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Delphus Winter 2020 Update

The Delphus team has been hard at work over the past few months, steadily improving our product with many heavily-requested features. At the same time, we’ve been busy both in and out of the country bringing Delphus to many new people!

Product Updates

XForms

We have introduced support for the standard XForms specification, used by software from the Open Data Kit ecosystem. Supporting file uploads, multiple pages, advanced skip logic, and structured data collection, it has greatly improved our support for complex forms and data submissions.

Further, we have also implemented support for XForm imports from other software. This allows researchers to easily migrate to our platform without spending time on retraining or converting battle-tested form designs.

Multi-collateral Dai Support

We have updated to support multi-collateral Dai on the Kovan testnet, connecting to Dai on the Kovan contracts powering Oasis Trade. This is a foundational upgrade that increases the security of our payment storage and compensation system.

Further, we have tested the upgrade with our automated Dai exchange functionality, ensuring that it properly continues operations into the future.

UI Redesigns

We’ve greatly improved the appearance of our landing page to more clearly convey the benefits of using Delphus, with three key points where Delphus helps:

Delphus’s redesigned landing page

We’ve also made improvements to the user interface for both researchers and participants, streamlining the interface to create a study and add data.

Sponsor Awards at ETHWaterloo

Our most interesting weekend was at ETHWaterloo, where we spent time creating Cortex, a decentralized Ethereum identity verification system. It’s our hope to integrate this as a trusted method of organizational verification in Delphus to demonstrate the identities of researchers and to provide it as a Keybase-like service for the Ethereum ecosystem.

We were happy to work with members of several development teams at the event, including NuCypher, Ethereum Name Service, and Torus, integrating their software with ours. We were also honored to be selected for the following prizes:

  • NuCypher Award
  • Ethereum Name Service Award
  • Torus Award

It was a great experience hacking in Waterloo, and we hope to return next year!

Whitepaper Update

As part of our documentation updates, we have updated the whitepaper to include a clearer description of our problem statement and an updated technical architecture. If you haven’t taken a look at it before, please check it out now!

That’s all — best wishes for a wonderful 2020 and a new decade!

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nuCypher Walkthrough (WIP)

  • Person A (Alice) takes data (in this example) and enters it into the computer. She creates a policy describing what people should have access to the data and when it expires.

  • The computer (Enrico) generates a symmetric key and encrypts the data; then it encrypts the symmetric key with Alice’s public key (capsule).

  • The header (capsule) is essentially  a randomly generated key from the computer (Enrico: think password generator) that can decode the data in the rest of the message.

  • The encrypted data + header is uploaded to IPFS.

  • Person B (Bob), who wants to read the data, downloads the encrypted data + header and sends only the header to a number of proxy re-encryption nodes (Ursula), which re-encrypt the header with Bob’s public key. They send back this header, which Bob can decrypt with his private key thanks to the magic of proxy re-encryption.

  • Person B uses the header, which contains the decrypted symmetric key, to read the rest of the data.

Will be adding more explanation and nuance later, but this is a basic walkthrough about how we tried to visualize and understand nuCypher. Please feel free to correct us or connect with us!

For a more in depth explanation, see https://docs.nucypher.com/en/latest/architecture/character.html

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Delphus: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

Over the past few months, we’ve had a blast building Delphus, a revolutionary scientific study manager built for the Ethereum blockchain. Our product is built on the premise that studies should be transparent, secure, and accessible to everyone. In this post, we’ll share the history of our project as it has evolved to become what it is today.

Where We’ve Been

commit 1a060c6d736afaa3eac1c7dab4af29fa969edde0
Author: Ajacuzzi <34138509+Ajacuzzi@users.noreply.github.com>
Date:   Sat Feb 24 09:20:04 2018 -0500

    Initial commit

Delphus began as a humble project developed overnight at MAHacks III, a New England hackathon. After gaining inspiration from a Forbes article that recommended using blockchain technologies in clinical trials, and gathering our own information from a sister familiar with scientific trials, we built the early-alpha version of Delphus, then called reBlock.

Delphus, then called reBlock, original hackathon version

It wasn’t pretty, but it was functional, and it had the core features still present in our product today. To our surprise, the hackathon judges awarded us first place, and we decided to continue developing it further. After meeting Erick Pinos there, the President of the MIT Bitcoin Club, he let us know about the MIT Bitcoin Expo Pitch Competition and encouraged us to submit.

Delphus v0.3.0, as presented at the MIT Bitcoin Expo

Three weeks of tireless work later, this was the result: a fully-functional, end-to-end study management platform. Against promising startups like Coconut and Artifacts.ai, we won second place and a partnership with Pillar VC, who continues to help us today.

Shortly thereafter, we went on to speak at Babson College about our product as part of Boston Blockchain Week. Then, we hunkered down for the summer developing the remaining features for our product, including participant data management, encryption, and a smoother UI flow. As the summer finished, we went to DoraHacks in Boston to develop patient data alerting, winning first place and a prize of $1.5k.

Most recently, we have gone to California for business purposes and working towards the future of Delphus.

Where We’re Going

Delphus today

We are currently seeking beta testers for our first public trials, beginning with university studies. We are expanding our market both nationally and internationally. Furthermore, we are in conversation a few impressive companies, which we hope to be able to speak more in depth about in the future.

Of course, there are always more features to implement as well, from our novel tokenized reputation system for medical professionals to a machine-learning recommendation system to automatically connect researchers to patients. We plan to finish these in the coming months to further improve our product.

We’re excited to get our product out into the world, and we believe it can benefit all of scientific research. Want to use it? Contact us at info@scintillate.me.

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Interview with Will Hemond, Co-Founder of Delphus

Sponsr.us, a student-run entrepreneurial nonprofit group, recently interviewed Will Hemond, co-founder of Scintillating and Delphus.

Check out their article on Medium!