The Victor Chang Heart Research Institute is using Filecoin to store search data on the blockchain. Image: Getty

This Australian Heart Institute Is Storing Research Data On The Blockchain

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The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute (Victor Chang Institute) in New South Wales has become the first organisation in its industry to turn to Web3 technology, partnering with Filecoin to store research data on the blockchain.

What is Filecoin?

Filecoin is a decentralised data storage company developed by Protocol Labs in 2014, and bills itself as an organisation designed to “store humanity’s most important information”.

How important, you ask? Well, the company is entrusted with storing alien messages from Mars by the world’s most recognisable alien hunting organisation located in Silicon Valley. That’s the level of importance Filecoin is talking about.

Filecoin also stores troves of information from The Internet Archive, genocide survivor testimonials from the USC Shoah Foundation and oceanographic data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Heart disease data on Filecoin

The Victor Chang Institute says that a staggering 137.44TB – not GB, TB – of data is on the blockchain with Filecoin. It includes “raw datasets from published papers consisting of thousands of images of cells”, as well as “encrypted backups” of data produced by a lab technique called SyncroPatch.

“It’s vital that we can easily and safely share open-data sets with like-minded researchers to advance heart disease research that will benefit patients the world over,” said Todd Ryman, IT Director at Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute.

“We want scientists who develop medicines for global illnesses to have at-their-fingertips access to each other’s datasets and studies,” said Stefaan Vervaet, Head of Network Growth at Protocol Labs.

He believes that by “establishing a new frontier for the open-source, decentralised technology movement”, companies such as Filecoin are becoming a “legitimate challenger to legacy centralised infrastructure”.

The Institute, founded in 1994 in honour of renowned Australian heart transplant surgeon Dr. Victor Chang, specialises in heart disease research and treatment. Its opening was officiated by Princess Diana.