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5 ways COVID-19 is reshaping the medtech industry

5 ways COVID-19 is reshaping the medtech industry

Adeline Kon/MedTech Dive
Permanent adoption of remote tech, changes to clinical trials and rethinking where medtech employees work are among the phenomena poised to stick around.
Come early 2021, the medtech sector will have three quarters of data charting the downturn and recovery in the wake of COVID-19. Regardless of the path forward — a V, a W or something in between — the sharpest of impacts is expected to have peaked in spring 2020.
But the pandemic will no doubt shape medtech business decisions in the coming months and years as constraints on healthcare systems, economies and ways of working and living linger.
Below MedTech Dive lays out key areas of industry operations that the COVID-19 environment will likely affect in the year to come.

1. Direct-to-consumer campaigns

Ads hawking medical devices are far less common than for drugs, but a few companies have noticeably ramped up their direct-to-consumer efforts in recent years, including Boston Scientific with a rare medtech TV ad for an implant aimed at reducing stroke and Stryker making a social media play with elite athlete Alex Morgan.
While FDA has weighed in on ethics and best practices of direct-to-consumer advertising for drug manufacturers, it's less fleshed out for the device industry. AdvaMed has tried to get ahead of things, last year updating voluntary principles for marketers.
During COVID-19, the proliferation of DTC marketing by medtech companies has been multifaceted.
First, companies across the healthcare spectrum have launched broad campaigns urging consumers to return to seek care after distancing measures and fear over virus transmission in healthcare settings spurred a severe downturn in lucrative elective procedures.
LabCorp, Walgreens, Humana and others urged patients to Stop Medical Distancing this summer, for example. Hologic aligned with singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow with its Back to Screening campaign, encouraging consumers to schedule mammograms as healthcare facilities were reopening for imaging. Johnson & Johnson in September launched its own take on the effort dubbed My Health Can't Wait.
"We're really not focusing on any specific therapeutic area or any specific procedure," said Jijo James, chief medical officer at J&J Medical Devices, who worked on the campaign. It includes resources pointing patients toward telehealth options and suggestions on how to talk to a doctor about again seeking care.
Abbott took to the airwaves in April as it was being thrust into the national spotlight for its outsized role in America's coronavirus testing ramp-up. A 30-second TV spot looked to elevate the brand name while expressing gratitude to healthcare workers.
Separate from the COVID-19 theme itself, some companies saw the pandemic as an opportune time to target new customers, particularly as many spend more time engaging with media.
Dexcom, for example, is not slowing down its continuous glucose monitor marketing. "We'll continue to invest aggressively there to get the word out," said Matt Dolan, the company's head of new markets. "There's so many folks that that haven't even heard of it. And so it's very important that we continue to drive those campaigns."
Likewise, Exact Sciences CEO Kevin Conroy told investors in July the company expects to spend $70 million this year on television advertising alone. The company's signature product, colorectal cancer stool test Cologuard, remained an option for screening even as the rate of colonoscopies dropped dramatically.
That's one example of a medtech product that aligns well with the pandemic-driven expansion of telehealth. Jay Zhu, who leads the Medtech Commercial Strategy practice at Deloitte, said now is a time for those types of companies that typically compete with doctor's office or hospital-based treatments to capitalize.
"They see this as the golden opportunity for them to accelerate a shift" and are backing direct-to-consumer communication "to basically convince patients that now is the perfect time to use these kinds of less risky solutions."
A bit newer to consumer-focused advertising, Teleflex CEO Liam Kelly said this summer that as non-emergent procedures appeared to return, it decided to run a pilot national campaign from July to December for its UroLift device for enlarged prostate. "Our regional digital DTC efforts indicated strong patient engagement in June, along with positive sentiment from clinicians, both of which gave us confidence in the July launch," Kelly told investors.

2. Rethinking physical footprints

Like myriad other industries, distancing measures are reshaping where and how employees work, prompting medtech leaders to rethink their companies' footprints.
Stryker CEO Kevin Lobo told investors in July that while much of its capital spending in recent years went toward office buildings, particularly as Stryker has acquired companies and people, that trend is poised to change.
"We're going to embrace flexible work arrangements going forward, and we are not going to need the same real estate by any stretch that we have today," Lobo said. "Frankly, we're seeing a big change of what's going to be required in the future."
According to Eddie Rymer, a principal at commercial real estate firm Avison Young in medtech hub Minneapolis, many companies are taking a wait-and-see approach when it comes to making decisions. A "hybrid model" of embracing virtual work-from-home strategies part time for some employees while getting more essential workers back together is likely, Rymer said.
One strategy that Rymer is seeing implemented are sale leasebacks — when companies sell a building to investors to free up cash, only to lease it back instead.
JLL's Roger Humphrey, global lead of the firm's life sciences practice, echoed the current state of limbo. "A lot of our clients have put a lot of of their projects on hold, with respect to office space," Humphrey said.
And there's still the school of thought that medtech is competing with big tech for talent, and that attractive work environments remains a pull for winning top candidates. Humphrey, pitching a more optimistic outlook for real estate, noted that even as companies get more critical about how many people need to be working in the same space on a given day, the social distancing mindset and need to reduce density may balance that out.
On the manufacturing side, Humphrey thinks the supply chain lessons from the pandemic will continue to drive a desire for reshoring, and foresees Puerto Rico only growing in popularity. Humphrey also noted that North Carolina, Georgia and New Jersey are all potential targets for an uptick in medtech manufacturing, as they all have life sciences manufacturing infrastructure from 10 or 15 years ago before lots of production was transferred overseas

