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Molecule Partners with CryoDAO to Expand Onchain Intellectual Property and Advance Cryopreservation Research
Molecule, a leader in decentralized science (DeSci) and a pioneer in tokenized intellectual property (IP), is thrilled to announce its strategic partnership with CryoDAO.
Jillian Casalini
Jul 15, 2024
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Molecule, a leader in decentralized science (DeSci) and a pioneer in tokenized intellectual property (IP), is thrilled to announce its strategic partnership with CryoDAO, a decentralized collective dedicated to funding high-impact research to advance cryopreservation techniques. 

Working on the bleeding edge of scientific innovation, CryoDAO’s mandate is to make death optional. We will be working together to further their mission, bringing cryopreservation research projects to the DeSci community utilizing Molecule IP tokens: IP-NFTs and IPTs.  

Powered by Molecule IP Tokens 

Molecule IP tokens transform the management of scientific IP through tokenization:

  • Intellectual Property NFTs (IP-NFTs): IP-NFTs are non-fungible tokens that register scientific IP onchain. IP-NFTs provide a secure, immutable record of scientific IP ownership and rights, enabling easy IP transfer, verification, and management.
  • Intellectual Property Tokens (IPTs): IPTs are fungible tokens that distribute the IP rights associated with a particular IP-NFT, decentralizing its scientific process by enabling globally distributed governance of it and transforming the way scientists engage with their online communities.  

Molecule IP-NFTs and IPTs empower CryoDAO to accelerate the pace of cryopreservation research and funding by bringing scientific IP onchain.  

Combining Biotech Dealflow Expertise

Working closely with the CryoDAO scientific research dealflow team, Molecule’s biotech team will aid in experimental planning, IP strategy, and negotiation, leveraging an existing partnership with Nucleate

You can learn more about Molecule’s partnership with Nucleate to source cutting-edge scientific research for IP tokenization from all around the world here

Together, CryoDAO and Molecule will build a pipeline of groundbreaking cryopreservation research projects and tokenize them.  

Growing Onchain IP Through Cryopreservation

This collaboration marks an important step towards a more vibrant and innovative DeSci ecosystem, leveraging the strengths of both organizations to make a meaningful impact. To stay up to date on the partnership, follow Molecule on X or sign up for our newsletter. 

"We are thrilled to enter into this cool partnership with CryoDAO, which accelerates our vision of tokenizing scientific IP, enabling new sources of capital to fund valuable, underfunded research areas like cryonics. We believe that DeSci has the opportunity to make crypto a force for enabling researchers to work on humanity’s biggest problems and for communities to bring discoveries to life that would never have existed otherwise. We are excited to charge the chilling growth of the CryoDAO community to make cryonics a reality and make taxes the only guarantee in life." Benji Leibowitz, COO at Molecule
Together with Molecule, CryoDAO will push the boundaries of decentralized science, tokenizing the most important research in the world—research that will save our very lives. By calling on a global community to advance this science, we have an opportunity to change the course of human history forever. This partnership is an important first step.”  Kai Micah Mills, co-founder of CryoDAO.

About Molecule

Molecule is dedicated to advancing scientific research through permissionless funding and the tokenization of intellectual property (IP). By transforming scientific IP into a liquid onchain asset, Molecule aligns the incentives of researchers and funders, fostering a more collaborative and efficient research ecosystem. 

About CryoDAO

CryoDAO envisions a world where organs and tissues preserved in vast biobanks are available to patients on demand, where journeys to distant stars become journeys in slumber, and where even life can be frozen in time. CryoDAO funds research projects that have a high potential to increase the quality and capabilities of cryopreservation.

DeSci.Berlin 2024 Recap
We don’t know about you, but we’re still processing all the incredible ideas and information shared at this year's DeSci.Berlin!
Cameron Stow
Jun 13, 2024
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Day 1

Molecule Announced Catalyst

Of course, we can’t talk about DeSci.Berlin without highlighting the unveiling of our latest product—Catalyst. In case you missed our announcement, Catalyst is a platform designed to revolutionize the funding and governance of early-stage research. It operates like the Kickstarter of science, enabling funders to contribute crypto directly to research projects and govern the resulting IP, fostering meaningful connections between researchers and funders.

As we prepare for Catalyst’s beta launch, we invite you to join us on this journey and be among the first to experience the future of research funding and project governance. Secure your spot on the early access list today!

Julia Zhao from Nucleate - “Empowering Biotech Leaders: From Academic Science to Accelerated Startups”

Nucleate’s Global Director of Activator Operations, Julia Zhao, presented how biotech leaders can better transition from academic science to founding and scaling startups. She highlighted Nucleate’s flagship program, Activator, which facilitates company formation in the life sciences through a structured matching process and curriculum. Through this program, Nucleate provides mentorship, expert workshops, and industry connections to help teams develop their projects.

What stuck out for us was Julia’s focus on the importance of community and open access to biotech education. She says, “Nucleate is currently aiming to be the world's largest educational organization for functional and impact-driven life science career development programs.”

For more information about the Nucleate x Molecule partnership, you can read the full press release here.

Vincent Weisser - “Scientific Progress Through Decentralized AI”

Vincent Weisser recently honed his focus on democratizing AI at scale by founding Prime Intellect. Their platform simplifies finding global compute resources and training state-of-the-art models through distributed training across clusters. AI will increasingly drive and accelerate scientific progress, and Vincent understands the necessity of decentralization. 

With the growing capabilities of large language models (LLMs) and AI agents, we can expect remarkable advancements in technology and science, and better access to scaled compute is crucial as this happens. 

Vincent reiterated DeSci's role in this: design ecosystems that provide necessary rewards/incentives and build bioDAOs that can allocate capital for compute resources.

Jurij Skornik & Charlie Edwards - DeSci on Decentralized Knowledge Graphs with Origin Trail

The last three major knowledge revolutions were the printing press, the internet, and now AI. According to Jurij, the future of AI will be unlocked through what he calls the “Verifiable Internet for AI,” a combination of crypto, the internet, and AI that ensures the provenance, ownership, and integrity of information. By integrating Decentralized Knowledge Graphs (DKGs) and “Knowledge Assets” using the Origin Trail framework, we can obtain much more reliable outputs from AI. These Knowledge Assets can be grouped into knowledge bundles called “Paranets,” which can then be mined and monetized, incentivizing participation from knowledge miners.

Charlie, from ID Theory, shared with us their plan to invest in building a DeSci Paranet to create a “ground truth layer for autonomous research and decentralized scientific advancement.” - if you’re a builder in this space, be sure to drop them a message!

To learn more about Origin Trail, visit their website or check out their latest tool, ChatDKG.

Ethan Perlstein - “Scientific Progress Through Decentralized AI”

Ethan Perlstein is a vision-driven man, determined to help families abandoned by traditional healthcare. He spoke to us about his company Perlara, the world's first biotech public benefit corporation. Perlara collaborates directly with motivated families to develop treatments and cures for rare genetic diseases, operating as a decentralized, patient-driven biotech company. Ethan thinks that Web3 technologies have the potential to scale the patient-driven biotech model, ensuring economic fairness and proper compensation for families’ contributions. We agree!

"Pharma is too big to scale down to this problem... I'd love a world where families are not just expected to sit down and wait for medicine to show up. They should be rewarded for their contributions to drug development, potentially through a value-added royalty system on-chain."

Day 2

Lou de Kerhuelvez - Opportunities for DeSci in the Contect of Emerging Network Sovereigns

Lou de Kerhuelvez, Program Director at Foresight Institute, introduced the audience to new governance models called “Network Sovereignties.” New opportunities for coordination and governance are now possible with advancements in communication tools, collaboration, and technologies like blockchain, smart contracts, zero-knowledge proofs, and voting mechanisms.

Lou spoke about the flaws in the current ideas of network states - these models often lack proper governance structures, are centralized, oligarchic, territory-based, and primarily rely on exit strategies. Her proposed solution is network sovereignties, which serve as new institutional structures for global cooperation. Examples of this approach already exist in Vitalia and Edge City. Click here to read more about network sovereignty or how to participate in ongoing initiatives.

LabDAO - Accessible BioML Tools, Ownable Discoveries

How we can move from funding drug target studies to developing an actual candidate molecules within the DeSci framework? In traditional early-stage molecule discovery, it can cost millions of dollars just to identify a molecule which binds to a target. However, in DeSci, we are allocating only a fraction of that amount to current research initiatives. A major cost driver for these studies is laboratory expenses. So, how do we achieve the same quality of discovery with much less funding?

Lab.Bio offers a solution. By leveraging the latest advanced machine learning models, we can integrate laboratory simulation into the early discovery process. Users can run generative models and simulators to fast-track the discovery process, explore generated molecules, manage results, and retain ownership of their work. The Lab.Bio platform will be launching soon. For more information, visit LabDAO.

AminoChain - An Introduction to Decentralized Biobanking

AminoChain’s Founder and CEO, Casper Barnes, took the stage to announce the first decentralized biobank for enterprise healthcare institutions. Currently the process of donating bio-samples for scientific research is deeply flawed and fails to utilize the millions of unused samples across the US effectively. AminoChain aims to address the growing problem of misaligned incentives and mistrust in biomedical research with decentralized biobanking.

With decentralized biobanking, leveraging AminoChain’s software, biobanks can operate as nodes within a network that fosters collaboration by sharing samples and licensing agreements transparently and securely, while involving patients in the process. AminoChain’s goal is to create the Amazon for bio-samples, transforming biobanks worldwide into “shoppable specimen center experiences.”

Pitch Competition with Nucleate Activator’s Program

As part of the Molecule X Nucleate partnership, we decided to sponsor a pitch competition for participants in Nucleate’s German Activator program. Four young companies took to the stage to present their innovative ideas to the audience, who then had the power to vote for their favorite project. 

Fluvion

Fluvion’s advanced bioreactors are designed to efficiently scale and utilize secretory epithelial cells for various industrial applications. This technology enables the sustainable and economic production of biologic liquids such as milk, venoms, musk, silk, and complex pharmaceutical ingredients, all without the use of animals and without generating greenhouse gas emissions.

Jellyfish Bio

Jellyfish Bio is an AI platform for blood biomarker discovery. They leverage AI and continuous monitoring to create comprehensive, well-characterized individual patient profiles, addressing the heterogeneity of genetic diseases. By integrating genetics, wearable data, and blood biomarkers, they enable personalized treatment plans, drug repurposing analysis, and new outcome measures. 

Silica Corpora

Silica Corpora is an AI-driven company specializing in the de novo design, optimization, and screening of antibodies. They focus on epitope-specific screening and are developing tools like Ep-Mapper for epitope mapping.

EscapeAgent

EscapeAgent revolutionizes gene therapy with a potent endosomal escape enhancer, tackling delivery inefficiencies. They hope to enable efficient gene therapy by reducing complexity by using a drug master file!

The winner? Silica Corpora, with their De Novo design of antibody therapeutics. We want to thank Nucleate and all the participants for their incredible work, and we look forward to seeing each project develop and thrive.

That’s all for now folks!

Thank you to all our speakers, participants, and attendees for making DeSci.Berlin an unforgettable event. For those that weren’t able to make it, we’re in the process of uploading all of the talk onto our Youtube page, so they may live on in our hearts, minds, and Youtube playlists forever. See you next year!

Leveraging Decentralized Funding to Combat Nonsense Mutations
Ringing in 2024, longevity stalwart VitaDAO has funded Dr. Michael Torres’ work to nullify a nonsense mutation that is implicated in a wide range of cancers and age-related diseases.
Ella McCarthy-Page
Feb 13, 2024
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Even the smallest mutations in our genetic code can have damaging effects, cascading into an array of disease pathologies. In an effort to negate these effects,  VitaDAO, a key player in Decentralized Science, has partnered with Dr. Michael Torres and Artan BIO to engineer a first-in-class therapy that aims to suppress deleterious codon mutations. The VitaDAO community voted to provide $91,300 worth of funding to Dr. Torres via Molecule’s Intellectual Property Non-Fungible Token (IP-NFT) protocol. To increase the opportunity for community involvement and further funding, the IP-NFT will be tokenized into Intellectual Property Tokens (IPTs), granting governance privileges to IPT holders in the VitaDAO community and beyond. 

What happens when DNA gets up to nonsense?

The ribosome, colloquially known as our protein printer, is continually walking itself down strands of genetic code, reading each building block like braille, and then summoning the corresponding amino acids, with the help of transfer RNA (tRNA). These amino acids string together, ultimately forming proteins. If a single building block, known as a nucleotide, mutates, it can alter the protein being created. Our proteins participate in every possible shade of bodily function, so changes in protein synthesis tend to cause a whole host of problems. 

One such nucleotide change results in mutations known as nonsense mutations. They occur when a single nucleotide mutates and forms a stop codon, which is effectively a force-eject button. Stop codons are generally reserved for the end of the entire protein sequence when the protein is ready to be sent off into the body, but in the case of nonsense mutations, these stop codons accidentally crop up elsewhere. When this happens, protein formation is halted prematurely, resulting in half-formed, non-functional proteins which can go on to cause mayhem in the body. Finding and correcting nonsense mutations is not a novel concept. In fact, our bodies do it already! However, we’re far from perfect - issues arise when genuine stop codons are recognized as well, and overridden when they should not be. Currently, the existing treatments also fall prey to this issue. 

The Science

To address the gap, Dr. Torres has invented a potential solution; an engineered system to suppress the outcome of a particular nonsense mutation, enabling the continuation of protein formation. His solution is unique in so far that it appears to be more discerning than other treatments, correctly identifying the problematic stop codon while ignoring genuine stop codons, and most importantly, not interfering with normal gene translation. Preliminary data produced in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University has supported Dr. Torres’ hypothesis, leading to VitaDAO’s decision to fund further investigation. 

Additionally, Dr. Torres has identified a delivery system that is adept at sneaking into cells in the heart, liver, skeletal muscle, and central nervous system. By integrating the engineered codon suppressor into this vector, he suspects that it will be the perfect vehicle to carry the therapeutic to exactly where it needs to go. This vector comes with the bonus of already being clinically validated, which enables the team to optimize its path to first-in-human studies, as certain risks have already been addressed. 

The Scientist

Dr. Torres, who holds a PhD in Cancer Biology from UT-Southwestern in Dallas, has previously co-founded ReCode Therapeutics, a clinical-stage genetic medicines company that has secured over $300M in funding. He now works as the CEO of CrossBridge Bio, an oncology-focused company focused on developing next-generation dual payload antibody-drug conjugates. Dr. Torres was introduced to Decentralized Science (DeSci) by longtime DeSci supporter Mike Baran from Pfizer Ventures, and was quickly attracted to the ability to leverage community engagement to critically evaluate and fund ideas. His extensive experience in drug development, as well as his aptitude for both science and entrepreneurship, make him the perfect candidate for VitaDAO and Molecule’s novel funding model.

“In essence, this model is a powerful tool for transforming ideas into tangible data, supporting future drug development, and creating valuable societal assets.” Dr. Michael Torres

A single solution for many diseases

As a seasoned drug developer, Dr. Torres understands the importance of having foresight when in the lab. In studying nonsense mutations, Dr. Torres observed that a specific nonsense mutation is prevalent in many proteins involved in cellular processes associated with aging such as DNA repair, epigenetic regulators, and tumor suppressors. As this mutation is conserved across many diseases, several clinical opportunities are possible. Under optimal conditions, this research has the potential to turn into a ubiquitous therapy that could be used to treat several health issues associated with aging. VitaDAO is particularly interested in the potential of a therapeutic that could reactivate tumor-suppressing proteins in cancer patients, aiming to slow down or even eradicate tumor growth, given their focus on age-related diseases. Some of the other diseases implicated with nonsense mutations are Duchenne muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy, metabolic diseases, and neurologic disorders. 

About VitaDAO

VitaDAO is a community-owned collective dedicated to funding and advancing longevity science that can improve people's lives. They have a strong presence in the Decentralized Science community and have utilized the IP-NFT model multiple times. In addition to this, together with Molecule and Dr. Viktor Korochuk, VitaDAO launched the first tokenized research project in the form of IPTs. The IPT tokens, known as VITA-FAST have enabled direct community governance - a world first. 

Dr. Anthony Schwartz, a VitaDAO Entrepreneur in Residence, will act as the project manager for this project. He has founded at least 15 startups, primarily focused on autoimmune diseases and cancer, which have led to large financings and an FDA-approved product. He is also a lecturer at Johns Hopkins. 

“The emerging VitaDAO model can potentially change how new drugs are funded. I'm excited and motivated to help bring that model to fruition through VitaDAO's funding of new companies and blockchain capital raises (IP-NFT/IPT) and seamlessly transition these companies into traditional VC/Pharma financing to bring new drugs to the market.” Dr. Anthony Schwartz

What is an Intellectual Property Non-Fungible Token?

Intellectual Property Non-Fungible Tokens (IP-NFTs) bring IP rights, such as the right to data and patents from drugs developed by funded research, onchain by attaching IP rights to smart contracts. By unifying data and intellectual property rights into programmable, transactable, blockchain tokens, IP-NFTs represent an evolutionary step in the development and management of scientific research IP. To date, IP-NFTs have been used to register IP of more than $1.95M in scientific research. The Torres IP-NFT adds to this growing list. You can find the IP-NFT here

The IP-NFT artwork created to visually represent the project

Intellectual Property Tokens invite the community to participate 

“This revolutionary concept of IP tokenization allows community involvement in the drug development process, creating a mutually beneficial situation. For us, it enables unlocking additional capital in a collaborative manner. For the community, it gives them an opportunity to directly support projects in a manner previously unavailable.” Dr. Michael Torres

True to the belief of equitable and accessible scientific research, VitaDAO will be tokenizing the Torres IP-NFT into IPTs, fungible tokens enabling the distribution of IP rights to their holders, in order to raise funds for the science and empower the community to govern the resulting IP.  

