If you’ve previously heard the term “Dentacoin,” you’ve no doubt wondered what this new cryptocurrency is all about—and you’re not alone.
So, what is Dentacoin, exactly? It’s a company that’s developed a digital currency that is actually not meant to be used as a currency. Instead, Dentacoin aims to become a next-generation rewards program for dentists and the people who are willing to review them.
Dentacoin Is Creating a Review System
Dentacoin wants dental patients to write public reviews of the dentists they use. The organization has built a Yelp-like Trusted Reviews Platform, which it says will allow patients to write their reviews on the blockchain, free of censorship. In addition, it plans to implement a verified reviews feature that will be similar to Amazon’s “Verified Purchase” tags. All reviews labeled as “Trusted Reviews” were written by people who were authorized by their dentist to write a review before their treatment started.
The platform will award incentives in the form of Dentacoins (also called DCNs) for participating. But why would anyone want DCN in the first place? According to Dentacoin’s whitepaper, the program will ultimately help users save money; “Individuals who use … these tools will receive Dentacoin Tokens … which they can later use to pay for their dental treatment or to purchase dental products,”
From that description, the DCN token looks almost exactly like a standard rewards system. But what the creators have in mind goes much further than that. As the company later explained in the whitepaper, dentists could potentially “consider DCN as a financial investment, or they could remunerate employees for their extraordinary performance in the workplace. They could also pay suppliers in Dentacoin with no extra time, no middlemen and no more high international transaction costs. This direct connection between producers and dentists will then allow dentists to provide lower prices to patients.”
There are Four Phases Planned
The reviews platform is just Phase I of Dentacoin’s plan. That, by itself, is a small piece of the road map that has been separated into four distinct phases. During Phase II, the Dentacoin team is building and refining two mobile apps. One of these apps, DentaVox, functions like a paid survey. It polls users on dental health topics and rewards them with DCN. The other app, Dentacare, uses gamification to encourage users to practice good dental hygiene.
Phase III is where things get really interesting, as the company plans to introduce a system of insurance that is powered by the blockchain and smart contracts. The details for this phase are sparse, though it sounds like an intriguing concept.
In the fourth and final phase, Dentacoin plans to create an online database that uses its decentralized blockchain to store medical records. This will allow patients to take control of their data and access it at any time. It will also enable them to transport it as needed when they change providers or when there is an emergency.
What’s the Current Status?
As you can see, this road map is full of diverse and ambitious plans. But Dentacoin itself was just released in February 2017. How far has the organization come in executing this plan?
According to its February 2018 blog post, Phases I and II are well underway. “The first three tools of Dentacoin were released as planned: Dentacoin Trusted Reviews—the first blockchain-based platform for incentivized detailed feedback; DentaVox Research platform, gathering valuable market research data on dental related topics; and DentaCare Mobile App, helping users to establish healthy dental care habits,” the company notes. “All together, they attracted more than 25,000 active users.”
Phases III and IV seem to be planned for the near future. If the master plan does come to pass, the cryptocurrency could have a great impact on the dental insurance marketplace.
What’s Next for Dentacoin?
When it comes to determining exactly what is Dentacoin and where it’s headed, no one knows what the blockchain system will ultimately look like. It could be revolutionary.
In addition, having access to online, time-stamped, forgery-resistant medical records could have an enormous impact on several industries, including the traditional insurance marketplace. Or it could run into insurmountable legal hurdles.
However, in a step toward legitimacy, Dentacoin spent $90 million to acquire a dental clinic last year. “A major breakthrough for Dentacoin was the purchase of a real existing dental clinic, the Dentaprime International Plc. London,” The Independent Republic reported. “The transfer of ownership took place in July 2017 once the purchase price had been paid. This transaction was phenomenal due to the fact that the calculated purchase price … was paid entirely in DCN.”
While this can be seen as a strong start, there is still a long way to go before Dentacoin achieves widespread adoption. Some aspects of the company’s plan still need to be tested. And with something this innovative, it is difficult to predict how it will be received. But win, lose or draw, nobody will ever criticize Dentacoin for thinking too small.