3. Remote medtech's post-pandemic future

Before the pandemic, remote programming and monitoring of an array of devices was becoming increasingly important. However, these features have become paramount.
Given unprecedented FDA regulatory flexibility, Medtronic, Philips, ResMed and others modified existing products so frontline providers could reduce virus exposure.
Medtronic worked with tech giant Intel and created a new remote management capability for its Puritan Bennett 980 ventilator to allow providers to adjust the breathing machine's settings outside of hospital intensive care units and away from patients.
"We're seeing hospitals talk about making that standard of care," Medtronic CEO Geoff Martha told investors during a late May conference call, adding that it's not a question of if that happens but when.
ResMed similarly developed cloud-based remote monitoring software for ventilators across Europe, providing clinicians with access to respiratory information using their smartphones.
FDA issued guidance in April expanding the remote monitoring and manual control of infusion pumps. In March, the agency also issued an enforcement policy, revised in June, to expand the availability and capability of non-invasive remote monitoring devices to support patient monitoring during the public health emergency. The guidance applies to legally marketed devices that measure and detect common physiological parameters, including electronic stethoscopes, oximeters, and EKG and blood pressure devices.
"The gist of the policy in this guidance is outlining how FDA does not intend to object to certain modifications to the indications, claims, functionality, hardware or software, of these devices" without prior submission of a premarket notification to the agency, said Jessica Paulsen, director of FDA's division of cardiac electrophysiology, diagnostics and monitoring devices.
Allowing manufacturers to change the indications or claims to allow for the use of devices in a home setting has been "a big one" during the pandemic, according to Paulsen.
Paulsen hastened to note that the COVID-19 guidance for non-invasive remote monitoring devices is one of many such policies issued by FDA only intended to remain for the duration of the public health emergency.
Still, some solutions will no doubt become permanent parts of the healthcare landscape after the crisis ends and FDA's emergency use authorizations have expired. Medtechs have either already sought out lasting FDA marketing authorization for such products or are in the planning process.
Philips in May received 510(k) clearance from FDA for a wearable biosensor to help monitor the heart and respiratory rate of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. The sensor, which has a CE mark, provides surveillance alerting clinicians of the risk of a patient's condition deteriorating.
Nearly overnight, COVID-19 has forever changed the status quo for how healthcare providers treat patients remotely with medtech. It's a trend that will continue to improve future care as the U.S. health system looks to drive down healthcare costs through remote monitoring and to increase patient access to care.

4. Clinical trials go remote

Remote technologies have also been extended to clinical trials — a trend that preceded the crisis but has accelerated since.
The scalability and deployability of the technology for clinical trials means that literally thousands of patients can be remotely monitored 24/7 to keep abreast of their conditions following a procedure involving the use of medical devices. All this patient-generated data is analyzed to establish clinically significant findings for devices in head-to-head or standalone studies.
"This is the wave of the future," said Brijeshwar Maini, national medical director of cardiology at Tenet Healthcare and professor of medicine at Florida Atlantic University.
In particular, Maini sees the value of remote monitoring and telehealth to optimize clinical outcomes and increase patient satisfaction following transcatheter aortic valve replacement procedures.
Maini is principal investigator for a first-of-its-kind study of 100 patients undergoing TAVR whose primary objective is to measure the impact of these digital technologies on patient satisfaction, clinical outcomes and hospital readmission rates.
The prospective trial, Telemedicine for Symptom Tracking And Decrease Readmission Rate in TAVR Patients (TELESTAR-TAVR), will monitor patients in real time for cardiac arrhythmia — a predictor for readmission — and signs of early deterioration. Participating physicians will have discretion as to which TAVR devices will be used for specific patients.
Remote and wearable biosensor company VitalConnect is providing the technology including disposable patches used to monitor vital signs, EKG and 19 different arrhythmias, as well as a mobile device to transmit data from the patches to the cloud and a web-accessible central monitoring interface.
"All of those data points will be live streaming back to the caregiver's computer and central command station," said VitalConnect CEO Peter Van Haur.
Patients enrolled will be discharged within 24 hours of their procedure and monitored at home for seven days with the biosensor. They will then connect with their physician via video call and, finally, at 30 days, return to the hospital for follow up.
Maini points to a pivotal trial launched in 2019 to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of Abbott's TriClip transcatheter tricuspid valve repair system for the treatment of severe tricuspid regurgitation as an example of such remote patient monitoring. It is the first pivotal Investigational Device Exemption trial in the U.S. to evaluate a catheter-based, non-surgical treatment for patients with the condition.
In that Abbott trial, Maini notes that about 700 patients will be randomized to receive either the TriClip device or medical therapy and followed for a total of five years.
The TELESTAR-TAVR study, launched in September, was planned prior to the pandemic and ended up having a delayed start as a result of the outbreak, according to Maini.
COVID-19 has disrupted over 1,200 clinical trials and about a third have resumed, according to analytics company GlobalData. Although suspended trials have begun to recruit participants, GlobalData reports delays in trial initiation and slow recruitment continues.
"The clinical trials that could be conducted successfully on a remote basis were able to continue," observed Ira Bahr, COO of digital health company AliveCor. At the same time, Bahr said there are still some studies that are suspended "because they don't have the means of doing what needs to be done remotely."
Nonetheless, Kuldeep Singh Rajput, CEO of digital health company Biofourmis, which leverages a wearable medical-grade biosensor to gather patient data, said that despite the initial impact, about 80% of the clinical trials it is involved in have converted from traditional protocols to virtualized studies.
"Of course there were some hiccups earlier this year, but now those studies are going as planned and are recruiting patients," Rajput said.
FDA issued guidance in March, updated in September, for industry, investigators and institutional review boards on conducting clinical trials during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since trial participants may not be able to come to the investigational site for protocol-specified visits, the agency has recommended that sponsors evaluate alternative methods for safety assessments including virtual visits and remote monitoring.
"The market has fast-forwarded by almost five to six years" with the use of remote-virtual tech, commented Rajput. As a result, he says endpoints are being met much more quickly compared to the traditional ways of conducting clinical trials. "You can do continuous vital signs monitoring using sensors, so patients don't need to come back for office visits. And, you can do virtual visits now using telehealth capabiltiies," Rajput said.