Funding from sales of the IPTs will enable Dr. Torres and his team to insert the engineered fragment into the chosen vector and perform in vitro testing to validate its effectiveness. IPTs will enable individuals to actively govern the project and its results, such as new drugs developed from the team’s research. 

Granting community members the power to co-develop research projects harnesses the potential of incentive-aligned expertise, furthering decentralized science. Many decisions need to occur as this project unfolds, such as which other possible delivery vehicles to test, which disease indication is best suited for clinical testing, and how to raise additional funds. With the power of IP tokenization, the wisdom of the crowd now has the chance to influence those decisions.  

Join VitaRNA Crowdsale

BioDAOs are Community-Owned Research Translation Engines, Not Investment DAOs
Moving research from concept to market is like conducting a symphony - there are numerous players and stakeholders, each bringing their unique expertise to work in harmony and advance a project. As research continues to speed up and span across...
Tyler, Benji, Jesse, Vincent
Mar 17, 2023
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‍Introduction 

Moving research from concept to market is like conducting a symphony - there are numerous players and stakeholders, each bringing their unique expertise to work in harmony and advance a project. As research continues to speed up and span across disciplines, the challenge of bringing new ideas and innovations from the academic sphere to the commercial realm becomes increasingly crucial. For instance, many of the top-selling therapeutics available today were originally developed in academia and had to navigate the difficult path of translation.

The process of transforming a therapeutic or technology from the research and development stage into a market-ready product or service is intricate and laden with obstacles. Presently, it calls for the cooperation and coordination of a multitude of organizations, along with funding, expertise, collaboration, and various other resources and support. BioDAOs streamline the process by consolidating all pertinent stakeholders into a single, internet-based virtual organization. This vertical integration enables a seamless end-to-end approach, fostering increased efficiency, collaboration, and resource-sharing throughout the entire research and development journey.

In this brief piece, we delve into the challenges and opportunities associated with translating research from academic institutions and investigate how organizations like BioDAOs are contributing to the support and facilitation of this vital process.

The Primitives of Biomedical Discovery and Development

It's noteworthy that the majority of approved medicines, around 60%, have their roots in academia, with the remaining 40% stemming from pharmaceutical research and discovery. Early-stage therapeutic research generally involves target-based or phenotypic screening using cell lines (in vitro) and model organisms (in vivo), depending on the disease model being studied. This work is often grant-funded and carried out in academic labs until patents or other intellectual property (IP) are filed by the university's technology transfer office (TTO).

The university then licenses the IP to an existing pharmaceutical company or a biotech startup, which takes on Investigational New Drug (IND) enabling studies. These studies involve more in vivo testing in increasingly larger animals to evaluate safety and efficacy. This phase is typically executed by private biotech labs and/or contract research organizations, funded by venture capital and/or pharma balance sheets. Clinical development kicks off when the company files an IND with the FDA, progressing through Phase I for safety, Phase II for early signs of efficacy, and Phase III for determining full approval.

Once an experimental medicine has undergone all clinical development phases, the company files a new drug application (NDA - or MAA), which can be approved or denied by the FDA (or EMA). If approved, the company can then market and distribute the therapeutic. This process entails a blend of patient- and physician-targeted marketing to ensure the maximum number of eligible patients receive the treatment.

Throughout this progression, the therapeutic IP is often transferred among multiple organizations, including academia, biotech, and pharma. Funding typically comes from a mix of government agencies, venture capitalists (VCs), and pharmaceutical companies. The goal of a BioDAO is to consolidate all funding and development functions for a specific therapeutic area within a single organization, streamlining the entire process.

What is a BioDAO?

A BioDAO refers to a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) that specializes in harnessing the collective efforts of a diverse group of stakeholders to expedite the development and distribution of biotechnology products and services, spanning from early concept to market. BioDAOs fund and incubate projects during the initial stages of translational research, often through IP-NFTs, even before a company is established. While venture studios and corporate venture arms share similarities, BioDAOs stand out as community-owned and operated entities.

Contrasting with venture studios and corporate venture arms, where investment is the primary activity and profits are distributed to shareholders or partners, investment in BioDAOs is a secondary endeavor within the community, akin to venture investments by a university endowment supporting the university's operations. Returns from BioDAO investments are channeled into funding further research and operations, mirroring how a university endowment's investments contribute to additional research, facility improvements, and the university's functioning. However, BioDAOs differ from universities in their ability to vertically integrate the scientific discovery and commercial development of biotechnology products and services for a specific indication or therapeutic area, unifying all relevant stakeholders within a single, internet-based virtual organization.

During a project's early stages, BioDAOs engage in activities such as inventing novel IP, funding and developing research from its members and consolidating biomedical datasets among their members. As projects advance and gain value within the community, BioDAOs allocate more resources toward company formation, business development, scaling, regulatory filing, and distribution of biotechnology products. By fostering a community of stakeholders with aligned incentives and diverse backgrounds, BioDAOs facilitate the translation of technologies. In this regard, BioDAOs can be viewed as collaborative research translation engines and a novel form of biotech organization that develops IP through an online-native approach.

How do BioDAOs differ from investment DAOs?

Investment DAOs, such as MetaCartel, FlamingoDAO, The LAO and BeakerDAO, primarily focus on pooling capital to generate profits that are distributed to their stakeholders. These organizations represent a collective of investors aiming to achieve the highest possible risk-adjusted financial returns. For instance, a member of The LAO may receive a distribution of profits resulting from the capital deployed by The LAO into a project.

On the other hand, BioDAOs concentrate on developing novel IP and funding research and development of its members. The capital they deploy aims to generate value for their members and returns that can be reinvested in further R&D, rather than yielding profits for stakeholders or distributing them. Similar to how a university member benefits from enhanced research facilities, program funding, and administrative support provided by the university endowment without receiving direct proceeds, a BioDAO member benefits from the organization's successful R&D efforts.

BioDAOs are designed to facilitate and support vertically integrated R&D by granting members access to necessary resources and expertise for the successful development and commercialization of new biotechnology products and services. The community isn't primarily composed of investors; instead, it consists of researchers, entrepreneurs, companies, patients, and other stakeholder groups, most of whom contribute their time and effort rather than capital. The activities of a BioDAO encompass funding R&D investments and other functions such as community education, company formation, project incubation, access to expertise and knowledge, networking opportunities, member data aggregation, and assistance with regulatory compliance and various challenges. By offering these resources and support, BioDAOs aid their members in overcoming the numerous obstacles involved in transitioning technology from the research and development stage to a commercially viable product or service.

The mission of BioDAOs is to incubate and translate research

The mission and vision of BioDAOs are patient- and-impact-centric compared to VC funding. While VC funding emphasizes maximizing return on investment for partners or shareholders, BioDAOs concentrate on supporting and facilitating the development of effective biotechnology products and services for humanity. Structured around a sustainability loop, BioDAOs create an endowment to fund research indefinitely. Below is an example of how VitaDAO has structured its sustainability loop.

BioDAOs generally offer resources and support to their members, helping them develop and commercialize new biotechnology products and services. This assistance can include funding for research and development, access to expertise and knowledge, and networking opportunities within the BioDAO community. In contrast to VC firms, which exclusively focus on investing in companies to generate financial returns for their investors, BioDAOs are solely dedicated to funding R&D that benefits their communities within their respective subject areas.

As a result, the mission and vision of BioDAOs align more closely with the needs and objectives of researchers and patients.

Examples of BioDAOs and Their Activities 

VitaDAO, among the first BioDAOs, exemplifies how a BioDAO's function fundamentally differs from an investment DAO. VitaDAO comprises working groups of experts in various fields (refer to the figure above). Anyone can join VitaDAO by contributing either funding or time (work). In return, they receive governance tokens in the organization, granting them voting rights on proposals, such as which research projects to fund or how to support a project. The fact that many VitaDAO members join by contributing time and receive tokens, rather than providing funding, significantly differentiates it from an investment DAO. VitaDAO features many more operational roles than funding roles. Many of the largest token holders are those who actively participate in research project sourcing, evaluation, peer review, and operational activities for the DAO. Another major differentiator from an investment DAO lies in the allocation of proceeds from funding research that generates and monetizes IP. In VitaDAO, these proceeds return to the VitaDAO treasury to finance further projects. In an investment DAO, a portion of the proceeds directly goes to its members, but in VitaDAO, no portion is directly distributed to VITA holders. Instead, similar to a university researcher who may benefit from better facilities and increased research funding due to successful investments made by the university endowment, a VitaDAO member may gain advantages from the organization's funding activities.

VitaDAO community members with relevant experience collaborate with researchers on their projects, reviewing data and offering feedback on experimental direction. For instance, VitaDAO's deal flow and legal working groups negotiate deal terms with universities on behalf of the researcher and the DAO. The DAO efficiently leverages its extensive network of highly effective individuals using token incentivization. As research progresses, DAO community members assist with the creation of spin-outs to advance research to the next stage.

This interdisciplinary, cross working group approach to incubating and advancing research sets BioDAOs apart. In some cases, the DAO is so proficient in this task that negotiating research agreements and initiating projects takes weeks, compared to the industry standard of months. Some BioDAO activities, such as decentralized tech transfer (DTT), capitalize on the community and academic consultants as a collective intelligence to design experiments, create research projects, and generate IP within the DAO itself.

Decentralize or not? That is the question.

Biopharma R&D is gravitating toward increased decentralization, outsourcing much high-risk work to specialist contract organizations while keeping IP and data storage centralized internally. BioDAOs, however, offer an alternative by federating IP and data on Ethereum instead of keeping them siloed. This creates a more efficient superstructure and a new paradigm for biopharma R&D, boasting benefits like standardized data generation and decentralized analysis and interpretation.

Data structure and quality can vary significantly when performed by disparate entities, giving federated data acquisition an advantage over siloed, unconnected systems. Federated data is more likely to generate valuable insights through superior statistical power because it is compared against similar data in an open, connected system. For instance, RNA sequencing is highly sensitive to batch effects, and using a single high-quality RNAseq provider to federate data is more likely to result in the highest statistical power than multiple providers who don't share data and correct each dataset for data science purposes.

Data federation has compelling benefits, especially in areas like clinical trial recruitment. If clinical trial repositories or patient data are not connected via data federation, both the biopharma company and the patient or physician may miss eligible patients for clinical trials. Just as efficient financial markets require maximum liquidity on both supply and demand sides, data also needs to be highly liquid to create the most value for patients and biopharma companies.

However, centralization has its advantages in specific scenarios. For example, therapeutics manufacturing can benefit from centralization through economies of scale, resulting in the best drug prices for patients. Moreover, centralized data capture and/or storage can lead to dataset standardization. When federated, this standardized data—originally captured and stored centrally—can be even more advantageous to biopharma R&D, bringing top scientific and medical minds to the data for high-value decision-making. Existing biopharma companies often capture these centralization benefits, but there are numerous advantages of decentralization that are not fully exploited.

Although biopharma is moving toward more significant decentralization, it's only tapping into a fraction of the potential benefits. Most pharmaceutical companies have venture investment arms, but the quality and quantity of deal flow are constrained by the limited size of corporate venture teams. By expanding the team size and opening it up to a community, it's likely to increase connections, deal flow quality and quantity, and the expertise leveraged for decision-making. Decentralized entities also have competitive advantages, such as greater access to capital and patients. Decentralization offers a genuine means to regain public trust lost in recent years. This can be achieved by providing incentives and governance rights to patients participating in clinical research, shifting biopharma's focus from profits to patient value. Compensating patients with ownership and governance rights in the medicines they often risk their lives for can significantly increase their willingness to participate in research and expedite the clinical research process. For example, clinical trial recruitment often limits the progression of clinical-stage therapeutics, and the lack of a sense of ownership and governance among participating patients may be partially responsible. This shift from profit to patient value could boost biopharma's public trust and efficiency. In this respect, BioDAOs offer a solution that prioritizes patients over shareholders as the primary stakeholders.

Conclusion and future outlook for BioDAOs

BioDAOs represent a distinctive type of DAO that focuses on creating a comprehensive research translation ecosystem and novel IP creation engines. This approach enables BioDAOs to connect scientific innovation with real-world application, making them valuable players in the fast-paced biotechnology sector.

In the future, one might imagine that BioDAOs natively integrate AI and LLM capabilities, built and steered by their members to outright produce novel IP and therapeutics themselves and coordinate their development, thus decoupling from the current university and industry funding landscape. We believe that the pace and speed at which this may happen could surprise industry and provide an extremely valuable addition to the research landscape, given the agility, speed and open source nature that is required to make AI drug development capabilities and model development successful.

Unlike investment DAOs, BioDAOs generate returns to finance R&D rather than distribute profits to stakeholders. Nevertheless, similar to how university researchers and students benefit from improved research facilities and program funding provided by university endowments, BioDAO members may also reap the rewards of the BioDAOs' successes.

The existence of BioDAOs is grounded in the idea that patients and researchers are disenfranchised from the core stages of therapeutic development. Yet, they they have the strongest incentive and motivation for finding cures. Community-governed research translation organizations offer a solution. The motivations for prestige among academics and profits among venture capitalists are potent, but the desire for patients to alleviate their suffering is even more powerful. This underutilized driving force from patients could accelerate drug discovery, and BioDAOs aim to harness that potential.

In the future, BioDAOs are poised to play a vital role in advancing biotechnology, biotech-centric AI and bringing novel innovations to market. As DAO technology continues to evolve, BioDAOs are expected to gain wider adoption. The enormous potential of BioDAOs to drive progress and foster collaboration in biotechnology is disruptive and worth monitoring in the years to come.

To learn more about BioDAOs, check out bio.xyz and the BioDAO Bible.

Molecule Launches Intellectual Property Tokens (IPTs), Democratizing Biotech Intellectual Property and Empowering Innovators
Intellectual property is the expression of human creativity and innovation. It's the invisible fortress that protects our ideas, safeguarding them not as mere thoughts but as valuable assets. Intellectual property is the recognition that our...
Benji Leibowitz
Jul 10, 2023
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Imagine having a magical key that not only allows you to peer into the treasure chest of scientific invention, but also lets you govern and own a piece of it. Today, Molecule unveils IP tokens (IPTs), a revolution in how we value and transact around scientific discoveries.

IPTs are already an experimental reality. VitaDAO recently introduced VITA-FAST, an IPT which confers governance over the IP-NFT which originally funded Viktor Korolchuk’s research into autophagy activators for longevity. Control of the IP-NFT has now been decentralized, giving VITA-FAST tokenholders direct voting power in guiding the research's future direction.

With IPTs, we've turned biotech intellectual property into composable digital assets. IPTs make it possible for everyone, not just large amorphous entities, to fund and benefit from scientific research. You no longer have to be a millionaire to own a piece of a pharmaceutical or have a say in the direction of an innovative experiment - you can do it using IPTs. Your ownership and governance is verified, secure, and transparent, thanks to the trust and reliability of blockchain technology.

We believe that biomedical scientists are the unsung heroes of our time. Behind every revolutionary breakthrough, is a team of biomedical scientists driven by the desire to decrypt the secrets of diseases, create innovative therapies, and provide cures to people in pain. They are the code-breakers of biological conundrums, and the inventors of medical marvels. However, despite their critical contributions, these remarkable individuals often aren’t able to reap the full rewards of their essential work.

As we look to the future, it's essential to develop mechanisms that ensure a more equitable recognition and remuneration for these pioneers. Inspired by their efforts to unlock the mysteries of our health, we should strive to unlock the full value of their contributions - both for their sake and for the advancement of biomedical science as a whole. When we truly value our scientists, we empower them to do what they do best: create a healthier, brighter future for us all.

Participating in the Molecule Ecosystem

To our scientists; 

We want to bolster you as your innovative research transforms into a beacon of hope, not just for the patients waiting for a cure, but also for a community eager to support the promise of your work. IPTs are a platform designed to empower you, to help you raise funds for your research, and to bring your work into the spotlight. It's more than a tool - it's an invitation to join a revolution in how we value and fund scientific innovation. 

The beauty of IPTs lies not solely in encapsulating your own pursuits, but in the power to unite a community of intellectual explorers and enthusiastic supporters. In distributing IPTs, you harness the collective intelligence and energy of a global network, propelling your work into frontiers you could not take them alone. As your research flourishes, the IPTs you've created grant you with the ability to guide the onward journey of your invention, safeguarding its integrity while amplifying its potential. 

Today we invite you to begin your journey with IPTs, and in doing so, elevate the scope and impact of your invaluable research. It's time to let others support your research, and to see the fruits of your labor blossom.

To join us, please visit mint.molecule.to. Here, you can explore how to create a unique digital representation of your work, transform it into IPTs, and open it up to a world of potential patrons.

Alternatively, if you want to connect more directly, please join us on Discord. For further information, please see our documentation. Our vibrant community of scientists, innovators, and supporters are waiting to welcome you, answer your questions, and guide you through the process. Join us, and let's shape the future of medicine together!

Announcing bio.xyz
Since 2018, Molecule has been at the forefront of decentralized science (DeSci). By helping to build the first biotech DAO - VitaDAO - and by creating core DeSci infrastructure like the IP-NFT framework we have laid the foundation for the next generation of builders in DeSci to emerge and reshape the life sciences. Through this process, Molecule and the DeSci community have learned a tremendous amount about building at the intersection of web3 and bio.
Tyler Golato, Paul Kohlhaas & Vincent Weisser
Sep 18, 2022
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The first biotech DAO accelerator

Since 2018, Molecule has been at the forefront of decentralized science (DeSci). By helping to build the first biotech DAO - VitaDAO - and by creating core DeSci infrastructure like the IP-NFT framework we have laid the foundation for the next generation of builders in DeSci to emerge and reshape the life sciences. Through this process, Molecule and the DeSci community have learned a tremendous amount about building at the intersection of web3 and bio.‍

Opening the Biotech DAO Playbook

We want to open-source this knowledge and are excited to share and scale our learnings and frameworks with the broader ecosystem by offering hands-on builder support and funding to ambitious DAO-builders shaping the future of decentralized science.

