Health Insurance in the United States is dominated by four companies that provide 84% of all coverage. These companies hire extensively and seek to grow their business(like almost all businesses). The cost of this desire is that the consumers pay much above what they should be paying for health insurance. Public misconceptions about treatment costs, health insurance companies, and centralized authority, enable these companies to charge exorbitant amounts of money for coverage.
What it does
Flock replaces the insurance broker. Instead of paying premiums to an insurance company and hope that your claims go unfought, you pay into a clustered pool that is used exclusively for medical bills. Using a reward system for correct claim assessment, we have built in a delegate system that audits claims and releases funds when needed. Flock is not in control of your funds at any point, instead choosing to delegate power to decentralized communities who in turn determine risk, premiums, deductibles, and other aspects associated with traditional insurance. Without a large company as middleman, the amount we save on wages and fees are directly passed to users. We aren't here to create a monopoly(not to mention we are unable to due to the nature of our network), we're here to provide a service and utility.
How we built it
We built the backend with Firebase and developed a set of smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain to establish a system of governance amidst Flocks as well as guarantee the integrity of a functioning, decentralized insurance network. ACES nodes were setup to communicate with the Ark Network. However they only worked partially on the testnet as we could not setup the ACES nodes on the Ark Mainnet. The front end was made in React after being mocked up in Photoshop.
Challenges we ran into
Getting acquainted with Ark was definitely a big challenge. Their sidechain setup and azure script were ultra-accessible, but beyond that, use of wrappers other than Arky required a ton of reading and understanding of the source code to get very far. However we really wanted to utilize Ark's low block clear time,which was super appealing to Ethereum's 15s clear times, as were trying to build something on great scale. Ultimately we did manage to come up with a workaround using ACES and Smart Contracts on Ethereum.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We managed to get an Ark sidechain running pretty quickly. We worked very hard and well together which was super wholesome, and we became heavily familiar with a lot of facets of Ark. We successfully deployed smart contracts that interacted through the web3 api to connect our pretty frontend with our powerhouse backend. Also our logo looks neat!
What we learned
We learned that pushing a focus on user acquisition rather than emergent technologies was more beneficial to appealing to would-be user/customers. It's great that decentralization brings about a whole new world of possibilities, but until we're in that new world, we need to work hard as developers to develop products that people want that leverage the blockchain effectively. It's not enough to say this technology is the future, you have to prove to the end-user that it truly is.
What's next for Flock
Flock's smart contracts will most likely be revised to support more customization in Flocks/Clusters. Afterwards we'll do a rewrite on our frontend before seeking some form of venture capital to hold us over while we build it out. We still want to use Ark's systems, so getting ACES nodes setup is also a priority.