5. HHS changes LDT policy for COVID-19 and beyond

For diagnostics, there may be no regulatory change over the course of the pandemic with potential for more disruption than the August decision that FDA will no longer require premarket review for laboratory-developed tests.
The HHS policy change said laboratories can voluntarily seek approval, clearance or emergency use authorization for an LDT, but they are no longer required to do so. The department cited regulatory flexibilities amid the pandemic as backing the change.
But experts like Scott Gottlieb, former FDA commissioner, warn the regulatory agency's ability to protect public health could be significantly impaired. Gottlieb on Twitter predicted a barrage of direct-to-consumer coronavirus tests will enter the market and be "processed in a central lab operating outside FDA oversight."
The change reverses a long-established FDA regulation and applies to all LDTs, not just COVID-19 diagnostics.
A senior AdvaMed official speaking on background called the move "the wrong call." The lobbying group is concerned that all diagnostic test developers, of both IVDs and LDTs, will not be subject to the same standard of testing validation during the pandemic and beyond.
While the American Clinical Laboratory Association, which represents companies most impacted by the LDT policy changes, said it appreciated HHS' recognition of flexibility for laboratories to innovate, the group argued it must be balanced with bringing to market quality testing services.
The Association for Clinical Oncology in September warned the HHS policy change threatens the safety of cancer care.
"The failure to develop reliable tests that perform as intended, could lead to patients receiving an inappropriate and potentially harmful treatment, or alternatively, not receiving a treatment that has the potential to be beneficial," said ASCO's Chair Monica Bertagnolli, who called for a regulatory framework that includes a risk-based approach to oversight in which LDTs are thoroughly validated.
Democratic lawmakers are looking into it as well. House Energy Committee Chairman Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., in August demanded a briefing from HHS Secretary Alex Azar on the change.
Prior to the HHS policy change in August, Congress had been working on the regulation of LDTs. The Verifying Accurate, Leading-edge IVCT Development (VALID) Act introduced in March in both the House and Senate creates a new test product category, in vitro clinical tests, which include lab-developed tests, while giving FDA authority to review and approve IVCTs.
AdvaMed backs the legislation and is working with the bipartisan cosponsors in both chambers of Congress "so that all diagnostic tests are subject to the same modernized, risk-based, scientifically rigorous, and efficient regulations in order to ensure quality and patient safety."
Likewise, ACLA President Julie Khani in a statement said the VALID Act is critical to achieving "common sense, comprehensive diagnostic reform" through Congress that will enable "our ability to tackle the most challenging and complex health needs of the country."
Originally published by Maria Rachal - Greg Slabodkin | October 1, 2020 Medtech Dive
submitted by kjonesatjaagnet to JAAGNet

Dragonchain Great Reddit Scaling Bake-Off Public Proposal

Dragonchain Great Reddit Scaling Bake-Off Public Proposal

Dragonchain Public Proposal TL;DR:

Dragonchain has demonstrated twice Reddit’s entire total daily volume (votes, comments, and posts per Reddit 2019 Year in Review) in a 24-hour demo on an operational network. Every single transaction on Dragonchain is decentralized immediately through 5 levels of Dragon Net, and then secured with combined proof on Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Binance Chain, via Interchain. At the time, in January 2020, the entire cost of the demo was approximately $25K on a single system (transaction fees locked at $0.0001/txn). With current fees (lowest fee $0.0000025/txn), this would cost as little as $625.
Watch Joe walk through the entire proposal and answer questions on YouTube.
This proposal is also available on the Dragonchain blog.