Building a DAO in web3 is hard. Developing a value proposition and value accrual mechanism for DAOs is materially different from building a startup. Choosing the right technical infrastructure to build on can be daunting and confusing. Navigating the regulatory complexity of building a DAO is almost an art. Tokenomics and governance have evolved considerably over time and builders need to be constantly aware of the new DeFi trends and potential vulnerabilities.

Building a biotech organisation is equally hard. Builders in biotech require significant domain expertise, a strong network, an understanding of disease areas and patient needs, knowledge of intellectual property and licensing frameworks, and a fundamental understanding of successful execution and commercialisation patterns in biotech.

We realised that building a biotech DAO is ULTRA hard. Simultaneously, we saw the immense potential that these new organisational forms hold for humanity. For the first time showing a viable pathway for medicines to be openly and democratically developed and owned.

Announcing bio.xyz, a biotech DAO and DeSci launchpad that will fund and support future builders in decentralized science and biotech. bio.xyz will provide funding for DAOs working on a range of therapeutic areas and scientific domains, access to whitelabel frameworks and resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Our goal is to enable biotech DAOs to take full advantage of web3 and decentralized intellectual property frameworks like the IP-NFT, enabling them to fund, govern, and develop intellectual property emerging from universities, laboratories and biotech companies across the globe.

bio.xyz will be governed and owned by its members. It takes foundational stakes in program DAOs and manages those via its community multi-sig. By committing to shared governance with the DAOs we support, our goal is to create shared public infrastructure for network effects across the DeSci ecosystem. Thus, bio.xyz is more than an accelerator for biotech DAOs and DeSci projects - it is also a tokenized DeSci Meta-governance layer, shared infrastructure, a DAO of DAOs.

Program Structure: A Petri-dish for DeSci Innovation 

For builders, bio.xyz is an 18 week hands-on experimental program organized into 3 foundational milestones, culminating in the public launch of a series of new biotech DAOs. 

Quick Facts

  • 18 weeks of dedicated support from the bio.xyz network and Molecule
  • Suite of technical frameworks and resources to get your biotech DAO to launch
  • Shared governance rights in bio.xyz
  • $100,000 USDC WAGMI grant

Our community will provide you funding, regulatory support, technical support, community support - but more importantly: commitment to build. 

We will strive to funnel the brightest and most committed biotech and web3 builders into our DAOs because we know that together we are going to make it.

Customizable modules on building a biotech DAO

Building a sustainable biotech DAO requires deep domain expertise in both biotech organizational processes and web3. This first module will explore how biotech DAOs can generate sustainable value accrual mechanisms through building IP portfolios and networks of researchers and how these mechanisms form a symbiosis with web3 tokenomics, governance, and organizational design.

DAO Legal Defense Protocol 

We help demystify the most complex elements of starting a DAO, such as important regulatory questions and hurdles, implementing a DAO legal defense protocol and tooling that helps simplify everything from incorporation, structuring, contract signing, and IP-NFT integration.

Technical IP-NFT Integrations

Intellectual property is the core value driver in sustainable biotech DAOs. We provide everything you need to mint, transfer, and sell IP-NFTs using the Molecule tech stack. 

Governance and Operations Support

We provide proven governance frameworks, battle-tested for success. We help simplify DAO operations and accounting through a network of frameworks and operators. 

Community Building

We help you go from 0 to 1000 with the right tools and people, and a special focus on helping you build a strong network of academics relevant to your therapeutic or scientific area of interest.

Dealflow Process Implementation 

We turn sourcing, evaluation, and dealmaking into a standardized and replicable process with custom tools and whitelabelled frameworks for deal flow management, standardized agreements, and licensing and negotiation support. 

Custom Tokenomics, Incentive Programs, and Fundraising 

We design and enable sustainable token economies for long-lasting scientific organizations, plus access to visionary and patient capital from our network. 

Plugging into Web3 and DeFi

We provide liquidity avenues, partnerships and awareness to make sure your DAO is web3-compliant and cutting edge. 

Branding and Design

Branding and identity are key to communicating a credible and reputable organization. Our network of designers and brand identity experts will help you create the best possible identity for your organization to cultivate a sense of trust and professionalism with researchers and your broader community.

WAGMI Grant and Milestones

We provide DeSci DAOs with a $100,000 USDC on-chain WAGMI grant into a multi-sig wallet on Ethereum controlled by members of your founding team and members of bio.xyz. Every 6 weeks, 1/3 of the grant is automatically released provided your DAO meets measurable (in some cases on-chain) milestones set upon grant issuance.

A portion of the grant converts into your DAO’s governance tokens issued to bio.xyz so that members of bio.xyz can vote in your DAO, helping to ensure your DAO’s ownership is decentralized from day zero.

First Cohort

The program will operate in cohorts of 4-5 biotech DAOs. We are extremely excited to announce four members of our first cohort:

ValleyDAO

ValleyDAO is an open community collectively financing and enabling access to synthetic biology technologies to protect the future of our planet.

PsyDAO

PsyDAO will revolutionize R&D and ownership of psychedelics IP using the permissionless, trustless, decentralized, and censorship-resistant web, web3.

HairDAO

HairDAO is a decentralized asset manager funding early stage research and companies focused on better understanding and treating hair loss.

AthenaDAO

AthenaDAO is a decentralized collective to fund women’s reproductive health research & drug discovery.

In our view, the first bio.xyz cohort represents some of the most credible and exciting projects in DeSci, complemented by extraordinary teams and strong academic communities. We are extremely excited to support them on their journey to change their respective therapeutic areas for the better!

Contributors and Mentors

A core goal with bio.xyz is to build a large community of contributors, mentors, scientists, and builders, working together to collaboratively create the future of DeSci. We are actively looking for mentors in dealflow, scientific diligence, governance, tokenomics, legal, Web3/DeFi, and community. Mentors in the program will be rewarded with governance stakes. Applications are open now for the program

The future of biotech DAOs is bright

We are excited to work closely with the next generation of biotech DAO builders! We’d be thrilled to hear from you.

  1. For more information on the program, please visit the FAQ here. Applications for the second cohort are opening December 2022.
  2. To apply to become a mentor, apply here
  3. If you want to stay informed about our workings, visit our website, join the conversation on our Discord, follow us on Twitter.

For any additional questions, reach out to us on info@bio.xyz

The Emergence of Biotech DAOs
A blossoming Decentralized Science (DeSci) movement is changing the biopharma landscape by enabling the formation of patient- and researcher-centric communities building with an open-source ethos.
Tyler Golato
Jan 28, 2022
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Breaking Eroom’s Law

We are all familiar with Moore’s Law - the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years, which broadly describes the exponential growth we see in computational power over time. Eroom's law (Moore’s Law, in reverse) is the observation that drug discovery is becoming slower and more expensive over time, despite improvements in technology. While technologies such as high-throughput screening, combinatorial chemistry, and computational drug design should have arguably improved the rate of innovation, progress has been bottlenecked by other systemic and institutional-level issues such as increasing regulatory burden, a lack of open-source sharing of technologies, and misallocation of capital in incumbents that have prevented new drugs from reaching the market, and therefore, patients.

One potential explanation for this trend is the failure of coordination of capital and resources, coupled with monopolistic intellectual property models that pervade pharma and biotech at scale. These models disincentivize information sharing and collaboration, muddling data production and generating ambivalence on experimental outcomes. While new laboratory technologies alone have failed to improve efficiency in drug development, we believe that new advances in network, coordination, and incentive technologies at a structural level could reverse this trend by enabling new methods of optimizing collaboration, talent, and capital allocation.

Biotechnology and pharma have been historically centralized in the form of large companies and organizations that lack incentive to work in open and collaborative ways. Put differently, pharma has a “closed source” culture. The decentralization trend is dethroning centralized entities with power monopolies and shifting towards networks of collaborators co-existing in flat hierarchies.

Decentralized communities are powered by sharing pre-competitive resources within a community to achieve a common goal. They promote an open-source culture to their members and incentivize them to collaborate using token-based mechanisms.

Decentralized networks provide a trustless environment where data reconciliation is improved, points of weakness are reduced, and resource distribution is optimized at scale. In the context of biotech, this means creating new organizational structures that have a low barrier to entry (logging onto Discord, for example), are intrinsically collaborative and incentive aligned (WAGMI), and can coordinate capital and work from any participant (even the general public and patients). These features are emerging in the form of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs).

DAOs are relatively new smart contract-based entities that enable the coordination of capital, talent, and crowd intelligence at an unprecedented scale. Recently, a new decentralized science (DeSci) movement has been rapidly changing the way that coordination in science and biotech occurs by leveraging DAOs (see VitaDAO, PsyDAO, labDAO), with Molecule increasingly positioned as a core infrastructure provider in the space.

The DeSci movement is currently forming as a talent pool for entrepreneurial researchers and leading thinkers in biotech innovation that are frustrated by the status quo, whether it relates to funding, coordination, collaboration or other systemic issues that affect young founders and academics in biotechnology. The NIH, for example, allocates just 2% of its funding to scientists under 36, and 98% to those 36 and older. This trend, amongst others, has led to enough frustration that several new organizational types, such as FROs and DAOs, have emerged with an intention to revolutionize the biotech landscape. But what exactly is a DAO? Why is it important, and how might it change biotech?

The Biotech DAO Design Space

Let’s begin to understand biotech DAOs by walking through the steps of creating a DAO and how they function. An appropriate starting point for a biotech DAO is a clear vision and mission — what do these new, open organizational frameworks enable? Biotech DAOs can coordinate talent, enable decentralized fundraising and governance, or help create standardized methods of data collection and production, among other things. They can be philanthropic or for-profit. While biotech DAOs have a limitless design space their key innovation is their lack of gate-keeping and the use of technology to mediate decisions by large communities.

One element that all biotech DAOs have in common: they address a problem that has so far been unsolvable given the lack of incentive mechanisms for widespread collaboration in biotech.

To better understand this, we can take an example — VitaDAO, the first biotech DAO birthed by Molecule. VitaDAO is focused on funding early-stage preclinical drug development in the context of longevity. When designing VitaDAO, Molecule’s goal was to 3-fold:

  1. Create a Schelling point and community building exercise at the intersection of longevity and Web3, enabling researchers and the public to gather and participate in research and funding.
  2. Fund cutting edge, high impact research out of academia, and help to translate this research into effective medicines
  3. Create a sustainable organization as a function of its commercial efforts, with proceeds from these efforts providing a continuous funding mechanism for longevity science.

The third point, “a sustainable organization as a function of its commercial efforts” requires that the DAO derives monetary value from its funding efforts. To do this, VitaDAO leverages Molecule’s IP-NFT framework, which allows the DAO to own, license, and transact in intellectual property generated from the projects it supports. VitaDAO works to fund and later commercialize early-stage research out of academia. The DAO owns the resulting IP from the projects it funds. For the first time, value is captured by large, decentralized communities of researchers and patients.

NFTs can enable us to capture all sorts of asset types, including IP rights and data, and manage them natively in web3. Web3 allows these assets to exist in cyberspace, which means you can interact with them in some way no matter which country you’re in, transcending borders, time zones and jurisdictions. This is a big step in democratizing access to these assets. NFTs can be transferred to another wallet, tokenized, collateralized and borrowed against, sold on NFT marketplaces and they can be programmed so that the original creator automatically receives royalties every time the NFT is resold.

At Molecule, pioneering novel frameworks for IP-NFTs that attach both IP and data to NFTs turns IP into a new highly liquid, transactable asset class that bridges web3 into the real-world. Designs here are early, and these new vehicles will need to stand the test of time and the courts. Early data shows they work and comply.

BioDAO Frameworks

VitaDAO is the first design of what a biotech DAO might look like. One of the core goals at Molecule is to create productized biotech DAO frameworks that enable anyone to build their own biotech DAO, operationalize it, and begin leveraging the effects of a large, open community to achieve their goals. To this end, Molecule is seeking to work with motivated researchers, patient groups, entrepreneurs, community builders and visionaries that are interested in building at the intersection of biotech x web3.

We imagine these structures becoming instrumental in shaping patient and researcher communities. Imagine patient- and researcher-centric Bio DAOs focused on Alzheimer’s research, specific types of cancers, or diabetes with tight feedback loops and collaboration between patients and researchers during the entire end-to-end drug development process, from funding to licensing and beyond.

At Molecule, we see our core responsibilities here to help builders in a number of ways:

  1. Enable biotech DAO builders to leverage our IP-NFT legal licensing frameworks and DAO organizational frameworks. We will support their efforts of collaborating with and supporting academics via Molecule’s marketplace.
  2. Funding from the right sources. We will provide liquidity and support to projects in the form of grants and token swaps. WAGMI.
  3. Provide a talent pool that can move between DAOs, helping build and bootstrap across all components of a DAO: treasury, governance, operations, strategy, marketing, education, and search/evaluation. We have a network of researchers, entrepreneurs, builders, biotech VCs, and enthusiasts to help build the best organizations possible.
  4. Help establish sound global legal frameworks tailored to specific biotech and patient-centric DAO communities such as for-profit LAO like frameworks pioneered by Tribute Labs or non-profit Swiss Associations.

PsyDAO will be the second biotech DAO that Molecule launches and its ultimate goal is to democratize access to psychedelics. We aim to achieve this core goal through several related means. The first is by bringing together a large community of researchers, KOLs, enthusiasts, and spiritual leaders to collaborate and determine the future of psychedelic research. Collectively, this group will work on funding psychedelic research in exchange for ownership in intellectual property, which will be open-sourced and made available to all or commercialized. A key goal is working to make psychedelic IP unmonopolizable by front-running industry or purchasing IP to be made public, before it is patented. This design principle differs slightly from VitaDAO’s, for example.

Others in the ecosystem are also beginning to build biotech DAOs with entirely different functions, going beyond funding. One leading example here is LabDAO. LabDAO is building a community-owned and operated platform to run scientific laboratory services, exchange protocols, and share data. These organizations have a high potential for interoperation and collaboration.

You can imagine a scenario where organizations like VitaDAO source assets from Molecule’s Discovery Marketplace in the form of IP-NFTs. VitaDAO funds early preclinical de-risking experiments. Once positive data emerges, and new experiments need to be performed that might be beyond the scope of the laboratory receiving funding, LabDAO — a community of laboratories — steps in, coordinating downstream development work and experimentation via other academic labs and CROs. Decentralized drug development begins to take shape. Further, the IP-NFT allows different contributors (like LabDAO members) to receive exposure to ownership in IP, in exchange for work. These organizations begin to form a modular, decentralized drug development pipeline with each organization playing to its strengths, and receiving rewards for their contributions.

All of these parts taken together begin to form the basis of a collaborative, open, and inclusive ecosystem that has the potential to permeate and shift monopolistic behavior in biotech towards something that is more strongly aligned with patient and researcher’s interests. This is the beginning of a new frontier for biotech, and this is only Day 1.

Please join us in helping build a better future for biotech.

An open BIO ecosystem for humanity

We want to help anyone that shares our dream of an open pharmaceutical system. Currently, we are helping build biotech DAOs such as:

  • VitaDAO — focused on funding longevity research
  • PsyDAO — focused on funding psychedelic research
  • Drug repurposing DAOs such as Crowdfunded Cures
  • DAOs for Rare Disease communities

At Molecule we provide:

  • DAO and web3 frameworks
  • Hands-on community development strategies
  • Legal frameworks
  • Token economic designs
  • Liquidity
  • We intend to provide DAOs with funding and liquidity to enable them to compete with current VC and Pharma models.

Also be sure to check out LabDAO — one of the most exciting new players in the DeSci community.

This is day one. Build the future of biotech with us.

To learn more about Molecule: Check out our documentation, blogposts, talks, podcasts, careers, website & socials here.
For researchers: List your projects for funding on our Discovery platform here.
For web3 Builders: Join our Discord and reach out to our community manager.
Want to build your own Biotech DAO? Introduce yourself on our Discord or Email us.

Thanks to Paul Kohlhaas, Niklas Rindtorff, and Vincent Weisser for their critical feedback, edits, and assistance with this draft.

Molecule Partners with CryoDAO to Expand Onchain Intellectual Property and Advance Cryopreservation Research
Molecule, a leader in decentralized science (DeSci) and a pioneer in tokenized intellectual property (IP), is thrilled to announce its strategic partnership with CryoDAO.
Jillian Casalini
Jul 15, 2024
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Molecule, a leader in decentralized science (DeSci) and a pioneer in tokenized intellectual property (IP), is thrilled to announce its strategic partnership with CryoDAO, a decentralized collective dedicated to funding high-impact research to advance cryopreservation techniques. 

Working on the bleeding edge of scientific innovation, CryoDAO’s mandate is to make death optional. We will be working together to further their mission, bringing cryopreservation research projects to the DeSci community utilizing Molecule IP tokens: IP-NFTs and IPTs.  

Powered by Molecule IP Tokens 

Molecule IP tokens transform the management of scientific IP through tokenization:

  • Intellectual Property NFTs (IP-NFTs): IP-NFTs are non-fungible tokens that register scientific IP onchain. IP-NFTs provide a secure, immutable record of scientific IP ownership and rights, enabling easy IP transfer, verification, and management.
  • Intellectual Property Tokens (IPTs): IPTs are fungible tokens that distribute the IP rights associated with a particular IP-NFT, decentralizing its scientific process by enabling globally distributed governance of it and transforming the way scientists engage with their online communities.  

Molecule IP-NFTs and IPTs empower CryoDAO to accelerate the pace of cryopreservation research and funding by bringing scientific IP onchain.  

Combining Biotech Dealflow Expertise

Working closely with the CryoDAO scientific research dealflow team, Molecule’s biotech team will aid in experimental planning, IP strategy, and negotiation, leveraging an existing partnership with Nucleate

You can learn more about Molecule’s partnership with Nucleate to source cutting-edge scientific research for IP tokenization from all around the world here

Together, CryoDAO and Molecule will build a pipeline of groundbreaking cryopreservation research projects and tokenize them.  

