Table 3

Key features of blockchain technologies for facilitating medical research

Transparency of transactions and recordsPatients, review boards, funders and other stakeholders have full overview of consent and trial status; easily auditable; accountability through visibility; may contribute to trust and efficiency; errors can be seen by all.
Pseudonomity via public cryptographic identifiersHigh degree of control on privacy; level of privacy can be modulated; concerns about trial or personal conduct can be registered with high degree of privacy.
Sequential timestampingProof that consent was obtained before trial inclusion; proof of adherence to protocol; potential for greater patient engagement and consent due to higher trial integrity.
Decentralised storage of dataAdapt consent and prosent to decentralised nature of data generation.
Smart contractsConditioning of trial progression on consent; automated release of data (prevention of publication bias and knowledge silos), automate aspects of data analysis; reconsent triggered when protocol is changed; automatic warning if abnormally high levels of severe side effects are found; automatic financial or other remuneration of data subjects.
Smart contracts for secondary researchData analysis in statistical plan can be carried out automatically; benefit sharing can be automated.