Hello Reddit and Ethereum community!

I’m Joe Roets, Founder & CEO of Dragonchain. When the team and I first heard about The Great Reddit Scaling Bake-Off we were intrigued. We believe we have the solutions Reddit seeks for its community points system and we have them at scale.
For your consideration, we have submitted our proposal below. The team at Dragonchain and I welcome and look forward to your technical questions, philosophical feedback, and fair criticism, to build a scaling solution for Reddit that will empower its users. Because our architecture is unlike other blockchain platforms out there today, we expect to receive many questions while people try to grasp our project. I will answer all questions here in this thread on Reddit, and I've answered some questions in the stream on YouTube.
We have seen good discussions so far in the competition. We hope that Reddit’s scaling solution will emerge from The Great Reddit Scaling Bake-Off and that Reddit will have great success with the implementation.

Executive summary

Dragonchain is a robust open source hybrid blockchain platform that has proven to withstand the passing of time since our inception in 2014. We have continued to evolve to harness the scalability of private nodes, yet take full advantage of the security of public decentralized networks, like Ethereum. We have a live, operational, and fully functional Interchain network integrating Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and ~700 independent Dragonchain nodes. Every transaction is secured to Ethereum, Bitcoin, and Ethereum Classic. Transactions are immediately usable on chain, and the first decentralization is seen within 20 seconds on Dragon Net. Security increases further to public networks ETH, BTC, and ETC within 10 minutes to 2 hours. Smart contracts can be written in any executable language, offering full freedom to existing developers. We invite any developer to watch the demo, play with our SDK’s, review open source code, and to help us move forward. Dragonchain specializes in scalable loyalty & rewards solutions and has built a decentralized social network on chain, with very affordable transaction costs. This experience can be combined with the insights Reddit and the Ethereum community have gained in the past couple of months to roll out the solution at a rapid pace.

Response and PoC

In The Great Reddit Scaling Bake-Off post, Reddit has asked for a series of demonstrations, requirements, and other considerations. In this section, we will attempt to answer all of these requests.

Live Demo

A live proof of concept showing hundreds of thousands of transactions
On Jan 7, 2020, Dragonchain hosted a 24-hour live demonstration during which a quarter of a billion (250 million+) transactions executed fully on an operational network. Every single transaction on Dragonchain is decentralized immediately through 5 levels of Dragon Net, and then secured with combined proof on Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Binance Chain, via Interchain. This means that every single transaction is secured by, and traceable to these networks. An attack on this system would require a simultaneous attack on all of the Interchained networks.
24 hours in 4 minutes (YouTube):
24 hours in 4 minutes
The demonstration was of a single business system, and any user is able to scale this further, by running multiple systems simultaneously. Our goals for the event were to demonstrate a consistent capacity greater than that of Visa over an extended time period.
Tooling to reproduce our demo is available here:

Source Code

Source code (for on & off-chain components as well tooling used for the PoC). The source code does not have to be shared publicly, but if Reddit decides to use a particular solution it will need to be shared with Reddit at some point.


How it works & scales

Architectural Scaling

Dragonchain’s architecture attacks the scalability issue from multiple angles. Dragonchain is a hybrid blockchain platform, wherein every transaction is protected on a business node to the requirements of that business or purpose. A business node may be held completely private or may be exposed or replicated to any level of exposure desired.
Every node has its own blockchain and is independently scalable. Dragonchain established Context Based Verification as its consensus model. Every transaction is immediately usable on a trust basis, and in time is provable to an increasing level of decentralized consensus. A transaction will have a level of decentralization to independently owned and deployed Dragonchain nodes (~700 nodes) within seconds, and full decentralization to BTC and ETH within minutes or hours. Level 5 nodes (Interchain nodes) function to secure all transactions to public or otherwise external chains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. These nodes scale the system by aggregating multiple blocks into a single Interchain transaction on a cadence. This timing is configurable based upon average fees for each respective chain. For detailed information about Dragonchain’s architecture, and Context Based Verification, please refer to the Dragonchain Architecture Document.

Economic Scaling

An interesting feature of Dragonchain’s network consensus is its economics and scarcity model. Since Dragon Net nodes (L2-L4) are independent staking nodes, deployment to cloud platforms would allow any of these nodes to scale to take on a large percentage of the verification work. This is great for scalability, but not good for the economy, because there is no scarcity, and pricing would develop a downward spiral and result in fewer verification nodes. For this reason, Dragonchain uses TIME as scarcity.
TIME is calculated as the number of Dragons held, multiplied by the number of days held. TIME influences the user’s access to features within the Dragonchain ecosystem. It takes into account both the Dragon balance and length of time each Dragon is held. TIME is staked by users against every verification node and dictates how much of the transaction fees are awarded to each participating node for every block.
TIME also dictates the transaction fee itself for the business node. TIME is staked against a business node to set a deterministic transaction fee level (see transaction fee table below in Cost section). This is very interesting in a discussion about scaling because it guarantees independence for business implementation. No matter how much traffic appears on the entire network, a business is guaranteed to not see an increased transaction fee rate.