Growing Onchain IP Through Cryopreservation

This collaboration marks an important step towards a more vibrant and innovative DeSci ecosystem, leveraging the strengths of both organizations to make a meaningful impact. To stay up to date on the partnership, follow Molecule on X or sign up for our newsletter. 

"We are thrilled to enter into this cool partnership with CryoDAO, which accelerates our vision of tokenizing scientific IP, enabling new sources of capital to fund valuable, underfunded research areas like cryonics. We believe that DeSci has the opportunity to make crypto a force for enabling researchers to work on humanity’s biggest problems and for communities to bring discoveries to life that would never have existed otherwise. We are excited to charge the chilling growth of the CryoDAO community to make cryonics a reality and make taxes the only guarantee in life." Benji Leibowitz, COO at Molecule
Together with Molecule, CryoDAO will push the boundaries of decentralized science, tokenizing the most important research in the world—research that will save our very lives. By calling on a global community to advance this science, we have an opportunity to change the course of human history forever. This partnership is an important first step.”  Kai Micah Mills, co-founder of CryoDAO.

About Molecule

Molecule is dedicated to advancing scientific research through permissionless funding and the tokenization of intellectual property (IP). By transforming scientific IP into a liquid onchain asset, Molecule aligns the incentives of researchers and funders, fostering a more collaborative and efficient research ecosystem. 

About CryoDAO

CryoDAO envisions a world where organs and tissues preserved in vast biobanks are available to patients on demand, where journeys to distant stars become journeys in slumber, and where even life can be frozen in time. CryoDAO funds research projects that have a high potential to increase the quality and capabilities of cryopreservation.

Leveraging Decentralized Funding to Combat Nonsense Mutations
Ringing in 2024, longevity stalwart VitaDAO has funded Dr. Michael Torres’ work to nullify a nonsense mutation that is implicated in a wide range of cancers and age-related diseases.
Ella McCarthy-Page
Feb 13, 2024
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Even the smallest mutations in our genetic code can have damaging effects, cascading into an array of disease pathologies. In an effort to negate these effects,  VitaDAO, a key player in Decentralized Science, has partnered with Dr. Michael Torres and Artan BIO to engineer a first-in-class therapy that aims to suppress deleterious codon mutations. The VitaDAO community voted to provide $91,300 worth of funding to Dr. Torres via Molecule’s Intellectual Property Non-Fungible Token (IP-NFT) protocol. To increase the opportunity for community involvement and further funding, the IP-NFT will be tokenized into Intellectual Property Tokens (IPTs), granting governance privileges to IPT holders in the VitaDAO community and beyond. 

What happens when DNA gets up to nonsense?

The ribosome, colloquially known as our protein printer, is continually walking itself down strands of genetic code, reading each building block like braille, and then summoning the corresponding amino acids, with the help of transfer RNA (tRNA). These amino acids string together, ultimately forming proteins. If a single building block, known as a nucleotide, mutates, it can alter the protein being created. Our proteins participate in every possible shade of bodily function, so changes in protein synthesis tend to cause a whole host of problems. 

One such nucleotide change results in mutations known as nonsense mutations. They occur when a single nucleotide mutates and forms a stop codon, which is effectively a force-eject button. Stop codons are generally reserved for the end of the entire protein sequence when the protein is ready to be sent off into the body, but in the case of nonsense mutations, these stop codons accidentally crop up elsewhere. When this happens, protein formation is halted prematurely, resulting in half-formed, non-functional proteins which can go on to cause mayhem in the body. Finding and correcting nonsense mutations is not a novel concept. In fact, our bodies do it already! However, we’re far from perfect - issues arise when genuine stop codons are recognized as well, and overridden when they should not be. Currently, the existing treatments also fall prey to this issue. 

The Science

To address the gap, Dr. Torres has invented a potential solution; an engineered system to suppress the outcome of a particular nonsense mutation, enabling the continuation of protein formation. His solution is unique in so far that it appears to be more discerning than other treatments, correctly identifying the problematic stop codon while ignoring genuine stop codons, and most importantly, not interfering with normal gene translation. Preliminary data produced in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University has supported Dr. Torres’ hypothesis, leading to VitaDAO’s decision to fund further investigation. 

Additionally, Dr. Torres has identified a delivery system that is adept at sneaking into cells in the heart, liver, skeletal muscle, and central nervous system. By integrating the engineered codon suppressor into this vector, he suspects that it will be the perfect vehicle to carry the therapeutic to exactly where it needs to go. This vector comes with the bonus of already being clinically validated, which enables the team to optimize its path to first-in-human studies, as certain risks have already been addressed. 

The Scientist

Dr. Torres, who holds a PhD in Cancer Biology from UT-Southwestern in Dallas, has previously co-founded ReCode Therapeutics, a clinical-stage genetic medicines company that has secured over $300M in funding. He now works as the CEO of CrossBridge Bio, an oncology-focused company focused on developing next-generation dual payload antibody-drug conjugates. Dr. Torres was introduced to Decentralized Science (DeSci) by longtime DeSci supporter Mike Baran from Pfizer Ventures, and was quickly attracted to the ability to leverage community engagement to critically evaluate and fund ideas. His extensive experience in drug development, as well as his aptitude for both science and entrepreneurship, make him the perfect candidate for VitaDAO and Molecule’s novel funding model.

“In essence, this model is a powerful tool for transforming ideas into tangible data, supporting future drug development, and creating valuable societal assets.” Dr. Michael Torres

A single solution for many diseases

As a seasoned drug developer, Dr. Torres understands the importance of having foresight when in the lab. In studying nonsense mutations, Dr. Torres observed that a specific nonsense mutation is prevalent in many proteins involved in cellular processes associated with aging such as DNA repair, epigenetic regulators, and tumor suppressors. As this mutation is conserved across many diseases, several clinical opportunities are possible. Under optimal conditions, this research has the potential to turn into a ubiquitous therapy that could be used to treat several health issues associated with aging. VitaDAO is particularly interested in the potential of a therapeutic that could reactivate tumor-suppressing proteins in cancer patients, aiming to slow down or even eradicate tumor growth, given their focus on age-related diseases. Some of the other diseases implicated with nonsense mutations are Duchenne muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy, metabolic diseases, and neurologic disorders. 

About VitaDAO

VitaDAO is a community-owned collective dedicated to funding and advancing longevity science that can improve people's lives. They have a strong presence in the Decentralized Science community and have utilized the IP-NFT model multiple times. In addition to this, together with Molecule and Dr. Viktor Korochuk, VitaDAO launched the first tokenized research project in the form of IPTs. The IPT tokens, known as VITA-FAST have enabled direct community governance - a world first. 

Dr. Anthony Schwartz, a VitaDAO Entrepreneur in Residence, will act as the project manager for this project. He has founded at least 15 startups, primarily focused on autoimmune diseases and cancer, which have led to large financings and an FDA-approved product. He is also a lecturer at Johns Hopkins. 

“The emerging VitaDAO model can potentially change how new drugs are funded. I'm excited and motivated to help bring that model to fruition through VitaDAO's funding of new companies and blockchain capital raises (IP-NFT/IPT) and seamlessly transition these companies into traditional VC/Pharma financing to bring new drugs to the market.” Dr. Anthony Schwartz

What is an Intellectual Property Non-Fungible Token?

Intellectual Property Non-Fungible Tokens (IP-NFTs) bring IP rights, such as the right to data and patents from drugs developed by funded research, onchain by attaching IP rights to smart contracts. By unifying data and intellectual property rights into programmable, transactable, blockchain tokens, IP-NFTs represent an evolutionary step in the development and management of scientific research IP. To date, IP-NFTs have been used to register IP of more than $1.95M in scientific research. The Torres IP-NFT adds to this growing list. You can find the IP-NFT here

The IP-NFT artwork created to visually represent the project

Intellectual Property Tokens invite the community to participate 

“This revolutionary concept of IP tokenization allows community involvement in the drug development process, creating a mutually beneficial situation. For us, it enables unlocking additional capital in a collaborative manner. For the community, it gives them an opportunity to directly support projects in a manner previously unavailable.” Dr. Michael Torres

True to the belief of equitable and accessible scientific research, VitaDAO will be tokenizing the Torres IP-NFT into IPTs, fungible tokens enabling the distribution of IP rights to their holders, in order to raise funds for the science and empower the community to govern the resulting IP.  

Funding from sales of the IPTs will enable Dr. Torres and his team to insert the engineered fragment into the chosen vector and perform in vitro testing to validate its effectiveness. IPTs will enable individuals to actively govern the project and its results, such as new drugs developed from the team’s research. 

Granting community members the power to co-develop research projects harnesses the potential of incentive-aligned expertise, furthering decentralized science. Many decisions need to occur as this project unfolds, such as which other possible delivery vehicles to test, which disease indication is best suited for clinical testing, and how to raise additional funds. With the power of IP tokenization, the wisdom of the crowd now has the chance to influence those decisions.  

Join VitaRNA Crowdsale

Announcing the first biopharma IP-NFT Transaction
Throughout the past 2 weeks VitaDAO Token Holders got to vote on the proposal “VDP-5 Scheibye-Knudsen Lab Funding” to fund longevity at the Scheibye-Knudsen Lab in Copenhagen. The voting passed with 2.1M token votes and 88% of votes supporting the proposition. With the proposal having been approved by the DAO members, the lab in Copenhagen will receive $250.000 for the first research phase of the project over a period of 12 months. After successful completion and review of Phase 1 by the DAO, another $250.000 for an additional 12 months of research could be handed out to the lab. As part of this deal, VitaDAO will fully own the intellectual property (IP) resulting from the research project. The first biopharma IP that will be owned and managed by a DAO. Ownership and access management to the IP will be handled via Molecule’s novel IPNFT framework. The infrastructure is utilizing Ethereum ERC721, Arweave and Nevermined.
Clemens Ortlepp
Aug 13, 2021
read

IPNFT Transfer Ceremony

Join Molecule and VitaDAO in celebrating this amazing achievement. Find everything you need to know about the celebration:

  • What will happen: The first IPNFT holding a licence agreement for biopharma IP will be created and sold to VitaDAO by Molecule
  • When: Tuesday 17th of August 2021 at 5 pm CET
  • Where: www.youtube.com/watch?v=uT2-0qoHjbc
  • Who will be there: Molecule & VitaDAO Core Teams

If you haven’t yet read up on the research project as well as the researchers behind it, find more about it below:

About the Research Project

What if therapeutics to slow down the ageing process and prevent age-related disease already existed? Recently, in an unprecedented effort, a large-scale study employing advanced machine learning methods analyzed medical records from over 4 million individuals in the Danish Health System’s medical and prescription records. The study, consisting of over 1.4 billion prescriptions, found that a number of prescription drugs were highly associated with longer life- and health-span in long-live populations. VitaDAO seeks to validate these observations through a series of carefully conducted wet-lab experiments. If successful, this work could result in the repurposing of several FDA-approved therapeutics for the purpose of extending the human lifespan, at a lower cost and over faster timelines than conceivably possible with de novo drug discovery.

This program focuses on testing and developing three of these small molecules as possible interventions in ageing. Specifically, we will test the drugs on human cell cultures and in fruit flies, before moving to mice in the future. These molecules target the longevity field with the aim of letting everyone live healthier, happier and longer lives.


Research Background

To date, more than a hundred compounds have been shown to extend the lifespan of model organisms. In humans, no drug is currently recognized to extend lifespan. Given the large diversity of drugs able to extend the lifespan of model organisms, it is likely that multiple drugs are able to extend the healthspan of humans. But how do we find these compounds?

The Scheibye-Knudsen lab has analyzed 1.5 billion prescriptions from 4.8 million individuals over 40 years in The Danish National Health Service Prescription Database and correlated this with the survival of individuals prescribed certain drugs. They received exclusive access to carry out this work. The Scheibye-Knudsen Lab has identified 10+ FDA approved medications that appear to have a strong effect on lifespan following analysis. This project will focus on optimising, repurposing, and re-formulating the 3 drugs with the strongest effect on human lifespan. Additionally, there is a database of compounds that could be pursued. The identities of the molecules are not disclosed in this presentation to protect the full viability of the intellectual property. They are referred to as X, Y, and Z.

View project on Molecule Discovery.

About Morten Scheibye-Knudsen

Morten Scheibye-Knudsen is Associate Professor and group leader at the Center for Healthy Aging, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Besides his research activity, he has been committed to educational programs and his online companies Mitodb.com and Forsøgsperson.dk. The latter has grown to become the largest single provider of study participants in Denmark. Morten Scheibye-Knudsen also acts as an advisor or committee member for organisations such as the Longevity Vision Fund, the Lifeboat Foundation, the NNF Big Data in Biomedicine project and others. Morten Scheibye-Knudsen earned his MD in 2007 and his DMSc (PhD) in 2016 from the University of Copenhagen. After graduation, he worked as physician at Slagelse Hospital and at Nuuk Medical Clinic in Greenland. In 2008, he became a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute on Aging at the NIH in Baltimore, Maryland. His work focused on the cross-talk between DNA repair and mitochondrial function in aging and has been honored by a number of competitive awards. In 2015 he was recruited to start his own research group at the University of Copenhagen, where his research group aims to understand the cellular and organismal consequences of DNA damage in the context of aging. He now runs one of the largest research programmes in Europe focusing on aging. His ultimate goal is to modulate and perhaps treat aging and age-related diseases, allowing everyone to live healthier and longer lives.

Molecule Partners with CryoDAO to Expand Onchain Intellectual Property and Advance Cryopreservation Research
Molecule, a leader in decentralized science (DeSci) and a pioneer in tokenized intellectual property (IP), is thrilled to announce its strategic partnership with CryoDAO.
Jillian Casalini
Jul 15, 2024
read

Molecule, a leader in decentralized science (DeSci) and a pioneer in tokenized intellectual property (IP), is thrilled to announce its strategic partnership with CryoDAO, a decentralized collective dedicated to funding high-impact research to advance cryopreservation techniques. 

Working on the bleeding edge of scientific innovation, CryoDAO’s mandate is to make death optional. We will be working together to further their mission, bringing cryopreservation research projects to the DeSci community utilizing Molecule IP tokens: IP-NFTs and IPTs.  

Powered by Molecule IP Tokens 

Molecule IP tokens transform the management of scientific IP through tokenization:

  • Intellectual Property NFTs (IP-NFTs): IP-NFTs are non-fungible tokens that register scientific IP onchain. IP-NFTs provide a secure, immutable record of scientific IP ownership and rights, enabling easy IP transfer, verification, and management.
  • Intellectual Property Tokens (IPTs): IPTs are fungible tokens that distribute the IP rights associated with a particular IP-NFT, decentralizing its scientific process by enabling globally distributed governance of it and transforming the way scientists engage with their online communities.  

Molecule IP-NFTs and IPTs empower CryoDAO to accelerate the pace of cryopreservation research and funding by bringing scientific IP onchain.  

Combining Biotech Dealflow Expertise

Working closely with the CryoDAO scientific research dealflow team, Molecule’s biotech team will aid in experimental planning, IP strategy, and negotiation, leveraging an existing partnership with Nucleate

You can learn more about Molecule’s partnership with Nucleate to source cutting-edge scientific research for IP tokenization from all around the world here

Together, CryoDAO and Molecule will build a pipeline of groundbreaking cryopreservation research projects and tokenize them.  

Growing Onchain IP Through Cryopreservation

This collaboration marks an important step towards a more vibrant and innovative DeSci ecosystem, leveraging the strengths of both organizations to make a meaningful impact. To stay up to date on the partnership, follow Molecule on X or sign up for our newsletter. 

"We are thrilled to enter into this cool partnership with CryoDAO, which accelerates our vision of tokenizing scientific IP, enabling new sources of capital to fund valuable, underfunded research areas like cryonics. We believe that DeSci has the opportunity to make crypto a force for enabling researchers to work on humanity’s biggest problems and for communities to bring discoveries to life that would never have existed otherwise. We are excited to charge the chilling growth of the CryoDAO community to make cryonics a reality and make taxes the only guarantee in life." Benji Leibowitz, COO at Molecule
Together with Molecule, CryoDAO will push the boundaries of decentralized science, tokenizing the most important research in the world—research that will save our very lives. By calling on a global community to advance this science, we have an opportunity to change the course of human history forever. This partnership is an important first step.”  Kai Micah Mills, co-founder of CryoDAO.

About Molecule

Molecule is dedicated to advancing scientific research through permissionless funding and the tokenization of intellectual property (IP). By transforming scientific IP into a liquid onchain asset, Molecule aligns the incentives of researchers and funders, fostering a more collaborative and efficient research ecosystem. 

About CryoDAO

CryoDAO envisions a world where organs and tissues preserved in vast biobanks are available to patients on demand, where journeys to distant stars become journeys in slumber, and where even life can be frozen in time. CryoDAO funds research projects that have a high potential to increase the quality and capabilities of cryopreservation.

DeSci.Berlin 2024 Recap
We don’t know about you, but we’re still processing all the incredible ideas and information shared at this year's DeSci.Berlin!
Cameron Stow
Jun 13, 2024
read

Day 1

Molecule Announced Catalyst

Of course, we can’t talk about DeSci.Berlin without highlighting the unveiling of our latest product—Catalyst. In case you missed our announcement, Catalyst is a platform designed to revolutionize the funding and governance of early-stage research. It operates like the Kickstarter of science, enabling funders to contribute crypto directly to research projects and govern the resulting IP, fostering meaningful connections between researchers and funders.

As we prepare for Catalyst’s beta launch, we invite you to join us on this journey and be among the first to experience the future of research funding and project governance. Secure your spot on the early access list today!

Julia Zhao from Nucleate - “Empowering Biotech Leaders: From Academic Science to Accelerated Startups”

Nucleate’s Global Director of Activator Operations, Julia Zhao, presented how biotech leaders can better transition from academic science to founding and scaling startups. She highlighted Nucleate’s flagship program, Activator, which facilitates company formation in the life sciences through a structured matching process and curriculum. Through this program, Nucleate provides mentorship, expert workshops, and industry connections to help teams develop their projects.

