MedVaultMedVault, a proof-of-concept that would allow patients to record medical information on the bitcoin blockchain, won €5,000 in prize money at the Blockchain Hackathon this weekend.

The event – held in Ireland and sponsored by Fidelity Investments, Deloitte and Citi – saw approximately 150 participants pitch ideas, form teams and build on concepts in just 50 hours.

Graham Rhodes, a MedVault developer, indicated that the project was able to separate from the competition because of its use of the blockchain to “anonymize” medical records.

Rhodes told CoinDesk:

“[We’re] giving the patients control over their own medical records and the decision to make certain aspects public or private, while still being stored in a distributed global manner.”

The application can be seen as one of a growing number of both formal and informal projects that aim to use the bitcoin blockchain as a secure database for recordkeeping.

Under the hood

Though only a proof of concept, Rhodes indicated that the concept advanced toward discussions on user experience.

Patients using a fully developed product, Rhodes said, would be provided with a QR code of their public key or patient identifier, which a doctor could then use to access their medical records.

“The vision here was that if a patient is on holiday skiing, crashes into a tree and gets knocked out, [the patient has] a key fob or another way to access their patient identifier, and doctors can immediately view their medical records,” he continued.

On the tech side, MedVault uses digital asset startup Colu‘s platform, leveraging its software development kit to avoid “bloating” the bitcoin blockchain.

“As the blockchain can only store so much information, Colu leverages the colored coin protocol and the BitTorrent network to store the digital asset and medical record in a verifiable way,” added Rhodes.

Although still undecided about what the prize money will be used for, Rhodes suggested that it may be sensible to invest the funds into developing the product:

“With the attention it seems blockchain has been receiving lately, I feel like it would definitely be worth investing the money in it [the concept].”

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