Scaled Deployment

Dragonchain uses Docker and Kubernetes to allow the use of best practices traditional system scaling. Dragonchain offers managed nodes with an easy to use web based console interface. The user may also deploy a Dragonchain node within their own datacenter or favorite cloud platform. Users have deployed Dragonchain nodes on-prem on Amazon AWS, Google Cloud, MS Azure, and other hosting platforms around the world. Any executable code, anything you can write, can be written into a smart contract. This flexibility is what allows us to say that developers with no blockchain experience can use any code language to access the benefits of blockchain. Customers have used NodeJS, Python, Java, and even BASH shell script to write smart contracts on Dragonchain.
With Docker containers, we achieve better separation of concerns, faster deployment, higher reliability, and lower response times.
We chose Kubernetes for its self-healing features, ability to run multiple services on one server, and its large and thriving development community. It is resilient, scalable, and automated. OpenFaaS allows us to package smart contracts as Docker images for easy deployment.
Contract deployment time is now bounded only by the size of the Docker image being deployed but remains fast even for reasonably large images. We also take advantage of Docker’s flexibility and its ability to support any language that can run on x86 architecture. Any image, public or private, can be run as a smart contract using Dragonchain.

Flexibility in Scaling

Dragonchain’s architecture considers interoperability and integration as key features. From inception, we had a goal to increase adoption via integration with real business use cases and traditional systems.
We envision the ability for Reddit, in the future, to be able to integrate alternate content storage platforms or other financial services along with the token.
  • LBRY - To allow users to deploy content natively to LBRY
  • MakerDAO to allow users to lend small amounts backed by their Reddit community points.
  • STORJ/SIA to allow decentralized on chain storage of portions of content. These integrations or any other are relatively easy to integrate on Dragonchain with an Interchain implementation.


Cost estimates (on-chain and off-chain) For the purpose of this proposal, we assume that all transactions are on chain (posts, replies, and votes).
On the Dragonchain network, transaction costs are deterministic/predictable. By staking TIME on the business node (as described above) Reddit can reduce transaction costs to as low as $0.0000025 per transaction.
Dragonchain Fees Table

Getting Started

How to run it
Building on Dragonchain is simple and requires no blockchain experience. Spin up a business node (L1) in our managed environment (AWS), run it in your own cloud environment, or on-prem in your own datacenter. Clear documentation will walk you through the steps of spinning up your first Dragonchain Level 1 Business node.
Getting started is easy...
  1. Download Dragonchain’s dctl
  2. Input three commands into a terminal
  3. Build an image
  4. Run it
More information can be found in our Get started documents.

Dragonchain is an open source hybrid platform. Through Dragon Net, each chain combines the power of a public blockchain (like Ethereum) with the privacy of a private blockchain.
Dragonchain organizes its network into five separate levels. A Level 1, or business node, is a totally private blockchain only accessible through the use of public/private keypairs. All business logic, including smart contracts, can be executed on this node directly and added to the chain.
After creating a block, the Level 1 business node broadcasts a version stripped of sensitive private data to Dragon Net. Three Level 2 Validating nodes validate the transaction based on guidelines determined from the business. A Level 3 Diversity node checks that the level 2 nodes are from a diverse array of locations. A Level 4 Notary node, hosted by a KYC partner, then signs the validation record received from the Level 3 node. The transaction hash is ledgered to the Level 5 public chain to take advantage of the hash power of massive public networks.
Dragon Net can be thought of as a “blockchain of blockchains”, where every level is a complete private blockchain. Because an L1 can send to multiple nodes on a single level, proof of existence is distributed among many places in the network. Eventually, proof of existence reaches level 5 and is published on a public network.

API Documentation

APIs (on chain & off)

SDK Source

Nobody’s Perfect

Known issues or tradeoffs
  • Dragonchain is open source and even though the platform is easy enough for developers to code in any language they are comfortable with, we do not have so large a developer community as Ethereum. We would like to see the Ethereum developer community (and any other communities) become familiar with our SDK’s, our solutions, and our platform, to unlock the full potential of our Ethereum Interchain. Long ago we decided to prioritize both Bitcoin and Ethereum Interchains. We envision an ecosystem that encompasses different projects to give developers the ability to take full advantage of all the opportunities blockchain offers to create decentralized solutions not only for Reddit but for all of our current platforms and systems. We believe that together we will take the adoption of blockchain further. We currently have additional Interchain with Ethereum Classic. We look forward to Interchain with other blockchains in the future. We invite all blockchains projects who believe in decentralization and security to Interchain with Dragonchain.
  • While we only have 700 nodes compared to 8,000 Ethereum and 10,000 Bitcoin nodes. We harness those 18,000 nodes to scale to extremely high levels of security. See Dragonchain metrics.
  • Some may consider the centralization of Dragonchain’s business nodes as an issue at first glance, however, the model is by design to protect business data. We do not consider this a drawback as these nodes can make any, none, or all data public. Depending upon the implementation, every subreddit could have control of its own business node, for potential business and enterprise offerings, bringing new alternative revenue streams to Reddit.