What stuck out for us was Julia’s focus on the importance of community and open access to biotech education. She says, “Nucleate is currently aiming to be the world's largest educational organization for functional and impact-driven life science career development programs.”

For more information about the Nucleate x Molecule partnership, you can read the full press release here.

Vincent Weisser - “Scientific Progress Through Decentralized AI”

Vincent Weisser recently honed his focus on democratizing AI at scale by founding Prime Intellect. Their platform simplifies finding global compute resources and training state-of-the-art models through distributed training across clusters. AI will increasingly drive and accelerate scientific progress, and Vincent understands the necessity of decentralization. 

With the growing capabilities of large language models (LLMs) and AI agents, we can expect remarkable advancements in technology and science, and better access to scaled compute is crucial as this happens. 

Vincent reiterated DeSci's role in this: design ecosystems that provide necessary rewards/incentives and build bioDAOs that can allocate capital for compute resources.

Jurij Skornik & Charlie Edwards - DeSci on Decentralized Knowledge Graphs with Origin Trail

The last three major knowledge revolutions were the printing press, the internet, and now AI. According to Jurij, the future of AI will be unlocked through what he calls the “Verifiable Internet for AI,” a combination of crypto, the internet, and AI that ensures the provenance, ownership, and integrity of information. By integrating Decentralized Knowledge Graphs (DKGs) and “Knowledge Assets” using the Origin Trail framework, we can obtain much more reliable outputs from AI. These Knowledge Assets can be grouped into knowledge bundles called “Paranets,” which can then be mined and monetized, incentivizing participation from knowledge miners.

Charlie, from ID Theory, shared with us their plan to invest in building a DeSci Paranet to create a “ground truth layer for autonomous research and decentralized scientific advancement.” - if you’re a builder in this space, be sure to drop them a message!

To learn more about Origin Trail, visit their website or check out their latest tool, ChatDKG.

Ethan Perlstein - “Scientific Progress Through Decentralized AI”

Ethan Perlstein is a vision-driven man, determined to help families abandoned by traditional healthcare. He spoke to us about his company Perlara, the world's first biotech public benefit corporation. Perlara collaborates directly with motivated families to develop treatments and cures for rare genetic diseases, operating as a decentralized, patient-driven biotech company. Ethan thinks that Web3 technologies have the potential to scale the patient-driven biotech model, ensuring economic fairness and proper compensation for families’ contributions. We agree!

"Pharma is too big to scale down to this problem... I'd love a world where families are not just expected to sit down and wait for medicine to show up. They should be rewarded for their contributions to drug development, potentially through a value-added royalty system on-chain."

Day 2

Lou de Kerhuelvez - Opportunities for DeSci in the Contect of Emerging Network Sovereigns

Lou de Kerhuelvez, Program Director at Foresight Institute, introduced the audience to new governance models called “Network Sovereignties.” New opportunities for coordination and governance are now possible with advancements in communication tools, collaboration, and technologies like blockchain, smart contracts, zero-knowledge proofs, and voting mechanisms.

Lou spoke about the flaws in the current ideas of network states - these models often lack proper governance structures, are centralized, oligarchic, territory-based, and primarily rely on exit strategies. Her proposed solution is network sovereignties, which serve as new institutional structures for global cooperation. Examples of this approach already exist in Vitalia and Edge City. Click here to read more about network sovereignty or how to participate in ongoing initiatives.

LabDAO - Accessible BioML Tools, Ownable Discoveries

How we can move from funding drug target studies to developing an actual candidate molecules within the DeSci framework? In traditional early-stage molecule discovery, it can cost millions of dollars just to identify a molecule which binds to a target. However, in DeSci, we are allocating only a fraction of that amount to current research initiatives. A major cost driver for these studies is laboratory expenses. So, how do we achieve the same quality of discovery with much less funding?

Lab.Bio offers a solution. By leveraging the latest advanced machine learning models, we can integrate laboratory simulation into the early discovery process. Users can run generative models and simulators to fast-track the discovery process, explore generated molecules, manage results, and retain ownership of their work. The Lab.Bio platform will be launching soon. For more information, visit LabDAO.

AminoChain - An Introduction to Decentralized Biobanking

AminoChain’s Founder and CEO, Casper Barnes, took the stage to announce the first decentralized biobank for enterprise healthcare institutions. Currently the process of donating bio-samples for scientific research is deeply flawed and fails to utilize the millions of unused samples across the US effectively. AminoChain aims to address the growing problem of misaligned incentives and mistrust in biomedical research with decentralized biobanking.

With decentralized biobanking, leveraging AminoChain’s software, biobanks can operate as nodes within a network that fosters collaboration by sharing samples and licensing agreements transparently and securely, while involving patients in the process. AminoChain’s goal is to create the Amazon for bio-samples, transforming biobanks worldwide into “shoppable specimen center experiences.”

Pitch Competition with Nucleate Activator’s Program

As part of the Molecule X Nucleate partnership, we decided to sponsor a pitch competition for participants in Nucleate’s German Activator program. Four young companies took to the stage to present their innovative ideas to the audience, who then had the power to vote for their favorite project. 

Fluvion

Fluvion’s advanced bioreactors are designed to efficiently scale and utilize secretory epithelial cells for various industrial applications. This technology enables the sustainable and economic production of biologic liquids such as milk, venoms, musk, silk, and complex pharmaceutical ingredients, all without the use of animals and without generating greenhouse gas emissions.

Jellyfish Bio

Jellyfish Bio is an AI platform for blood biomarker discovery. They leverage AI and continuous monitoring to create comprehensive, well-characterized individual patient profiles, addressing the heterogeneity of genetic diseases. By integrating genetics, wearable data, and blood biomarkers, they enable personalized treatment plans, drug repurposing analysis, and new outcome measures. 

Silica Corpora

Silica Corpora is an AI-driven company specializing in the de novo design, optimization, and screening of antibodies. They focus on epitope-specific screening and are developing tools like Ep-Mapper for epitope mapping.

EscapeAgent

EscapeAgent revolutionizes gene therapy with a potent endosomal escape enhancer, tackling delivery inefficiencies. They hope to enable efficient gene therapy by reducing complexity by using a drug master file!

The winner? Silica Corpora, with their De Novo design of antibody therapeutics. We want to thank Nucleate and all the participants for their incredible work, and we look forward to seeing each project develop and thrive.

That’s all for now folks!

Thank you to all our speakers, participants, and attendees for making DeSci.Berlin an unforgettable event. For those that weren’t able to make it, we’re in the process of uploading all of the talk onto our Youtube page, so they may live on in our hearts, minds, and Youtube playlists forever. See you next year!

Leveraging Decentralized Funding to Combat Nonsense Mutations
Ringing in 2024, longevity stalwart VitaDAO has funded Dr. Michael Torres’ work to nullify a nonsense mutation that is implicated in a wide range of cancers and age-related diseases.
Ella McCarthy-Page
Feb 13, 2024
read

Even the smallest mutations in our genetic code can have damaging effects, cascading into an array of disease pathologies. In an effort to negate these effects,  VitaDAO, a key player in Decentralized Science, has partnered with Dr. Michael Torres and Artan BIO to engineer a first-in-class therapy that aims to suppress deleterious codon mutations. The VitaDAO community voted to provide $91,300 worth of funding to Dr. Torres via Molecule’s Intellectual Property Non-Fungible Token (IP-NFT) protocol. To increase the opportunity for community involvement and further funding, the IP-NFT will be tokenized into Intellectual Property Tokens (IPTs), granting governance privileges to IPT holders in the VitaDAO community and beyond. 

What happens when DNA gets up to nonsense?

The ribosome, colloquially known as our protein printer, is continually walking itself down strands of genetic code, reading each building block like braille, and then summoning the corresponding amino acids, with the help of transfer RNA (tRNA). These amino acids string together, ultimately forming proteins. If a single building block, known as a nucleotide, mutates, it can alter the protein being created. Our proteins participate in every possible shade of bodily function, so changes in protein synthesis tend to cause a whole host of problems. 

One such nucleotide change results in mutations known as nonsense mutations. They occur when a single nucleotide mutates and forms a stop codon, which is effectively a force-eject button. Stop codons are generally reserved for the end of the entire protein sequence when the protein is ready to be sent off into the body, but in the case of nonsense mutations, these stop codons accidentally crop up elsewhere. When this happens, protein formation is halted prematurely, resulting in half-formed, non-functional proteins which can go on to cause mayhem in the body. Finding and correcting nonsense mutations is not a novel concept. In fact, our bodies do it already! However, we’re far from perfect - issues arise when genuine stop codons are recognized as well, and overridden when they should not be. Currently, the existing treatments also fall prey to this issue. 

The Science

To address the gap, Dr. Torres has invented a potential solution; an engineered system to suppress the outcome of a particular nonsense mutation, enabling the continuation of protein formation. His solution is unique in so far that it appears to be more discerning than other treatments, correctly identifying the problematic stop codon while ignoring genuine stop codons, and most importantly, not interfering with normal gene translation. Preliminary data produced in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University has supported Dr. Torres’ hypothesis, leading to VitaDAO’s decision to fund further investigation. 

Additionally, Dr. Torres has identified a delivery system that is adept at sneaking into cells in the heart, liver, skeletal muscle, and central nervous system. By integrating the engineered codon suppressor into this vector, he suspects that it will be the perfect vehicle to carry the therapeutic to exactly where it needs to go. This vector comes with the bonus of already being clinically validated, which enables the team to optimize its path to first-in-human studies, as certain risks have already been addressed. 

The Scientist

Dr. Torres, who holds a PhD in Cancer Biology from UT-Southwestern in Dallas, has previously co-founded ReCode Therapeutics, a clinical-stage genetic medicines company that has secured over $300M in funding. He now works as the CEO of CrossBridge Bio, an oncology-focused company focused on developing next-generation dual payload antibody-drug conjugates. Dr. Torres was introduced to Decentralized Science (DeSci) by longtime DeSci supporter Mike Baran from Pfizer Ventures, and was quickly attracted to the ability to leverage community engagement to critically evaluate and fund ideas. His extensive experience in drug development, as well as his aptitude for both science and entrepreneurship, make him the perfect candidate for VitaDAO and Molecule’s novel funding model.

“In essence, this model is a powerful tool for transforming ideas into tangible data, supporting future drug development, and creating valuable societal assets.” Dr. Michael Torres

A single solution for many diseases

As a seasoned drug developer, Dr. Torres understands the importance of having foresight when in the lab. In studying nonsense mutations, Dr. Torres observed that a specific nonsense mutation is prevalent in many proteins involved in cellular processes associated with aging such as DNA repair, epigenetic regulators, and tumor suppressors. As this mutation is conserved across many diseases, several clinical opportunities are possible. Under optimal conditions, this research has the potential to turn into a ubiquitous therapy that could be used to treat several health issues associated with aging. VitaDAO is particularly interested in the potential of a therapeutic that could reactivate tumor-suppressing proteins in cancer patients, aiming to slow down or even eradicate tumor growth, given their focus on age-related diseases. Some of the other diseases implicated with nonsense mutations are Duchenne muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy, metabolic diseases, and neurologic disorders. 

About VitaDAO

VitaDAO is a community-owned collective dedicated to funding and advancing longevity science that can improve people's lives. They have a strong presence in the Decentralized Science community and have utilized the IP-NFT model multiple times. In addition to this, together with Molecule and Dr. Viktor Korochuk, VitaDAO launched the first tokenized research project in the form of IPTs. The IPT tokens, known as VITA-FAST have enabled direct community governance - a world first. 

Dr. Anthony Schwartz, a VitaDAO Entrepreneur in Residence, will act as the project manager for this project. He has founded at least 15 startups, primarily focused on autoimmune diseases and cancer, which have led to large financings and an FDA-approved product. He is also a lecturer at Johns Hopkins. 

“The emerging VitaDAO model can potentially change how new drugs are funded. I'm excited and motivated to help bring that model to fruition through VitaDAO's funding of new companies and blockchain capital raises (IP-NFT/IPT) and seamlessly transition these companies into traditional VC/Pharma financing to bring new drugs to the market.” Dr. Anthony Schwartz

What is an Intellectual Property Non-Fungible Token?

Intellectual Property Non-Fungible Tokens (IP-NFTs) bring IP rights, such as the right to data and patents from drugs developed by funded research, onchain by attaching IP rights to smart contracts. By unifying data and intellectual property rights into programmable, transactable, blockchain tokens, IP-NFTs represent an evolutionary step in the development and management of scientific research IP. To date, IP-NFTs have been used to register IP of more than $1.95M in scientific research. The Torres IP-NFT adds to this growing list. You can find the IP-NFT here

The IP-NFT artwork created to visually represent the project

Intellectual Property Tokens invite the community to participate 

“This revolutionary concept of IP tokenization allows community involvement in the drug development process, creating a mutually beneficial situation. For us, it enables unlocking additional capital in a collaborative manner. For the community, it gives them an opportunity to directly support projects in a manner previously unavailable.” Dr. Michael Torres

True to the belief of equitable and accessible scientific research, VitaDAO will be tokenizing the Torres IP-NFT into IPTs, fungible tokens enabling the distribution of IP rights to their holders, in order to raise funds for the science and empower the community to govern the resulting IP.  

Funding from sales of the IPTs will enable Dr. Torres and his team to insert the engineered fragment into the chosen vector and perform in vitro testing to validate its effectiveness. IPTs will enable individuals to actively govern the project and its results, such as new drugs developed from the team’s research. 

Granting community members the power to co-develop research projects harnesses the potential of incentive-aligned expertise, furthering decentralized science. Many decisions need to occur as this project unfolds, such as which other possible delivery vehicles to test, which disease indication is best suited for clinical testing, and how to raise additional funds. With the power of IP tokenization, the wisdom of the crowd now has the chance to influence those decisions.  

Join VitaRNA Crowdsale

Leveraging Decentralized Funding to Combat Nonsense Mutations
Ringing in 2024, longevity stalwart VitaDAO has funded Dr. Michael Torres’ work to nullify a nonsense mutation that is implicated in a wide range of cancers and age-related diseases.
Ella McCarthy-Page
Feb 13, 2024
read

Even the smallest mutations in our genetic code can have damaging effects, cascading into an array of disease pathologies. In an effort to negate these effects,  VitaDAO, a key player in Decentralized Science, has partnered with Dr. Michael Torres and Artan BIO to engineer a first-in-class therapy that aims to suppress deleterious codon mutations. The VitaDAO community voted to provide $91,300 worth of funding to Dr. Torres via Molecule’s Intellectual Property Non-Fungible Token (IP-NFT) protocol. To increase the opportunity for community involvement and further funding, the IP-NFT will be tokenized into Intellectual Property Tokens (IPTs), granting governance privileges to IPT holders in the VitaDAO community and beyond. 

What happens when DNA gets up to nonsense?

The ribosome, colloquially known as our protein printer, is continually walking itself down strands of genetic code, reading each building block like braille, and then summoning the corresponding amino acids, with the help of transfer RNA (tRNA). These amino acids string together, ultimately forming proteins. If a single building block, known as a nucleotide, mutates, it can alter the protein being created. Our proteins participate in every possible shade of bodily function, so changes in protein synthesis tend to cause a whole host of problems. 

One such nucleotide change results in mutations known as nonsense mutations. They occur when a single nucleotide mutates and forms a stop codon, which is effectively a force-eject button. Stop codons are generally reserved for the end of the entire protein sequence when the protein is ready to be sent off into the body, but in the case of nonsense mutations, these stop codons accidentally crop up elsewhere. When this happens, protein formation is halted prematurely, resulting in half-formed, non-functional proteins which can go on to cause mayhem in the body. Finding and correcting nonsense mutations is not a novel concept. In fact, our bodies do it already! However, we’re far from perfect - issues arise when genuine stop codons are recognized as well, and overridden when they should not be. Currently, the existing treatments also fall prey to this issue. 

The Science

To address the gap, Dr. Torres has invented a potential solution; an engineered system to suppress the outcome of a particular nonsense mutation, enabling the continuation of protein formation. His solution is unique in so far that it appears to be more discerning than other treatments, correctly identifying the problematic stop codon while ignoring genuine stop codons, and most importantly, not interfering with normal gene translation. Preliminary data produced in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University has supported Dr. Torres’ hypothesis, leading to VitaDAO’s decision to fund further investigation. 

Additionally, Dr. Torres has identified a delivery system that is adept at sneaking into cells in the heart, liver, skeletal muscle, and central nervous system. By integrating the engineered codon suppressor into this vector, he suspects that it will be the perfect vehicle to carry the therapeutic to exactly where it needs to go. This vector comes with the bonus of already being clinically validated, which enables the team to optimize its path to first-in-human studies, as certain risks have already been addressed. 

The Scientist

Dr. Torres, who holds a PhD in Cancer Biology from UT-Southwestern in Dallas, has previously co-founded ReCode Therapeutics, a clinical-stage genetic medicines company that has secured over $300M in funding. He now works as the CEO of CrossBridge Bio, an oncology-focused company focused on developing next-generation dual payload antibody-drug conjugates. Dr. Torres was introduced to Decentralized Science (DeSci) by longtime DeSci supporter Mike Baran from Pfizer Ventures, and was quickly attracted to the ability to leverage community engagement to critically evaluate and fund ideas. His extensive experience in drug development, as well as his aptitude for both science and entrepreneurship, make him the perfect candidate for VitaDAO and Molecule’s novel funding model.

“In essence, this model is a powerful tool for transforming ideas into tangible data, supporting future drug development, and creating valuable societal assets.” Dr. Michael Torres

A single solution for many diseases

As a seasoned drug developer, Dr. Torres understands the importance of having foresight when in the lab. In studying nonsense mutations, Dr. Torres observed that a specific nonsense mutation is prevalent in many proteins involved in cellular processes associated with aging such as DNA repair, epigenetic regulators, and tumor suppressors. As this mutation is conserved across many diseases, several clinical opportunities are possible. Under optimal conditions, this research has the potential to turn into a ubiquitous therapy that could be used to treat several health issues associated with aging. VitaDAO is particularly interested in the potential of a therapeutic that could reactivate tumor-suppressing proteins in cancer patients, aiming to slow down or even eradicate tumor growth, given their focus on age-related diseases. Some of the other diseases implicated with nonsense mutations are Duchenne muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, spinal muscular atrophy, metabolic diseases, and neurologic disorders. 

