Even the best intentions are marred by half-truths, more so when the conversation is about helping the underprivileged while shrouding the underlying tech in abstruse language. Doc.com, a crypto health start-up has been actively looking to investors and has been boasting of some interesting ties to industry bigwigs.
The crypto firm based in Mexico City claims to provide healthcare and psychology consulting services, with a built-in wallet, MTC. Their token is used to incentivize users to exchange their health data for rewards.
Having already raised over $50 million, the company has continued to push for plans to release more coins.
The Importance Of Being Earnest
Recently, the CEO of Doc.com, Charles Nader was at Mar-a-Lago and pitched the investment opportunity to the crowd gathered there. However, there have been a few claims that don’t quite add up. The inclusion of names such as John Lilly, Mozilla CEO and Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn founder as advisors and mentors has been called suspect.
A quick conversation with either confirms those suspicions, with Lilly saying he isn't involved in any capacity with Doc.com while Hoffman’s office also confirming that there is no formal advisory relationship.
What Is Doc.com
The crypto firm looks to provide free healthcare to the disadvantaged, who might have no or limited access to it. Thus the project has garnered interest from organizations such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime along with philanthropist investors. There are allusions of support from others like Coinbase and Forbes México, as well.
However, the data security and opacity of the platform has raised numerous concerns. Some feel that the entire project needs greater scrutiny. Nader himself has confirmed that there are no formal discussions about listing the token on Coinbase, while the exchange has refused to comment on the issue. A similar query did not receive any response from the UNODC, either.
A Deeper Look At The Rabbit Hole
Alex Gladstein, a crypto market observer says that Doc.com highlights many of the ethical complexities that come with the industry.
“There are serious concerns about companies buying medical data from vulnerable populations,” he said.
Raising his concerns about the cryptos security model, he feels there are too many “red flags.” Not having published any technical documentation for the upcoming Lifechain ecosystem being a major one. Another one is that most conversations on social media tend to focus on the start-ups trading potential, not the actual application users.
The company’s presentation also promised investors that their tokens would increase in value at a higher rate than Bitcoin as the tokens
“are used to view healthcare data and linked to real users in the platform that need it.”
The ecosystem is driven by users being paid small amounts of MTC to anonymously release their healthcare data for resale. Then Nader says,
“We monetize that data and sell it to governments and pharmaceutical companies.”
The tokens can then be used to pay for more specialist services. Concerns about U.S. regulators seeing this as unregistered security were brushed aside by the companies CTO who pointed out that
“It’s a utility token, it’s not a dividend,It’s a representation of the data that is being processed on the blockchain.”
Their proprietary Lifechain system might have some built-in inflation control, has been developed from scratch over the past few months, and the blockchain is going to be responsible for safeguarding the privacy and consent dynamics of the data.
There is also a decided lack of concrete plans about mining operations or nodes. The plan is to be powered by proof-of-work, where participants contribute towards the computing power that ensures a decentralized ecosystem.
While there are so many unanswered questions the company feels that they have all the answers. One will have to wait for the truth to unfold, in the meantime, it is worth hoping that this is a noble endeavor that will see fruition and help millions gain access to medical facilities.