Costs and resources

Summary of cost & resource information for both on-chain & off-chain components used in the PoC, as well as cost & resource estimates for further scaling. If your PoC is not on mainnet, make note of any mainnet caveats (such as congestion issues).
Every transaction on the PoC system had a transaction fee of $0.0001 (one-hundredth of a cent USD). At 256MM transactions, the demo cost $25,600. With current operational fees, the same demonstration would cost $640 USD.
For the demonstration, to achieve throughput to mimic a worldwide payments network, we modeled several clients in AWS and 4-5 business nodes to handle the traffic. The business nodes were tuned to handle higher throughput by adjusting memory and machine footprint on AWS. This flexibility is valuable to implementing a system such as envisioned by Reddit. Given that Reddit’s daily traffic (posts, replies, and votes) is less than half that of our demo, we would expect that the entire Reddit system could be handled on 2-5 business nodes using right-sized containers on AWS or similar environments.
Verification was accomplished on the operational Dragon Net network with over 700 independently owned verification nodes running around the world at no cost to the business other than paid transaction fees.



This PoC should scale to the numbers below with minimal costs (both on & off-chain). There should also be a clear path to supporting hundreds of millions of users.
Over a 5 day period, your scaling PoC should be able to handle:
*100,000 point claims (minting & distributing points) *25,000 subscriptions *75,000 one-off points burning *100,000 transfers
During Dragonchain’s 24 hour demo, the above required numbers were reached within the first few minutes.
Reddit’s total activity is 9000% more than Ethereum’s total transaction level. Even if you do not include votes, it is still 700% more than Ethereum’s current volume. Dragonchain has demonstrated that it can handle 250 million transactions a day, and it’s architecture allows for multiple systems to work at that level simultaneously. In our PoC, we demonstrate double the full capacity of Reddit, and every transaction was proven all the way to Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Reddit Scaling on Ethereum


Solutions should not depend on any single third-party provider. We prefer solutions that do not depend on specific entities such as Reddit or another provider, and solutions with no single point of control or failure in off-chain components but recognize there are numerous trade-offs to consider
Dragonchain’s architecture calls for a hybrid approach. Private business nodes hold the sensitive data while the validation and verification of transactions for the business are decentralized within seconds and secured to public blockchains within 10 minutes to 2 hours. Nodes could potentially be controlled by owners of individual subreddits for more organic decentralization.
  • Billing is currently centralized - there is a path to federation and decentralization of a scaled billing solution.
  • Operational multi-cloud
  • Operational on-premises capabilities
  • Operational deployment to any datacenter
  • Over 700 independent Community Verification Nodes with proof of ownership
  • Operational Interchain (Interoperable to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ethereum Classic, open to more)

Usability Scaling solutions should have a simple end user experience.

Users shouldn't have to maintain any extra state/proofs, regularly monitor activity, keep track of extra keys, or sign anything other than their normal transactions
Dragonchain and its customers have demonstrated extraordinary usability as a feature in many applications, where users do not need to know that the system is backed by a live blockchain. Lyceum is one of these examples, where the progress of academy courses is being tracked, and successful completion of courses is rewarded with certificates on chain. Our @Save_The_Tweet bot is popular on Twitter. When used with one of the following hashtags - #please, #blockchain, #ThankYou, or #eternalize the tweet is saved through Eternal to multiple blockchains. A proof report is available for future reference. Other examples in use are DEN, our decentralized social media platform, and our console, where users can track their node rewards, view their TIME, and operate a business node.

Transactions complete in a reasonable amount of time (seconds or minutes, not hours or days)
All transactions are immediately usable on chain by the system. A transaction begins the path to decentralization at the conclusion of a 5-second block when it gets distributed across 5 separate community run nodes. Full decentralization occurs within 10 minutes to 2 hours depending on which interchain (Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Ethereum Classic) the transaction hits first. Within approximately 2 hours, the combined hash power of all interchained blockchains secures the transaction.

Free to use for end users (no gas fees, or fixed/minimal fees that Reddit can pay on their behalf)
With transaction pricing as low as $0.0000025 per transaction, it may be considered reasonable for Reddit to cover transaction fees for users.
All of Reddit's Transactions on Blockchain (month)
Community points can be earned by users and distributed directly to their Reddit account in batch (as per Reddit minting plan), and allow users to withdraw rewards to their Ethereum wallet whenever they wish. Withdrawal fees can be paid by either user or Reddit. This model has been operating inside the Dragonchain system since 2018, and many security and financial compliance features can be optionally added. We feel that this capability greatly enhances user experience because it is seamless to a regular user without cryptocurrency experience, yet flexible to a tech savvy user. With regard to currency or token transactions, these would occur on the Reddit network, verified to BTC and ETH. These transactions would incur the $0.0000025 transaction fee. To estimate this fee we use the monthly active Reddit users statista with a 60% adoption rate and an estimated 10 transactions per month average resulting in an approximate $720 cost across the system. Reddit could feasibly incur all associated internal network charges (mining/minting, transfer, burn) as these are very low and controllable fees.
Reddit Internal Token Transaction Fees

Reddit Ethereum Token Transaction Fees
When we consider further the Ethereum fees that might be incurred, we have a few choices for a solution.
  1. Offload all Ethereum transaction fees (user withdrawals) to interested users as they wish to withdraw tokens for external use or sale.
  2. Cover Ethereum transaction fees by aggregating them on a timed schedule. Users would request withdrawal (from Reddit or individual subreddits), and they would be transacted on the Ethereum network every hour (or some other schedule).
  3. In a combination of the above, customers could cover aggregated fees.
  4. Integrate with alternate Ethereum roll up solutions or other proposals to aggregate minting and distribution transactions onto Ethereum.