About VitaDAO

VitaDAO is a community-owned collective dedicated to funding and advancing longevity science that can improve people's lives. They have a strong presence in the Decentralized Science community and have utilized the IP-NFT model multiple times. In addition to this, together with Molecule and Dr. Viktor Korochuk, VitaDAO launched the first tokenized research project in the form of IPTs. The IPT tokens, known as VITA-FAST have enabled direct community governance - a world first. 

Dr. Anthony Schwartz, a VitaDAO Entrepreneur in Residence, will act as the project manager for this project. He has founded at least 15 startups, primarily focused on autoimmune diseases and cancer, which have led to large financings and an FDA-approved product. He is also a lecturer at Johns Hopkins. 

“The emerging VitaDAO model can potentially change how new drugs are funded. I'm excited and motivated to help bring that model to fruition through VitaDAO's funding of new companies and blockchain capital raises (IP-NFT/IPT) and seamlessly transition these companies into traditional VC/Pharma financing to bring new drugs to the market.” Dr. Anthony Schwartz

What is an Intellectual Property Non-Fungible Token?

Intellectual Property Non-Fungible Tokens (IP-NFTs) bring IP rights, such as the right to data and patents from drugs developed by funded research, onchain by attaching IP rights to smart contracts. By unifying data and intellectual property rights into programmable, transactable, blockchain tokens, IP-NFTs represent an evolutionary step in the development and management of scientific research IP. To date, IP-NFTs have been used to register IP of more than $1.95M in scientific research. The Torres IP-NFT adds to this growing list. You can find the IP-NFT here

The IP-NFT artwork created to visually represent the project

Intellectual Property Tokens invite the community to participate 

“This revolutionary concept of IP tokenization allows community involvement in the drug development process, creating a mutually beneficial situation. For us, it enables unlocking additional capital in a collaborative manner. For the community, it gives them an opportunity to directly support projects in a manner previously unavailable.” Dr. Michael Torres

True to the belief of equitable and accessible scientific research, VitaDAO will be tokenizing the Torres IP-NFT into IPTs, fungible tokens enabling the distribution of IP rights to their holders, in order to raise funds for the science and empower the community to govern the resulting IP.  

Funding from sales of the IPTs will enable Dr. Torres and his team to insert the engineered fragment into the chosen vector and perform in vitro testing to validate its effectiveness. IPTs will enable individuals to actively govern the project and its results, such as new drugs developed from the team’s research. 

Granting community members the power to co-develop research projects harnesses the potential of incentive-aligned expertise, furthering decentralized science. Many decisions need to occur as this project unfolds, such as which other possible delivery vehicles to test, which disease indication is best suited for clinical testing, and how to raise additional funds. With the power of IP tokenization, the wisdom of the crowd now has the chance to influence those decisions.  

Join VitaRNA Crowdsale

Announcing the first biopharma IP-NFT Transaction
Throughout the past 2 weeks VitaDAO Token Holders got to vote on the proposal “VDP-5 Scheibye-Knudsen Lab Funding” to fund longevity at the Scheibye-Knudsen Lab in Copenhagen. The voting passed with 2.1M token votes and 88% of votes supporting the proposition. With the proposal having been approved by the DAO members, the lab in Copenhagen will receive $250.000 for the first research phase of the project over a period of 12 months. After successful completion and review of Phase 1 by the DAO, another $250.000 for an additional 12 months of research could be handed out to the lab. As part of this deal, VitaDAO will fully own the intellectual property (IP) resulting from the research project. The first biopharma IP that will be owned and managed by a DAO. Ownership and access management to the IP will be handled via Molecule’s novel IPNFT framework. The infrastructure is utilizing Ethereum ERC721, Arweave and Nevermined.
Clemens Ortlepp
Aug 13, 2021
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IPNFT Transfer Ceremony

Join Molecule and VitaDAO in celebrating this amazing achievement. Find everything you need to know about the celebration:

  • What will happen: The first IPNFT holding a licence agreement for biopharma IP will be created and sold to VitaDAO by Molecule
  • When: Tuesday 17th of August 2021 at 5 pm CET
  • Where: www.youtube.com/watch?v=uT2-0qoHjbc
  • Who will be there: Molecule & VitaDAO Core Teams

If you haven’t yet read up on the research project as well as the researchers behind it, find more about it below:

About the Research Project

What if therapeutics to slow down the ageing process and prevent age-related disease already existed? Recently, in an unprecedented effort, a large-scale study employing advanced machine learning methods analyzed medical records from over 4 million individuals in the Danish Health System’s medical and prescription records. The study, consisting of over 1.4 billion prescriptions, found that a number of prescription drugs were highly associated with longer life- and health-span in long-live populations. VitaDAO seeks to validate these observations through a series of carefully conducted wet-lab experiments. If successful, this work could result in the repurposing of several FDA-approved therapeutics for the purpose of extending the human lifespan, at a lower cost and over faster timelines than conceivably possible with de novo drug discovery.

This program focuses on testing and developing three of these small molecules as possible interventions in ageing. Specifically, we will test the drugs on human cell cultures and in fruit flies, before moving to mice in the future. These molecules target the longevity field with the aim of letting everyone live healthier, happier and longer lives.


Research Background

To date, more than a hundred compounds have been shown to extend the lifespan of model organisms. In humans, no drug is currently recognized to extend lifespan. Given the large diversity of drugs able to extend the lifespan of model organisms, it is likely that multiple drugs are able to extend the healthspan of humans. But how do we find these compounds?

The Scheibye-Knudsen lab has analyzed 1.5 billion prescriptions from 4.8 million individuals over 40 years in The Danish National Health Service Prescription Database and correlated this with the survival of individuals prescribed certain drugs. They received exclusive access to carry out this work. The Scheibye-Knudsen Lab has identified 10+ FDA approved medications that appear to have a strong effect on lifespan following analysis. This project will focus on optimising, repurposing, and re-formulating the 3 drugs with the strongest effect on human lifespan. Additionally, there is a database of compounds that could be pursued. The identities of the molecules are not disclosed in this presentation to protect the full viability of the intellectual property. They are referred to as X, Y, and Z.

View project on Molecule Discovery.

About Morten Scheibye-Knudsen

Morten Scheibye-Knudsen is Associate Professor and group leader at the Center for Healthy Aging, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Besides his research activity, he has been committed to educational programs and his online companies Mitodb.com and Forsøgsperson.dk. The latter has grown to become the largest single provider of study participants in Denmark. Morten Scheibye-Knudsen also acts as an advisor or committee member for organisations such as the Longevity Vision Fund, the Lifeboat Foundation, the NNF Big Data in Biomedicine project and others. Morten Scheibye-Knudsen earned his MD in 2007 and his DMSc (PhD) in 2016 from the University of Copenhagen. After graduation, he worked as physician at Slagelse Hospital and at Nuuk Medical Clinic in Greenland. In 2008, he became a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institute on Aging at the NIH in Baltimore, Maryland. His work focused on the cross-talk between DNA repair and mitochondrial function in aging and has been honored by a number of competitive awards. In 2015 he was recruited to start his own research group at the University of Copenhagen, where his research group aims to understand the cellular and organismal consequences of DNA damage in the context of aging. He now runs one of the largest research programmes in Europe focusing on aging. His ultimate goal is to modulate and perhaps treat aging and age-related diseases, allowing everyone to live healthier and longer lives.

HairDAO: Breaking the 'Cosmetic Condition' Barrier and Unlocking New Funding Possibilities with IP-NFTs
HairDAO, a BioDAO that is currently a part of the bio.xyz accelerator, had their first IP-NFT transaction. For $75k, HairDAO will gain access to the initial data from Dr. Ralf Paus’ lab Cutaneon. Then, based on the results, HairDAO may opt to test...
Esha Bora, Heinrich Tessendorf
Feb 17, 2023
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Though hair loss is typically not the prime example people give for scientific research, it is still a condition that impacts nearly 60% of the global population. Outside of treating hair loss patients, hair loss research is also incredibly under-appreciated as a low-risk human model to understand how regulating various pathways may affect other organs in the human body, given that a hair follicle is essentially a mini organ. Niche research like early stage androgenic alopecia (hair loss) studies receive only about $5.4 million per year from all government agencies globally because of its classification as a “cosmetic condition.” Oftentimes, various studies of science like longevity or hair loss do not receive enough attention because they are not technically classified as “diseases.” These conditions, however, still impact human health in indirect ways as indicated by the high correlation between poor mental health and hair loss. 

HairDAO, a BioDAO that is currently a part of the bio.xyz accelerator, had their first IP-NFT transaction. For $75k, HairDAO will gain access to the initial data from Dr. Ralf Paus’ lab Cutaneon. Then, based on the results, HairDAO may opt to test combinations of T3/T4 thyroid hormone at different dosages for an additional $50k. Not only is this the first IP-NFT coming out of the bio.xyz pipeline, but HairDAO will also be the first BioDAO, other than VitaDAO, to be transacting an IP-NFT. 

On February 16th, the IP-NFT was officially minted and transacted! The etherscan transaction can be viewed here. As per custom, the transfer ceremony occurred with an insightful and exciting conversation between Dr. Paus of Cutanenon, HairDAO founders Andrew Verbinnen and Andrew Bakst, and Benji Leibowitz from Molecule. When asked about his experience of working with HairDAO and receiving funding through an IP-NFT, Dr. Paus expressed that “the approach that was taken was not only creative, it’s also necessary and democratic.” Despite decades of research experience using the traditional science model, Dr. Paus highlights the importance of using decentralized science technology to implement a “business model where the people who have a vested interest in the research should not only able to vote but should also somehow contribute to finding the money that propels the research - that kind of a model makes perfect sense.” Watch the replay for the transfer ceremony below:

One of Molecule’s big goals of funding through IP-NFTs is to target typically underinvested areas of science such as longevity or hair loss. These various fields of research impact a large population, but due to limited government funding, certain types of research and studies like clinical trials and cancer-related studies get prioritized in funding allocation. Unlike government funding models, BioDAOs allow for bottom-up rather than top-down funding. They aim to provide a solution for a group of people specifically wanting a solution to hair loss. 

"What's so cool about minting an IP-NFT in relationship to our research with Professor Paus, is that typically an IP asset like this would get lost in TTO databases, which are incredibly opaque. The IP-NFT makes it easy for any aspiring biotech entrepreneur to purchase IP as easily as they would buy a product on Amazon. That means more biotech spinouts, which means more scientific innovation." - Andrew Verbinnen

Through the bio.xyz accelerator, Molecule hopes to build communities of researchers, doctors, and patients to fund and govern niche research areas. The combination of BioDAOs and IP-NFTs enable development of therapeutics in various fields that currently remain unexplored. 

In this particular case with HairDAO’s new IP-NFT, co-founder of HairDAO Andrew Bakst says that blockchain technology, the IP-NFT, enabled “significant efficiency improvements from the wisdom of the crowd provided by the patient-research community.” Even from the perspective of a researcher with a traditional science background, Dr. Paus expresses that this was the “first time ever that [he] had one of his research proposals meticulously scrutinized, publicly vetted, and commented on by a web community of hair aficionados, whose depth of knowledge and understanding of the field [took him by surprise].” 

HairDAO was founded in November 2021 and has already reached the stage of funding its first research project. For this first IP-NFT, voting took place over Discord where there was overwhelming support with 94 ‘yes’ and 2 ‘no’. Another huge stride in the HairDAO roadmap is that they are planning to launch a token ($HAIR) very soon! Using Gnosis Auction, the token will launch on February 23rd and the sale will last for five days. The $HAIR token will enable proportional voting rights over governance, operations, and investment decisions - similar to the model that VitaDAO currently follows. 

HairDAO has a lot more planned such as collecting genomic data for treatment effectiveness predictions as well as selling treatments to the community to use the profits to fund R&D into long-term solutions. There are a lot of big benchmarks to look forward to in the HairDAO community! If you are a hair loss researcher, patient, or are generally interested in contributing to the community, join the HairDAO Discord here!

If you're interested in enabling research funding communities and securing IP rights, join the Molecule Discord and talk to us!

For IP-NFT explorers, BioDAO founders and researchers:

Apply for a mintpass here. Having a mintpass means you will get access to our closed beta and you’ll be one of the first people ever to mint your own IP-NFT!

Exploring Decentralized Science with Balaji Srinivasan on The Desci Podcast
This episode of the Desci Podcast explores decentralized science with Balaji Srinivasan. Balaji discusses the Network State, an era of decentralized academia, decentralized media, and decentralized science, and the difference between "science" and actual science.
Balaji Srinivasan, Alex LaBossiere
Aug 4, 2022
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Introduction of Balaji and the Network State

Balaji Srinivasan, is the former CTO of Coinbase, former general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, twitter.com/balajis and Balajis.com

The era of traditional academia is ending, and the new era of decentralized academia, decentralized media, decentralized science is beginning.  The way that the nation state justifies itself is it says that everything it's doing because of “science”, This intersection is captured in  the book, The Network State, and it's at thenetworkstate.com.

There's a huge difference between science in the sense of Maxwell's equations, which are independently reproduced, "science" in the sense of just peer reviewed publications, which are often not independently reproduced or even reproducible, and it mimics the form. The journal publication, the citation, and the prestige and so on, without the substance, which is the ability to do an independent replication. And this is this core difference between,  "science" and actual science.

Timestamps: 

00:00 - Intro 

01:30 - Introduction of Balaji & The Network State

06:45 - Key factors holding back scientific progress

14:17 - How to change the research & funding structure

21:00 - Commonalities between New York Times and the nature of the Scientific Journals

38:00 - How does scientific progress unfold?

44:50 - Can AI be a dominant driver here?

49:10 - How to make predictions in technology

54:40 - The cyclical approach of history 

01:02:48 - Advice for builders in the DeSci space

01:04:29 - Last words, book advice & outro 

Balaji:

There's actually only one thing that's more prestigious than science, you know, that is? Math. It may sound almost trivial, but we don't normally think of them as opposed, right? You know, the king and the queen of you know, like stem, right, that are to get our STEM science. One way of thinking about it is, crypto economics is based fundamentally on math.

It is based on the fact that we can go and download the Bitcoin blockchain and run a bunch of mathematical computations, to verify it to verify all the past transactions, same with the Ethereum blockchain.

And that's different from academic economics, which claims to be based on "science", where it has gotten to this realm where you cannot verify everything. 

What do you think are the key factors holding back scientific progress globally?

The entire Vannevar Bush thing of centralizing research around and after the time of World War Two, has run its course. And so,  the fundamental thing holding back scientific progress globally is the choke point. That is the US government.

So all of these funds that were appropriated and centralized for the federal government, all the research that was centralized there, there's a certain school of thought that comes where it's, you know, grants, and it's papers, there's choke points that happened.

How would you change that legacy research and funding structure

The NIH budget is actually pretty large, It's several dollars a year. Giving full control would essentially shatter the entire thing into many funding sources. 

More effort should be on bringing down cost, increasing reproducibility and increasing automation.

Fund independent investigators and fund relatively low cost you know maybe it's like one to three years and unlike the traditional academia you don't have to write a grant where basically everything is done beforehand.

Give people like perhaps one to three years of funding okay, and it's usually like one person or maybe like a very small group, and they're trying to do the basic science and prove it out and then if it works that technological fire you know catches then they start a company, or they turn that into a company okay and if it doesn't then you know like they either find somebody who wants to continue the funding or they shut it down.

Commonalities between the New York Times and Nature, the scientific journal for us?

Absolutely. Academia moves slower than legacy media. The pre-internet power centers of the US, like: 1) DC, which is regulation 

2) Harvard, as a mechanism for academia 

3) Hollywood, which is film 

4) New York, which is media. 

DC, and academia and Hollywood even take years to multiple years to turn something around, a paper or a film, or especially a rule or regulation that can take multiple years to turn something around, media had a 24/7 metabolism, CNN and others, like media is used to shipping a newspaper every single day. So they were the only legacy institution that had the same metabolism and speed of people who are deploying on the internet.

Legacy media, they're attacking everybody they're attacking  every country every movement within the U.S. everything that possibly could contest the US establishment whether it's France or Hungary or china or India or Russia or conservatives or centrist liberals or tech people or crypto people or whatever right there's like a new enemy every single day.

How does scientific progress unfold?

Replication is massively underestimated as a driver of the use of science.

Just as an example like you guys have used tons of GitHub you know based open source projects what do you'll download it you'll run it if it doesn't run on your computer it's an amateurish project. And you know like how many times do you quote replicate their claims you're literally executing the software and if it doesn't replicate or work on your computer it's useless.

Can AI be a common driver here?

It's complicated. Crypto can be sort of corrupted or repurposed for centralization with the CBDC's and so on, but AI can also of course be decentralized with federated machine learning or if you're seeing, you know there are knockoffs of dolly 2 and other things that happen very quickly you know they're not as good.

But they very quickly get out there and moreover these models are difficult to train but as you know relatively cheap to evaluate, and so they're actually just bags of coefficients, and probably in the fullness of time they'll either get reverse engineered or hacked or something like that, once it's known that it's possible for people to catch, and we are not sure of how defensible those things are.

How to make predictions in technology?

There's different there's to pull from history, and one of the things to consider an unsolved problem is to determine whether a historical analogy is accurate. 

It's like it's not just an analogy, it's a mathematical analogy where you have a second or differential equation. Mathematical analogies are the best kind because there is an isomorphism between the objects here and the objects here, and manipulating these gives you insight into these and vice versa.

