“#Nebula_Genomics will leverage #blockchain technology to eliminate middlemen and empower people to own their personal #genomic_data. This will effectively lower sequencing costs and enhance data privacy, resulting in growth of genomic data. Our open protocol will leverage the genomic data growth by enabling data buyers to efficiently aggregate standardized data from many individual people and genomic databanks.”
Nice and interesting project but (see later).
The detailed white paper: ▻https://www.nebulagenomics.io/assets/documents/NEBULA_whitepaper_v4.52.pdf
A summary, with an interview of the founders: ▻http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/02/q-george-church-and-company-genomic-sequencing-blockchain-and-better-dru
After reading the white paper, some comments:
Sentences such as “Nebula network addresses are cryptographic identifiers that are not associated with any personal information.” are worrying because they seem to indicate that the authors do not really understand the concept of “personal information”. “Personal information” is not only when you name is on it. There have been a lot of research on tracing blockchain addresses.
The white paper sometimes make bold claims, then seriously reduces them. For instancen it talks about “#homomorphic_encryption”, something which is very cool for the mathematically inclined, but offers very poor performances. Later, the paper speaks only of “partially homomorphic encryption”.
Most of the security seems to rely, not on homomorphic encryption, but on Intel’s #Software_Guard_ Extensions (#SGX). SGX is an interesting technology, but quite recent. (Also, it comes from the company that puts a backdoor on every processor, through the Management Engine.) Relying on Intel security one month after Meltdown and Spectre seems audacious.
It is not clear if the “Nebula blockchain” is a private one or a public one, like Blockstack. Private blockchains remove most of the security of a blockchain.
“we want to support research conducted by non-profit institutions, such as universities.” In countries where researchers in public institutions are allowed to create for-profit companies with the results of research funded by “non-profit” research, the concept of “non-profit” is quite blurred.