Bonus Points

Users should be able to view their balances & transactions via a blockchain explorer-style interface
From interfaces for users who have no knowledge of blockchain technology to users who are well versed in blockchain terms such as those present in a typical block explorer, a system powered by Dragonchain has flexibility on how to provide balances and transaction data to users. Transactions can be made viewable in an Eternal Proof Report, which displays raw data along with TIME staking information and traceability all the way to Bitcoin, Ethereum, and every other Interchained network. The report shows fields such as transaction ID, timestamp, block ID, multiple verifications, and Interchain proof. See example here.
Node payouts within the Dragonchain console are listed in chronological order and can be further seen in either Dragons or USD. See example here.
In our social media platform, Dragon Den, users can see, in real-time, their NRG and MTR balances. See example here.
A new influencer app powered by Dragonchain, Raiinmaker, breaks down data into a user friendly interface that shows coin portfolio, redeemed rewards, and social scores per campaign. See example here.

Exiting is fast & simple
Withdrawing funds on Dragonchain’s console requires three clicks, however, withdrawal scenarios with more enhanced security features per Reddit’s discretion are obtainable.

Interoperability Compatibility with third party apps (wallets/contracts/etc) is necessary.
Proven interoperability at scale that surpasses the required specifications. Our entire platform consists of interoperable blockchains connected to each other and traditional systems. APIs are well documented. Third party permissions are possible with a simple smart contract without the end user being aware. No need to learn any specialized proprietary language. Any code base (not subsets) is usable within a Docker container. Interoperable with any blockchain or traditional APIs. We’ve witnessed relatively complex systems built by engineers with no blockchain or cryptocurrency experience. We’ve also demonstrated the creation of smart contracts within minutes built with BASH shell and Node.js. Please see our source code and API documentation.

Scaling solutions should be extensible and allow third parties to build on top of it Open source and extensible
APIs should be well documented and stable

Documentation should be clear and complete
For full documentation, explore our docs, SDK’s, Github repo’s, architecture documents, original Disney documentation, and other links or resources provided in this proposal.

Third-party permissionless integrations should be possible & straightforward Smart contracts are Docker based, can be written in any language, use full language (not subsets), and can therefore be integrated with any system including traditional system APIs. Simple is better. Learning an uncommon or proprietary language should not be necessary.
Advanced knowledge of mathematics, cryptography, or L2 scaling should not be required. Compatibility with common utilities & toolchains is expected.
Dragonchain business nodes and smart contracts leverage Docker to allow the use of literally any language or executable code. No proprietary language is necessary. We’ve witnessed relatively complex systems built by engineers with no blockchain or cryptocurrency experience. We’ve also demonstrated the creation of smart contracts within minutes built with BASH shell and Node.js.


Bonus Points: Show us how it works. Do you have an idea for a cool new use case for Community Points? Build it!


Community points could be awarded to Reddit users based upon TIME too, whereas the longer someone is part of a subreddit, the more community points someone naturally gained, even if not actively commenting or sharing new posts. A daily login could be required for these community points to be credited. This grants awards to readers too and incentivizes readers to create an account on Reddit if they browse the website often. This concept could also be leveraged to provide some level of reputation based upon duration and consistency of contribution to a community subreddit.

Dragon Den

Dragonchain has already built a social media platform that harnesses community involvement. Dragon Den is a decentralized community built on the Dragonchain blockchain platform. Dragon Den is Dragonchain’s answer to fake news, trolling, and censorship. It incentivizes the creation and evaluation of quality content within communities. It could be described as being a shareholder of a subreddit or Reddit in its entirety. The more your subreddit is thriving, the more rewarding it will be. Den is currently in a public beta and in active development, though the real token economy is not live yet. There are different tokens for various purposes. Two tokens are Lair Ownership Rights (LOR) and Lair Ownership Tokens (LOT). LOT is a non-fungible token for ownership of a specific Lair. LOT will only be created and converted from LOR.
Energy (NRG) and Matter (MTR) work jointly. Your MTR determines how much NRG you receive in a 24-hour period. Providing quality content, or evaluating content will earn MTR.

Security. Users have full ownership & control of their points.
All community points awarded based upon any type of activity or gift, are secured and provable to all Interchain networks (currently BTC, ETH, ETC). Users are free to spend and withdraw their points as they please, depending on the features Reddit wants to bring into production.

Balances and transactions cannot be forged, manipulated, or blocked by Reddit or anyone else
Users can withdraw their balance to their ERC20 wallet, directly through Reddit. Reddit can cover the fees on their behalf, or the user covers this with a portion of their balance.