The cyclical approach to history

The cycle theory is  a parametric curve where you're just going around the loop, and we just come back to where we are.

If you watch the collapse of civilization's podcast, sobering to realize that in a sense we're like the guys who got to the last level of a video game and were made the most successful up to this point. 

Previous human civilizations to our knowledge had gotten to like space travel and so on, but that may just mean that like our final flame out is like really chaotic, so it's actually good to decentralize to have eggs in multiple baskets to get to other planets, and you know that's what a lawn talks about backing up humanity  

One of the things Steve Jobs did with an apple is he built um he pushed secrecy why do you push secrecy, so you could have multiple teams that didn't know about each other that were working on the same thing, but they were innovative since they couldn't copy from each other right, and they didn't feel competitive with each other because they didn't know about each other.

Advice for people in Desci

Build a demonstration of truly reproducible research, take two statistics papers where one cites the other okay and maybe actually uses a function from the other, have them both be on chain

maybe with the data and stuff on our weave. 

Just show how you did that that would be a huge breakthrough just focus on something very specific then we've got you know that proof of technological fire where we can show here's the paper here's another one it's like arpanet you know sending like the first packet right that first on-chain citation as a function call where you have composable science will be a milestone.

Use some kind of decentralized platform to show that you can get composable science that can get composable finance.

Show-notes of the episode:

https://twitter.com/balajis

https://balajis.com/

https://balajis.com/the-purpose-of-technology/

https://thenetworkstate.com/

https://nexus.od.nih.gov/all/2021/11/18/long-term-trends-in-the-age-of-principal-investigators-supported-for-the-first-time-on-nih-r01-awards/ https://newscience.org/nih/

https://twitter.com/patrickc/status/1544067890403389441

https://project-evidence.github.io/https://www.quantamagazine.org/in-new-math-proofs-artificial-intelligence-plays-to-win-20220307/ https://github.com/camoverride/lit/blob/master/The-Princeton-Companion-to-Mathematics.pdf

A huge thanks again to Balaji for taking the time and for the valuable input - We hope you all can take something away from this episode on your DeSci journey.

Feel free to skip around the timestamps to find your favorite topics! Also, if you prefer listening to podcasts on audio apps, feel free to search for "The DeSci Podcast" on Spotify, Google Podcasts & Apple Podcasts.

If you want to join us on the show as a speaker or have guest ideas, please shoot us a mail at podcast@molecule.to

You can also find all links to our Spotify, Discord and Twitter here.

Special thanks to:

Alex LaBossiere (Host)
Vincent Weisser
Balaji Srinivasan

Vitalik Buterin on Decentralized Science, Aging, AI and Scientific Progress
On a recent episode of The DeSci Podcast, Vincent Weisser interviewed Vitalk Buterin, co-founder of the Ethereum Foundation, to talk about the state of decentralized science today and its prospects for the future which led to an in-depth analysis of the potential curveballs and unknowns.
Vitalik Buterin, Vincent Weisser
Jan 16, 2023
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Vitalik had a lot to say about DeSoc (decentralized society) and the possibilities it brings to science, including how important attestation protocols are in science and the need for a contribution graph to identify participants and contributors. In particular, how DeSoc is laying the groundwork for future decentralized protocols.

He also gave a deeper insight into his interests in longevity research and retroactive research. There's also mention of his works and contributions towards COVID relief, especially Balvi. Vatalik highlighted how Balvi contributed to the funding of numerous initiatives aiming to cover the full range of COVID detection and eventual treatment, including open source initiatives RaDVaC that focused on sterilizing vaccines and nasal vaccines, among others.

On the note of the things holding back the growth of scientific progress, Vitalik highlighted the problem of public goods being underfunded and suggested that providing funds for projects with as low as a 100:1 benefit-to-cost ratio would signify a large amount of progress. He continued by discussing ideas and information accessibility to open up additional avenues for everyone to make contributions, regardless of age, socioeconomic situation, or geography. He also discussed how the rise of cryptocurrency has reawakened the positive collective human ability to advance our knowledge of the world and contribute to having a positive impact on the world and our physical environment despite the fact that the conservative mentality has decreased interest in many scientific fields.

Timestamps

0:00 How do you define decentralized science?

1:36 Mistakes made with cryptocurrency.

7:29 How complicated is the contribution graph?

12:47 The areas of science that he is most excited about.

15:33 Full spectrum covid support and educating people about science.

22:21 Setting up an organization that is explicitly not meant to survive forever.

28:24 Differences between crypto and other frontier tech industries and the importance of international networks.

31:02 What’s holding back scientific progress?

36:37 The digital world’s impact on longevity

41:49 Potential Curveballs and unknowns

45:09 Decentralized science and prediction markets.

Snippet:

Vitalik Buterin  0:00  

What if we fix aging? Right? And you know, what if all those numbers are off by a factor of two, you know, what if there is a radical cultural change that causes people to have like much more, much fewer children, there's just so many different curveballs that could happen. What if, you know, we do discover evidence of alien life, like even if it is bacteria, right? And that just creates a big, big philosophical awakening in people; there's just so many of these big unknowns.

Vincent Weisser  0:36  

Yeah, it's great to have you, Vitalik, for this conversation about the intersection of science and crypto called "decentralized science," hosted at DeSci London at the Francis Crick Institute there; maybe we get directly into it. So on decentralized science, I would be curious how you define decentralized science and which aspects of it are you most excited about.

Vitalik Buterin  0:59  

Hmm, I guess I view a decentralized science as a collection of ideas that basically have to do with trying to answer the question of what are some ways in which emerging open and decentralized technologies can make us, science better and can improve the institutions of science, in a broad sense, can improve mental health, people who are just excited to collaborate with each other and get a get things out to the broader public? So I think some like, examples of this would include one is just funding right. So I think the interesting thing about cryptocurrency is, first of all, that it's just a very effective fundraising tool by itself, right? Because I've used cryptocurrency to donate money to various kinds of charities, like some of them giving money directly to the poor, some of them, you know, doing existential risk research, some of them also doing longevity research, or doing other kinds of science.

I think my most recent, really big and significant one was donating some amount of money to Impetus Grants, which is doing longevity. So just crypto as payments, I think was one big part of it, and like just in addition to providing more funding for science, I think it's fascinating how it provides for more diverse funding, right, like, it's not just traditional institutions, it's also a yet, you know, pretty wide array of, of individuals that can now provide funding in a lot of cases. And then going a bit beyond that there's, you know, things like DAOs, and things like quadratic funding, and all of these different tools that tried to create a more crypto native and more structured approach to funding different kinds of science projects. So quadratic funding, in general, it's a set of the decentralized and democratic ways of choosing where the funds for a particular funding will go. So one way to think about it is that it's like a matching system. So if people donate to one project, then the matching pool also contributes its money. But the unique thing about quadratic funding is that the match is greater the larger the number of distinct people that contribute to a project, right? So if project A, let's say, gets $10,000, each from two people, but project B gets $1, each from 20,000 people, then project B is going to get a much, much higher match than project A does. There's some really interesting mathematical reasoning for why quadratic funding is economically optimal in a certain sense. And if people want to read up on, like, my explanation of that, I'm on my blog. vitalik.ca. I Yeah, have uh, it's just like a quick roll up for quadratic, you can find my post on this, the quadratic mechanisms in general. And then I think we also want to kind of go a bit beyond quadratic funding by itself.

There's the concept of DAOs in general, and there have been more and more DAOs. There is VitaDAO, there are other kinds of DAOs now that are trying to organize the process of deciding who to fund in all kinds of structured ways that even go beyond just the funding question. There's also potentially the concept of you know, using like Blockchain traceability or NFTs or soul bound tokens or anything like that, to try to do what better job of just maintaining the graph of like, who contributed how much to what, right because one of the big issues in academia is the whole peer review system. And the way that that by itself has basically turned into its own game that is unfair in a lot of ways and gets exploited in a lot of ways and exclusive in a lot of ways and creates a very misaligned behavior as people try to chase citations in a lot of ways. And the question of, can we both try to make better versions of what the peer review and or what the citation graph tries to do and what the peer review process tries to do, and also use blockchain and these toolkits to really kind of weave that into the process of doing things and the process of funding things and, you know, really make rewarding people for any contributions to the things that we set, you know important results downstream, be something that happens and much more seamlessly and much more automatically. You know, retroactive funding by optimism is one good example. Right? So I think just zooming out of edits, so there's a large collection of things that people are doing with blockchains, with DAOs, with cryptocurrencies, you know, with soulbound tokens, and you know, with ZK, and all of these different tools that try to reform or replace or improve on all kinds of processes in, like, how we do science as a civilization.

Vincent Weisser  6:37

Yeah, makes a lot of sense. I think, maybe we want to double-click on public goods. So I think it's really interesting to see the first experiments with quadratic funding also showing some of the ways that it could potentially be improved. So we'd be curious, on public goods experiments, like for quadratic funding and retroactive funding, which experiments, would you like to see in the context of science that you haven't seen yet? Also, are there potential improvements to quadratic funding or retroactive funding? Yeah, that we should attempt.

Vitalik Buterin  7:13  

Yeah, I think science is actually a great place to try to do experiments with, like, more sophisticated forms of retroactive funding, because science is the one place where it's, like, more obvious than anywhere else. I think it's true everywhere. But it's particularly obvious in science, like just how complicated the contribution graph leading to any particular result is, right? Like, if, let's say, someone invents some new zero-knowledge proof protocol, usually, that protocol itself is a version of some other idea. And it uses, you know, some particular polynomial commitment scheme that was invented by someone 2 to 10 years ago. And then it builds on top of this other results, and that polynomial commitment scheme also builds on top of other results, and it's basically, you know, people building on stuff, that's built on stuff, that's built on stuff that, you know, goes all the way back to RSA and Shannon, and other stuff in the 1940s, the 1970s, and, ultimately, stuff even long before then, right. And there's more of a tradition within science of like being explicit about that graph, which I think is fascinating. And what that means is that it's an opportunity to try to solve what I think might be one of the critiques of retro funding in practice, which is basically the last step in a particular chain that leads to some outcome getting funded but some of the less glamorous intermediate steps don't. So everyone has a big incentive to try to play up how big their contributions are and, like, be really loud about what they're doing. And that's like trying to reward not just the people directly responsible but also, you know, the people who are responsible for the parents and the grandparents of a particular result. I can do that in a way that's incentive-compatible. I think it's a really fascinating thing to think more about. And I think in the, it's a good idea at every space, but in the decentralized side space, in particular, be interesting to really try to start

Vincent Weisser  9:32  

Which ideas from decentralized society, also called "DeSoc," that you coined with Glen Weyl and Puja and broadly in social technologies are you most excited about in the context of science?

Vitalik Buterin  9:47  

I think there is definitely a big overlap right because DeSoc is in a lot of ways all about exploring the nonfinancial ways to try to encode different kinds of relationships. So we have things like POAPs that encode, you know, whether or not someone attended a particular event, we have things like proof of humanity, we yet, you know, have a bunch of various attestation protocols that people are working on. And I think all of those have a big voice in DeSci. Because, like, as I was mentioning before, one of the big things that I think that DeSci space could do was really try to, like do better things with having a higher quality, I mean of contribution graph. And that's something that we could get more of automatically just by, you know, having more of that kind of information committed to the chain everywhere, right? So the more of, you know, there are these public commitments of like, what contributed to what, who participated in what and you know, who was a part of a particular community, the more it becomes possible to do more of those kinds of experiments. So I view DeSoc as being a space that's going to create and really yet build out a base layer that will make available information that a lot of these decentralized protocols are going to end up making use of.

Vincent Weisser  11:29  

Yeah on decentralized society. I wonder, do you see the first use case being mainly around identity and soulbound tokens and then enabling a bunch of other use cases? Like, what could some MVPs of this look like? If a builder is listening, who wants to build something at the intersection of DeSoc and DeSci, like, for example, the Gitcoin passport, which I think is interesting, but there might be other identity solutions or other DeSoc ideas that one could build?

Vitalik Buterin  11:57  

I think the other really natural one is basically trying to, think through it and figure out what it actually would mean in practice to have some kind of POAP. That's proof of attendance token that represents the contribution to some particular piece of scientific research, right? Now it could mean that like, you get one by being an author of some paper. Or some posts, it could mean, just being involved in a particular community or at a particular event that's doing research in a particular area. I don't know yet. But that's one of the challenges that's worth figuring out.

Vincent Weisser 12:51  

You mentioned earlier some of the amazing initiatives that you supported; maybe you could paint a picture of the areas of science that you're most excited about and why you're excited about them.

Vitalik Buterin  13:04  

Sure. So one that I've obviously been excited about for a long time is longevity research. Yeah, I read Aubrey's book, Ending Aging, when I was a teenager, and I was immediately convinced and definitely really inspired by the vision. And since then, that's always something—a space that I have dreams that I could somehow be helpful too. And so I started donating to well, longevity pretty much as soon as I started having significant amounts of money, I try to continue being more supportive of different groups in the space in various ways.

In addition to longevity, one of the others that I've started going into recently is COVID research; this was actually one that kind of happened accidentally, in that, you know, I got these Dogecoins back in 2021. And I needed to send the Dogecoins somewhere. And right at that exact same time, India was getting hit really hard by the COVID situation, right? This was like late April, early May 2021. And there was this group called Crypto COVID Relief India that was just starting to get help in India, trying to make its way through the crisis. And I sent some Dogecoins to crypto relief, like these are the Shiba Inu tokens that I got that just somehow ballooned to a really huge market cap. And at the time, I thought that it was not going to be a huge amount of money. And so we didn't really think much of it, but they ended up being able to get far more money out of it than I had imagined it would be possible like I imagined they'd be able to get maybe $10 or $20 million, and then Shiba would crash to zero, but they ended up cashing out like a bit over 400 million USDC then They started funding a lot of projects in India. And then I also started basically working on this effort called Balvi with some other people who are into infectious disease science.

And we really understood the COVID situation and I knew that this would be what also simultaneously use some of that money for some more kind of potentially speculative and high-risk, but also potentially really valuable projects. Right. So this is basically like full spectrum COVID support. So it included projects that are working on masks, projects that are working on vaccines, UV radiation, air filtering, you know, wastewater surveillance, just like the entire spectrum of figuring out a lot of ways to detect COVID, Testing is the other one, you know, both betas, like antigen tests and lab tests and PCRs, and everything in between. And then finally, try to deal with COVID, treat it, and make it less of a problem in the event that someone does get it. And what was interesting was that Balvi did end up funding a lot of different work and even ended up funding a lot of open-source work. So one of those things was RaDVaC, which was an open-source project that was working on vaccines for COVID. And they were one of the early ones that started working on nasal vaccines, right, because they know, there's this fact about COVID, that the place where it's like easiest and most practical to stop, it actually is like basically in the middle upper respiratory system. And if you don't get that, then basically, you're not actually going to create a vaccine that completely stops COVID. Because like, you could easily get it and pass it on to someone, even if the rest of your body outside the respiratory system is immune. So if you want to make what's called a sterilizing vaccine, then, you have to get pretty close to the source. And also like nasal vaccines, you know, they get don't require an injection, are potentially easier to administer, potentially, you could just give the belt to people at a less scary and all that. And they were one of the earliest projects that we're doing that, there are a bunch of other projects as well other vaccine projects, other projects in a whole bunch of other areas.

So what was fascinating there, I think was that, like one just cryptocurrency ended up being are an extremely convenient funding method, especially for all of these different international things, right, it's just so much easier than sending a bank wire, even with the controls that we had, like we had a multi SIG wallet and multiple people had to sign off to prevent the money from getting stolen, right, like, which definitely adds like a bit of bureaucracy and checking, but like, even with that, it's just so much easier than, you know, sending bank wires for everything and dealing with all kinds of banking systems and it arrives instantly, then the other one, I think, is just like the value of, you know, a model of philanthropy that's more willing to trust people, right, like a lot of donors to this project say, yeah, be like, try really hard to inject to their own opinions into everything and basically say, you know, hey, you know, you have to put all your money into this and put all your money into that and that there's no way I'm gonna let you spend anything on overhead because everyone agrees that overhead is, you know, totally unacceptable and bad. And you know, these things add up actually, hamstringing a lot of people right, and with Balvi, we're trying to be a win trying to intentionally not do that and I think that led to a lot of good outcomes. And then I think it also counts as science you know, even though it's not biology but the whole “zero knowledge” space.

I feel like I've been trying to support the zero-knowledge space in multiple ways so one of them is obviously the Ethereum Foundation funding a lot of zero-knowledge research. I did like actually contributed a bit myself to a couple of zero-knowledge projects. A tiny feature accredited to myself ended up making its way into one of the original plug protocols, which I thought was kind of fun. The other really big thing was just making these exploiters, write these blog posts to try to make the math behind zero-knowledge protocols and a whole bunch of other cryptography really accessible to people. What I basically felt like I was doing was trying to fill what I thought was this missing middle niche where, on the one hand, you have academic papers, which are just like horrible and unreadable, and, like, part of the reason why they're horrible and unreadable is not because, you know, academics are like bad people who are elitist, No, there definitely is some elitist.

So it's just because, you know, the incentive structure encourages writing to a particular audience, and I think changing the incentive structure is part of what DeSci is supposed to be about. So, either you have PDFs that are basically unreadable, unless you're almost part of the same lab. And then on the other hand, you have Pop-sci writing, which is extremely accessible, but it just, like, doesn't explain, you know, pretty much anything right, it's like trying to explain physics to people. And then, oh, so there's this thing called a light cone. And you can imagine a light cone by imagining something like one of the pyramids of Egypt, except it's circular. And like, you know, it gives an image in people's head, but it doesn't actually help people, like, understand the science in the sense of like, being able to, like getting insights about how the world works, that would like help them actually understand or predict anything. And I wanted to fill the big missing middle of like writing that's both accessible to some number of people. And wouldn't, you know, yes, you will have to know a bit of undergraduate math and you also have to work hard, but at the same time, he could still understand it, but still, like actually being accurate and like actually describing the whole protocol.

