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January 22, 2016updated 31 Aug 2016 9:44am

UBS donates blockchain code to help find cure for HIV

News: The code will be used for a bond trading platform.

By Charlotte Henry

Blockchain technology has become a growing area of research in an increasing variety of sectors away from the worlds of finance and Bitcoin with which it is primarily associated.

One of those areas is healthcare.

At Davos yesterday is was revealed that UBS has donated the code for a blockchain-based trading platform to the HEAL alliance – a non-profit organisation that is funding research into HIV/Aids.

The code will be used as part of a platform being developed by fintech startup Finclusion systems, which will it will begin testing today, before making it available to investors.

The code was previously developed as part of a trade settlement platform that it developed in association with CME Group, Euroclear, LCH.Clearnet, the London Stock Exchange and Société Générale.

The intention is to use blockchain technology to enable investors to put money into the HealBond, which will be used to fund HIV research.

The non-profit HEAL Alliance wants to raise $10bn, and disseminate R&D funding raised via the bond sale into innovative research in order to ultimately find a cure for HIV.

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In a staement on its website, HEAL said: "We believe that robust support for a flexible, collaborative venture will facilitate quantum leaps in the field and improve efficiency, while at the same time conserving resources via data sharing"

Commenting on the experiment, UBS Group chief information officer Oliver Bussmann said: "One of our first experiments in the UBS Innovation Lab in London was the development of a "Smart Bond". This experiment confirmed the potential benefits: clearing and settlement on blockchain could be faster, more efficient and transparent while reducing settlement risk and operational cost.

"UBS is proud to contribute to the HEAL Bond on Blockchain and agreed to share the learnings of its "Smart Bond" experiment with the HEAL Alliance."

Microsoft and Intel are other major tech backers, alongside the UBS Innovation lab.

Wayne Bartlett Chief Industry Strategist Financial Services at Microsoft Corporation said: "Microsoft are excited to support the development of the HEAL Bond and its innovative use of Blockchain technology on Microsoft Azure to bring the bond to the masses in a highly open and yet secure way."

This is far from the first time blockchain has been tested in the field of healthcare.

As far back as 2014, an Isreali startup called DNA.bits began working on using blockchain technology to build a DNA Wallet. Genetic and medical data would be secured using the distributed ledge technology of the blockchain, and could be accessed using private keys. The aim was to provide a more secure way for healthcare professionals to share medical data.

In October 2015 healtchare giant Phillips Healthcare revealed that it was looking into using blockchain technology working with Tierion, a blockchain-based record-keeping startup.

In a similar vein, Blockchain firm Factom teamed up wtih HealthNautica, which provides medical records and services solutions. Electronic healthcare records will be secured by cryptographically encoding private medical data. A digital fingerprint is also formed to time-stamp and verify the records.

Stanford Univeristy has used decentralised network of 170,000 computers to produce 40,000 teraflops of computing power, to improve the way it simulates protein funding.

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