- Drexel Medical College Uses Algorand To Store Patient Medical Records As NFTs
- The Nemus NFT project “asked indigenous people, who can barely read, to sign documents without clarifying the content or providing a copy,” said a prosecutor.
Much is made of whether NFTs have real use cases. But just because a use case exists doesn’t mean it should be used.
As Facebook strives to bring the digital art application of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) to its users, this week saw waves of two new NFT use cases — but for different reasons. As NFTs handed patients ownership of their medical records, an Amazon Rainforest Protection NFT faces questions about how it acquired the land it sells.
Blockchain healthcare company MaPay and Drexel University College of Medicine are using the layer-1 blockchain Algorand to store patient medical records as NFTs. Currently, healthcare providers store their own medical records, leading to costly and slow retrieval of paper records and the sale of patient medical records.
At a basic level, NFTs store and denote ownership of digital assets without third parties. Putting healthcare data on the blockchain gives patients ownership of their records – so the saying goes – and makes retrieval more efficient.
Charles Cairns, vice president of Drexel’s medical school, believes the future of the medical industry lies in blockchain technology.
“This initiative will be transformative, especially in disadvantaged areas. It is not a question of whether this should happen. It’s a response that it must be done for the future in medicine,” Cairns said after announcing the partnership.
Nemus and his ‘non-fungible territory’
Nemus, an NFT coin linked to Amazon rainforest conservation, is in hot water after a Brazilian prosecutor announced an investigation into the company’s ownership of Amazon land.
Nemus’ CEO Flavio De Meira Penna has several entrepreneurial ventures focused on rainforest conservation in Brazil. Nemus claims to own 100,000 acres of Amazon rainforest and hopes to buy more with money from his NFT sales. The company has not responded to requests for verification that it owns the land.
Users can buy NFTs that represent plots of land on a map, with the understanding that Nemus will protect the land and its native inhabitants.
Nemus is clear that users do not own the physical land due to the restrictions of Brazilian law, saying that the company is holding the land instead. But even that much ownership can be wishful thinking.
Prosecutors from Brazil’s Federal Prosecutor’s Office announced last week that Nemus has 15 days to prove his ownership of the land after indigenous residents complained that they had been misled into selling land to the NFT project.
“The company provided the villages with a sign, written in English, and asked the indigenous people, who can barely read, to sign documents without clarifying the contents or providing a copy,” the prosecutor’s office wrote.
Nemus and Drexel Medical College point to an emerging frontier in the discourse surrounding NFT use cases. Sean Stein Smith, an assistant professor at Lehman College who writes about the digital assets, believes there are already discussions about the usefulness of NFT technology.
“On the point of waiting for the ‘real-world applications’ of NFTs — those applications are here,” Smith said. “’Do they create benefits from an economic and broader social point of view?’ is ultimately how each project should be assessed.”
Nemus did not respond to a request for comment.
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