And I think, part of my vision, there was definitely just inspired by my own experience as a self-taught person in a lot of areas and just being frustrated by you know, all the unreadable PDF papers and the, you know, extremely superficial Pop-sci material and trying to create something better for people who are not taking the conventional University path. And that's good, you know, ended up getting a lot of good feedback on a lot of those pieces. And it feels like that's turned into more of a trend, with a lot more people writing that kind of stuff now, which I think is good, right? I actually think educating people in a decentralized education about science really should be viewed as being part of decentralized science, right? Popularizing knowledge and even popularizing knowledge across disciplines is so valuable, right? Because so many of the important contributions, I think, come from intersections of different disciplines. So those are some of the things that I've done, and I definitely look forward to doing more things in the future.

Vincent Weisser  22:39  

Amazing! What strikes me as unique with your kind of efforts is just like the variety of different approaches like even from the Ethereum foundation to Balvi to some of those academic efforts to much more on non-traditional ones like what have been some surprising learnings between for example,  how something like Arc institute even or Impetus and Balvi setup and being kind of in the trenches with something like Balvi be super curious like which learnings you incorporated from remember Ethereum foundation and other things into setting up Balvi and how you structure it, which might be different from like a traditional foundation or brand given body?

Vitalik Buterin  23:21  

I think being lean is one of the warnings, right? So basically, another one is setting up an organization that is explicitly not trying to have an infinite lifespan. And I think to some extent, those two are connected, right, in the sense that, there was this, I think it was Venkatesh Rao for one of the new things called internet philosophers, who has a lot of interesting ideas, but one of them is, I think he called it, Neotenism, it's like the opposite of the Lindy effect, where the Lindy effect is like saying, I trust things more if they're old. Because they stood the test of time that he is saying, like, I trust things more if they're new because they haven't been corrupted by these yet inevitable pressures of social entropy yet. And like part of the reason why you know structures gain entropy over time is because they go through, you know, disasters, and those disasters will lead to calls for defending against things and creating layers of accountability and defending against more problems, over time that just leads to structures that have like, good defenses against though leading to problems but also unfortunately, you know good defenses against being able to move quickly into new things as well. And like the thing that the Ethereum foundation and Balvi have in common is that they're explicitly not entities that are meant to survive forever. The thing with the Ethereum foundation, it's, like, more open-ended, but there's definitely a big strand to the original vision that says that, well, maybe the thing is going to disappear eventually.

Or maybe the thing is going to turn into a DAO eventually. And Balvi is explicitly intended to start with a pool of money, spend it and then say that we're done, right? So, like, explicitly say that the goal is to disappear so as to not have the pressures that we had to create some of these permanent bureaucracies and, you know, avoid the pressures of negative people more and more people trying to exploit it over time. So that kind of approach I think, has been fascinating to see it. Another one is just appealing internationally. Right? So one of the big differences between crypto and a lot of other frontier tech industries is that like, if you look at AI, for example, AI is completely based in the Bay Area, like OpenAI Bay area, Stable diffusion Bay Area, you know, Deep Mind and like the, you know, the entire kind of Google alphabet bubble, you know, largely Bay Area, right, Meta, you know, what's in there? It's, like, huge Bay Area dominance. Crypto is not like that at all, right? Like the Ethereum Foundation, which is legally based in Switzerland with a major satellite in Singapore, it has a large number of developers in Berlin.

It has, you know, people in you know, the US and even within the US, actually, Ethereum's primary American hub is Denver, which is, it's like, you know, neither SF nor New York, nor one of the kinds of mainstream contrarian hubs like Austin or Miami; it's like, hey, Denver, and it's like, you know, right in the middle, and then it's, it's there, and it's cool. The Z cash is also there, by the way, well, technically Ethereum foundation is more in Boulder, and Z cash is more in Denver, but like, you know, to me as an airplane person, if it shares an airport, it's part of the same city. But then, you know, Canada, we have developers in Taiwan, we have developers in all kinds of European countries, and Justin has been creating more and more of a research bubble in the UK. And there are places like Cambridge, you know, strong community in Taiwan all the way through more and more of a Chinese community growing, right, more and more of a Latin American community growing. A lot of Ethereum people in places like Argentina. So crypto has been, I think, practically more successful than most tech industries at international diversity in that way. And I think, what Balvi in particular, also had that always as part of its vision, right, I mean Balvi had crypto relief. And that crypto relief was about supporting, you know, India, and this was happening at a time when this was, as I remember, one of my bigger disappointments. The whole India crypto situation was just bubbling up on Twitter. And I remember, but even in the US, like, almost nobody was talking about it except for basically a couple of middle Silicon Valley people.

And this was actually one of the things that I still respect Silicon Valley for, I thought the Silicon Valley elites were more on the ball and recognizing that there was a problem happening in India and trying to think through like what, you know, what, what they could do to help than like pretty much anyone inside the Biden administration. And it was only when the Twitter noise became really, really just like unbearably wild doesn't, you know, they came out and made one kind of a statement. Right? So that was, I thought kind of testaments to, like more non-political organizations' greater ability to care about things that time you know, go beyond the kinds of countries that you and me and probably even most people listening to this are going to be based in. But then Balvi itself, you know, went all the way beyond the idea and supported, you know, stuff in Thailand, stuff in the US, stuff in the UK, a lot of stuff in Latin America, stuff in China, stuff in all kinds of countries. And I thought, you know, it was good that we did that. And it was only possible, I think, because of the international networks that we leveraged and international networks that were actually only available to me because I had made that decision on you know, nine and a half years ago to start roaming around and be a crypto Nomad instead of being based somewhere. So yeah, being international, I think those are really key.

Just being willing to trust people and process grants quickly. That was something that the EF definitely has done at various times and sometimes it takes longer, but it's I think, it's obviously not always the right approach for the long term, especially because if you do it too much, then eventually the Grifters kind of catch up And that's probably one of the main reasons to become more careful. But like, when your goal is scaling up quickly, and when your goal is helping a lot of people quickly, and especially when you start off being kind of not an established donor in a space it can be, it could be a good approach. So, yeah, those are some examples. And, you know, I'm hoping that those aren't just the models that we're going to be stuck with, you know, I hope that things like DeSci and, you know, reputation systems, and POAPs and all of these things are going to do an even better job at helping to solve the problem of, for example, who is trustworthy and what kind of people are worthy of more of a fast track process, right? And trying to, like, really get closer to the frontier between, like, accountability where it's necessary and, you know, giving people the freedom to do their job in places where that's obviously the right approach.

Vincent Weisser  32:01

Yeah, totally agree. Like it's kind of crazy that how much of the science and everything else like a centering around for example, SF or Boston, and like, how many cities and places kind of leaving out kind of shifting gears towards scientific progress? I would be curious, on your take on like, what is broadly holding back progress, maybe like in a scientific and technological sense, globally, but also kind of relates to add, like which scientific breakthroughs you're most excited about to see in your lifetime? And hopefully, your lifetime is fairly long, but that might be a breakthrough. That might extend the amount of braces you see in your lifetime. But we'd be super curious, especially also under the lens of like, Tyler Cowen and Peter Thiel and others and Patrick Collison saying we are in stagnation and that we'd like need to get back onto the track of growth and scientific progress. Be curious on your take.

Vitalik Buterin  32:00  

Yeah, I think there are a bunch of factors, probably the biggest is always just the fact that public goods are chronically underfunded because it's hard to create a business model for them. Right? Like, if you're just a small actor, and at a global scale, everyone is a small actor that you only get, at most, a few percent of the benefit, maybe even a fraction or percentage points of the benefit of anything that you fund, right? And that is just always the biggest problem. That's a problem that humanity has been stuck with, and that’s a problem that is going to be hard to get past. But you know, if we can get from, only funding things that have a 10,000:1 benefit-cost ratio, and then all the way down to, you know, funding everything that has more than, let's say, 100:1 benefit-cost ratio, that's already a huge amount of progress. Other things, I think, definitely, like exclusive in essence silos. The fact that there is a lot of knowledge that's sort of generated by particular academic communities, and it's stuck in particular academic communities and very smart people who would be able to contribute just don't have that knowledge be accessible to them, because we've invented a path that basically says that you only get the required background knowledge by you know age 24, if and only if you're wealthy and privileged enough to like go through a particular university path. And the reality is if you enable people, there are lots of people who would make huge contributions when they're 15. Right. So trying to create paths that are accessible to more people and, you know, across wealth levels, across age levels across, you know, kind of regional and national levels, I think, its something that's going to be really valuable. ideology is also, I think, another one, right, like, there is the whole line.

And I think Tyler Cowen is one of the people who has kind of, you know, reblogged things about this, that basically sometime after, you know, World War II, and then kind of going further over time, a lot of people became much more conservative in certain ways about the physical world, and there was this mentality that, you know, actually kind of keeping the world pristine is good, and like large-scale, intentional human change is, by default, a bad thing. And, you know, the physical world is something that we should not touch. And that, you know, like, we see that in a lot of, in a lot of different contexts. So like, they're like that probably, you know, massively reduced the the amount of research into nuclear power, for example, similar things are definitely, reducing the level of interest into longevity research, similar things are reducing the level of interest into just you know, all kinds of areas that were improving as human lives ultimately involve some, you know, changing either ourselves or the physical world. But the big irony is that the digital world ended up being completely exempt from that mentality. And so he basically had a couple of decades where a lot of the smartest people basically went into, you know, creating social networks, creating all kinds of these, like Internet tools and creating all kinds of just ways for people to play, in some cases, increasingly negative of some internet games with each other. And lately, we've been seeing a backlash against that, which is interesting, right?

Like, we've been seeing a lot more interest in solar power, a lot more interested in nuclear power, a lot more interest in nuclear fusion, a lot more of just kind of like, human positivity and even, you know, positivity available large scale human intentional action, right. This is one of the things one of the ideas that I feel Palladium does a good job of promoting, for example, also the rise of the developing world, right, because the developing world, I think, never really went through the same phase of like getting a little bit disillusioned with everything that these you know, the rich country West did. And, you know, we've been seeing a lot of Indians, for example, getting into science with some very different perspectives. And also like the crypto space by itself, one way that I think you can critique the crypto space is you can say that, oh, actually, it's just part of the exact same phenomenon of people in the 2000s and in the 2010s. Like just forgetting about the physical world and thinking that they can do everything they want by just, you know, creating new tools for people to interact with each other digitally.

I think one of the interesting things about like network states, for example, is that its an instance of people in a lot of cases definitely kind of like crypto ideological ill lineage, but like rediscovering the fact that the physical world is important. And aside from network states, probably another example is the radical exchange movements, which have definitely different ideological beds, but I think it's also about physical spaces to some extent, in the same way. And there's a lot of crypto adoption going on, like crypto-inspired people going in that direction, too. Right. So, I think, you know, just having an ideology that's, you know, positive about the collective human ability to improve our understanding about the world and, you know, even have an impact on the world, and on physical space, and, like, an understanding of what it means to like this, you know, do the right thing and not do the wrong thing in those in those areas without just like falling back on saying, like, you know, let's set you know, let's not go here entirely, is one of the things that I think is like changing and slowly coming back and they just going also bring more people into science in the future.

Vincent Weisser  38:33

Being curious on this century broadly, people like Holden Karnofsky called it potentially the most important century for many reasons, including, of course, existential risks, AI progress, and broader technological and scientific progress. What's your view on how you could imagine the century to play out, especially in regards to, for example, AI progress, the singularity, or specific existential risks from AI to others? Kind of like, top of your mind for you for this century?

Vitalik Buterin  39:08

It's a good question.

Vincent Weisser  39:10 

It's kind of like a vision or forecast. 

Vitalik Buterin  39:12

The interesting thing is that there's a lot of curveballs this century, right? So, like, I mean, 2020 to 2022 have been this, like, crazy, long, three-year period of, you know, curveballs and some, a lot of negative curveballs and some curveballs that are, you know, either positive or negative, depending on your views on AI risk. But definitely be lots of curveballs, either way. And over the next century, there's just all these different potential curveballs that we just don't know yet. right? So one of them is what the AI future is going to look like.

Like, basically, are we in more of a kind of film world where it's just inevitable that some broad AI project, once it gets powerful enough, is just going to self-improve until it can basically control the world? And it's up to us to make sure that it controls the world in a way that's agreeable to us, despite us being very, very far away from being good at being able to put concrete goals of any kind into AIs at this point, or are we in more of a Robin Hanson world where there's no single AI that's might have particularly far ahead of all the other AIs. And so we're going to see a politically multipolar world, going into the foreseeable future. And then, like, there isn't really an existential risk, but there is just like this ongoing battle of offense versus defense technology, and our job is to try to make sure that no offense doesn't overtake defense by too much. Or, you know, also are we in a world where, you know, the current LLM approach is basically you know, that plus scale literally is all we need or are we in a world where, look, we're already starting with what GPT4 is going to be close to the last major piece of progress that we get from LLMs. Otherwise, LLMs are exhausted, and we need some really significant, more innovations. Another curveball is geopolitics. Right. So, you know, obviously, last year has seen a really unfortunate, you know, negative curveball in relations between Europe and Russia and the next two decades, or we could easily see a very negative curveball and relations between the US and China, we could see a very negative curveball in relations between India and China. Or nuclear proliferation. That's another one. Like, you know, this is something no one's expecting, but you know, what, if, like, just any one of these countries that has a big grudge against the United States just like decides to go into, you know, sell nukes with full plans for how to build more of them for, you know, 10 million bucks a pop to a bunch of randos. And we're up to having 30 nuclear states within two decades. And, you know, some of them start declaring a nuclear war against each other, like, Bio is another curveball right?

So we get, oh, we have one big COVID, which, I guess right now, the smart people are still like confused and like, what it's still 50/50, about whether it was like a wet market or a yellow lab leak. And but you know, blood leaks do happen all the time. And it's, you know, we could see more of them as we see more labs. And you know, we could see more intentional ones at some point, right? There's just that. But then on the other hand, you know, what if, like, it turns out that longevity does get solved, like, literally 20 years from now? And so, you know, what's that going to do? Like, what's that going to do to Peter Zeihan's, you know, demographic projections, right? It's like, everyone has these numbers that say, like, oh, in 2100, India is going to have a population of 1.4 billion China is going to be 0.7 Billion US is going to be 0.4 5 billion Africa is going to be like, somewhere around four. But look, what if we fix aging? Right? And you know, what, if all those numbers are off by a factor of two, you know, what if there is a radical cultural change there causes people to have like, much more much fewer children? You know, what if there is that the combination of you know, having a richer society and having like one tier or more of automation suddenly makes it more practical for every family to have five kids each? There are just so many different curveballs that could happen.

What if, you know, we do discover evidence of alien life, even if it is bacteria, right? And that just creates a big philosophical awakening and people, there are just so many of these big unknowns. And you know, a lot of the ones that I've mentioned are negative, but no, I think we could easily see a lot of positive unknowns as well, I'm, yeah, it's definitely going to be a really big century, and it's definitely going to be a really important one. I think I mean obviously the 21st century is more important than any century that came before. But the question is, like, is this 22nd century going to be even more important? Like, is that you know, is this the final boss of humanity? Or are we really at step n minus 2? Or do we really have the model wrong, and we're gonna see it, you know, extremely radical change that like, looks very radical, even from the inside keeping you going forward for millennia? I don't know yet.

Vincent Weisser  44:36 

Maybe, to close off to kind of like also the audience of builders in decentralized science. You mentioned some of the ideas you'd be excited about. What are maybe some other ideas you haven't mentioned yet that, like the DeSci London hackathon, you would be excited for people to see built?

Vitalik Buterin  44:54

Things they’ll be excited to see built. Yeah, I think one would definitely be some kind of like, you know, whether it's attestation-based or soulbound token-based or POAP-based or something, some kind of solution for trying to like assign credit and assign credit recursively for things, possibly an implementation of retroactive public goods funding, tries to incorporate those kinds of ideas, possibly, what else simply build the education side would be interesting, right? So like trying to whether proactively or retroactively public funds, education, in different kinds of, you know, scientific disciplines, and the different ways that I've tried to evaluate like, Which ones of those are actually effective? prediction markets, actually, this is one we didn't talk about at all right? Well, this is—I know, Robin Hanson is really into this. And this is one of his big primary ideas, but there's just such a natural tie-in between decentralized science and prediction markets, right? And basically using them as a way of, like, trying to predict what paths in scientific research are more likely to be valuable retroactive public goods funding to some extent, it'd be like saying that kind of applies to prediction markets, right? Because the whole idea is that you know, you're gonna have investors that try to get participate in these retroactive rewards and that's how this stuff gets funded but like prediction markets more generally and their applications to science is another interesting area and with layer twos and Poly markets and prediction markets are getting more and more viable and more and more adoption so expanding number definitely be really interesting. So yeah, those are a few examples; otherwise, I'm sure people can come up with a lot of their own too.

Vincent Weisser  46:48

Amazing yeah, I'll collect all the older show notes and things like the DeSoc paper and other things we've discussed. Maybe it's like the very last but is there a specific book, blog post or podcast you would recommend to people specifically in the context of science you enjoyed reasonably

Vitalik Buterin  47:08

That's a good question. I mean, you know, 80,000 hours is always good. I feel like there are lots of very interesting and very smart people talking about all of the different areas that we brought up today. I don't know; I feel like we need to. It would be interesting to just have a podcast focusing on decentralized science, particularly at this point, and like, does something like that exist yet? Maybe you should start one?

Vincent Weisser  47:37 

This will also go up on the DeSci podcast. So we also have a long conversation with a bunch of different people. I'll share the link in the show notes. But we have a bunch of other awesome conversations coming up, and all the talks and workshops from the DeSci conferences are already up. Find it in the comments. And on the view of the talks, I really enjoyed the intersection of DeSci and DeSoc, so I think that's a good related one, but thank you so much, Vitalik, for taking the time, and yeah, I wish you a great day.

Vitalik Buterin  48:09

Have a good day too.

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