Users should own their points and be able to get on-chain ERC20 tokens without permission from anyone else
Through our console users can withdraw their ERC20 rewards. This can be achieved on Reddit too. Here is a walkthrough of our console, though this does not show the quick withdrawal functionality, a user can withdraw at any time. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNlTMxnfVHw

Points should be recoverable to on-chain ERC20 tokens even if all third-parties involved go offline
If necessary, signed transactions from the Reddit system (e.g. Reddit + Subreddit) can be sent to the Ethereum smart contract for minting.

A public, third-party review attesting to the soundness of the design should be available
To our knowledge, at least two large corporations, including a top 3 accounting firm, have conducted positive reviews. These reviews have never been made public, as Dragonchain did not pay or contract for these studies to be released.

Bonus points
Public, third-party implementation review available or in progress
See above

Compatibility with HSMs & hardware wallets
For the purpose of this proposal, all tokenization would be on the Ethereum network using standard token contracts and as such, would be able to leverage all hardware wallet and Ethereum ecosystem services.

Other Considerations

Minting/distributing tokens is not performed by Reddit directly
This operation can be automated by smart contract on Ethereum. Subreddits can if desired have a role to play.

One off point burning, as well as recurring, non-interactive point burning (for subreddit memberships) should be possible and scalable
This is possible and scalable with interaction between Dragonchain Reddit system and Ethereum token contract(s).

Fully open-source solutions are strongly preferred
Dragonchain is fully open source (see section on Disney release after conclusion).


Whether it is today, or in the future, we would like to work together to bring secure flexibility to the highest standards. It is our hope to be considered by Ethereum, Reddit, and other integrative solutions so we may further discuss the possibilities of implementation. In our public demonstration, 256 million transactions were handled in our operational network on chain in 24 hours, for the low cost of $25K, which if run today would cost $625. Dragonchain’s interoperable foundation provides the atmosphere necessary to implement a frictionless community points system. Thank you for your consideration of our proposal. We look forward to working with the community to make something great!

Disney Releases Blockchain Platform as Open Source

The team at Disney created the Disney Private Blockchain Platform. The system was a hybrid interoperable blockchain platform for ledgering and smart contract development geared toward solving problems with blockchain adoption and usability. All objective evaluation would consider the team’s output a success. We released a list of use cases that we explored in some capacity at Disney, and our input on blockchain standardization as part of our participation in the W3C Blockchain Community Group.

Open Source

In 2016, Roets proposed to release the platform as open source to spread the technology outside of Disney, as others within the W3C group were interested in the solutions that had been created inside of Disney.
Following a long process, step by step, the team met requirements for release. Among the requirements, the team had to:
  • Obtain VP support and approval for the release
  • Verify ownership of the software to be released
  • Verify that no proprietary content would be released
  • Convince the organization that there was a value to the open source community
  • Convince the organization that there was a value to Disney
  • Offer the plan for ongoing maintenance of the project outside of Disney
  • Itemize competing projects
  • Verify no conflict of interest
  • Preferred license
  • Change the project name to not use the name Disney, any Disney character, or any other associated IP - proposed Dragonchain - approved
  • Obtain legal approval
  • Approval from corporate, parks, and other business units
  • Approval from multiple Disney patent groups Copyright holder defined by Disney (Disney Connected and Advanced Technologies)
  • Trademark searches conducted for the selected name Dragonchain
  • Obtain IT security approval
  • Manual review of OSS components conducted
  • OWASP Dependency and Vulnerability Check Conducted
  • Obtain technical (software) approval
  • Offer management, process, and financial plans for the maintenance of the project.
  • Meet list of items to be addressed before release
  • Remove all Disney project references and scripts
  • Create a public distribution list for email communications
  • Remove Roets’ direct and internal contact information
  • Create public Slack channel and move from Disney slack channels
  • Create proper labels for issue tracking
  • Rename internal private Github repository
  • Add informative description to Github page
  • Expand README.md with more specific information
  • Add information beyond current “Blockchains are Magic”
  • Add getting started sections and info on cloning/forking the project
  • Add installation details
  • Add uninstall process
  • Add unit, functional, and integration test information
  • Detail how to contribute and get involved
  • Describe the git workflow that the project will use
  • Move to public, non-Disney git repository (Github or Bitbucket)
  • Obtain Disney Open Source Committee approval for release
On top of meeting the above criteria, as part of the process, the maintainer of the project had to receive the codebase on their own personal email and create accounts for maintenance (e.g. Github) with non-Disney accounts. Given the fact that the project spanned multiple business units, Roets was individually responsible for its ongoing maintenance. Because of this, he proposed in the open source application to create a non-profit organization to hold the IP and maintain the project. This was approved by Disney.
The Disney Open Source Committee approved the application known as OSSRELEASE-10, and the code was released on October 2, 2016. Disney decided to not issue a press release.
Original OSSRELASE-10 document

Dragonchain Foundation

The Dragonchain Foundation was created on January 17, 2017. https://den.social/l/Dragonchain/24130078352e485d96d2125082151cf0/dragonchain-and-disney/
submitted by j0j0r0 to ethereum