and most importantly the reason we have healthcare to begin with, the patients!
Yeah, absolutely agree there! Empowering the user and by analogy the patient-user is what our tech and project is all about. From your perspective, feel free to tell everyone a little bit more about how you feel this collaboration will work?
We love opportunities to innovate with new technologies. We are excited to continue developing this experimental technology with Decentr that has the potential to be truly disruptive.
Right now, we are sharing our experiences in healthcare and science communication with the team, while they work to create the features necessary to position Decentr as the default decentralized communication and research dissemination platform for the global scientific community. And when I say scientific community, this is also inclusive of the patients and research participants.
Our continuing role will be to test and give feedback to the team as they create various features of wider relevance to our industry. Already, we are assisting to refine and improve UI/UX and other frontend features — improvements that are equally important for Decentr’s mainstream audience as they are for our industry and scientific community.
Indeed, I’d add to that:
It is the synergy between our aims and goals that makes Jamie and his team’s advice invaluable as it means we get to test our platform from the perspective of a specific use case while continuing to build out features for a wider mainstream audience — an audience that we both want to reach — to the betterment of individuals and society.
I think we are in agreement on this, and is a key reason why we are both so passionate about Decentr. So from that perspective what would you say are the limitations with current platforms?
Is it just the current platforms…?
It’s not just current platforms, but a wider industry and societal malaise, supported and hence hindered by the limitations of Web 2.0 that we aim to solve in conjunction with Decentr as part of their Web 3.0 communications solution.
The reality is that science is somewhat broken; it is predominantly undertaken independently by teams/institutions in ‘silos’. Healthcare disparities are prevalent, and there is an overall segregation of research from society that needs to be improved upon and/or solved.
Some specific examples that I can use to show why we are so passionate about improving this as soon as we can:
Science can often only be interpreted by scientists, and can be a ‘club’ — we need to ensure that all consumers can understand and interpret science appropriately, which is SO important in healthcare. Currently, many people in society are left with the presentation of skewed information from mainstream media, and this is not the standard of information dissemination that they deserve.
And, while for years we have discussed improving patient/consumer engagement in science and research, it often falls down for various reasons. Let’s incentivize it for both sides! This is where we need to use a platform like what Decentr are building to facilitate this.
Our hope is to break down many/all of these barriers — unfortunately this is how science functions, and is reflected in the way we navigate the research landscape at a granular level. Let’s open up the system and transform it into a growing, living, breathing ecosystem that encourages positive participation!
Can’t argue with that: equality through incentivisation and democratisation of data value is what we are all about as this will deliver the open ecosystem you are describing.
I guess what concerns us is there is no incentive for science to seek society, and for society to seek science, and that is something we think we can ameliorate in conjunction with you. What are your thoughts on that?
We are hoping to help alleviate these issues and provide incentives in a few ways.
In collaboration with Decentr, we believe there are opportunities for the development of decentralized communication and research tools.
These include everything from simple messaging apps to a single, holistic clinical research platform that allows for improved, protected sharing of data, and the capture of data value.
I love the idea of someone who has a congenital or chronic disease, actually being ‘rich’ in data value as opposed to being financially burdened while the system profits.
Ah, exactly! Very well expressed!
This is a key area of synergy between your aims, goals and ideology and ours; this idea of delivering value from the data generated by patients to alleviate the financial burden they currently carry, which is as abhorrent to us as I am sure it is to you as healthcare professionals. Can you tell us more about the team where you work, the Abilities Research Center?
The ARC is an epicenter of discovery within the Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance where clinicians and scientists partner with innovators, industry leaders, and patients to help individuals achieve maximum performance and wellness.
We push the boundaries of traditional research, employing a multidisciplinary scientific approach to develop and investigate breakthrough technologies for new and existing medical conditions with the overall goal of rapidly developing novel standards of care for patients worldwide.
With a team of world-class scientists, we aim to do this for people with diverse injuries and conditions, from spinal cord and brain injury to stroke and other neurological disorders, chronic respiratory conditions, and novel conditions including neuropathic pain and more recently COVID-19 and post-acute COVID-19 syndrome.
Amazing stuff! Can you tell us more about the ARC’s current programs, and perhaps elaborate on how they may fit into the picture with Decentr?
Absolutely! The ARC works to rapidly integrate novel health technologies into common clinical practice through development and testing in partnership with industry leaders. This is coordinated through clinical research programs that generate meaningful data for the centre.
We coordinate several exciting programs. These include bionics and robotics for people with neurological injuries and diseases, adaptive gaming, virtual reality, transcranial magnetic stimulation, 3D printing systems and so on. Patients are at the core of all of these programs, whether they be clinical or research based, or both! Every time a patient attends, they provide data and help to improve our understanding of these conditions. Wouldn’t it be amazing if they were able to harness the value of all of that important data!
Another key focus for us is remote patient monitoring. We coordinate RPM programs for a variety of conditions, e.g. for people with COVID-19 being cared for at home, or for someone after a stroke with erratic blood pressure, and so on. We can use Bluetooth devices to monitor their vital signs from within their own home, and use this data for early detection of changes in their clinical status. Again, the health system is rewarded and profits from an information/data perspective… it’s time to start giving that back!
All of the programs and technologies coordinated by the ARC require constant and high levels of communication and near-constant transfer of clinical and research data, including dissemination in peer-reviewed journals. Our vision is to strip this back and rebuild it in a decentralized way, so that we have the means to add value to data for everyone, from the patient and clinicians, to the researchers, biomed and big pharma… a highly valuable data ecosystem. This is exactly why we like what Decentr are doing!
Whoa. Well, I reckon all of this is going to be a pretty big wake-up call to the community as regards a very important real-world case study for Decentr. This has been enlightening stuff, Jamie, and on behalf of me and the team and our community I want to thank you for making the time to join us today.
We are really looking forward to working with you to make these goals a reality, and also very much looking forward to having you back here soon to further update the community as we progress.
Official Links for Decentr:
Telegram Group: https://t.me/DecentrNet
Telegram ANN: https://t.me/DecentrAnnouncements
Beta Windows Browser: https://decentr.net/files/WinX64_Decentr_0.2.zip
Beta Mac Browser: https://decentr.net/files/MacOS_X64_Decentr_0.2.zip
Firefox Plugin: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/decentr/
Chrome Plugin: https://decentr.net/files/charon_v1.3.3_chrome.zip
Beta Testers: https://t.me/DecentrBetaTesters