Listen: The Future of Decentralized Science

Listen: The Future of Decentralized Science

Just last week, a medical research team discovered that blockchains were useful for sharing AI models used to detect cancer. In a Twitter Space, we spoke with three leaders working in decentralized science to help break down future innovation in the field. 

Edited excerpts: 

On creating the ‘Reddit for science’

Patrick Joyce, Co-Founder, ResearchHub

After getting into the clinic, it was astounding to me how a lot of the frontline medications for conditions like anxiety, depression, PTSD, they're 50 years old and they don't really work that well. You look around in the tech industry and computer science, imagine if you were building an app with a language that was 50 years old. people would just laugh you out of the room. Seeing this broken infrastructure for funding and publishing science that results in this really slow progress of creating new clinical applications of knowledge,  decided to take a year off from school and try to build a project that aimed to fix it. 

I'm a huge Reddit nerd. There are certain subreddits that are just like small communities of experts who are willing to share for free, just because they have fun with it and it's good for the world. And so I thought, why can't academia be a little more like Reddit? So I raised a little bit of money, built an MVP where the idea was a Reddit forum for science with a token incentive where you could essentially financially compensate users for partaking in like specific healthy research behaviors. You can tweak the rewards to whatever you want to incentivize when it comes to the behavior of scientists. 


Erin Magennis, Community Manager, Molecule and bio@xyz 

We're building an infrastructure stack to disrupt what is happening in the pharmaceutical industry and this entire system as a whole. There are a lot of misaligned incentives across this entire ecosystem and that starts at some of those beginning stages of when research starts to get funded. At Molecule, we've built out something called an IP NFT in which intellectual property such as what is developed in these research labs is brought on to chain and wrapped in that NFT type of layer. And all of the different benefits that we're able to see across Web3 and blockchain is being able to be applied into this scientific research and eventually the medical domain… Part of that also ties into the whole conversation about knowledge sharing, and having a whole interconnected ecosystem really allows for the knowledge that is developed in one down to them be shared with another and then uplift this entire space beyond just one super specific, let's say molecular pathway, and the whole space is able to rise up from that.

On why we hear about DeFi, but not DeSci

Patrick Joyce, Co-Founder, ResearchHub

There's a lack of regulatory clarity when it comes to Web3 that prevents a lot of projects from getting off the ground. You basically have to have $150,000 to spend on lawyers in order to launch a token. And when you have that requirement, it significantly reduces the number of people who are able to create Web3 projects and so I think there's been a lot of dragging of feet from regulators in the U.S. that has hindered the development of Web3 projects.I also think that a lot of times when people talk about tech companies, they talk about a ten year overnight-success story. So I think when you talk about the founding companies, you have to be willing to dedicate the next decade or two of your life to it. 

On changing behavior incentives in science

Cat Thu Nguyen-Huu, Core, VitaDAO

Tokens are a really cool new mechanism to incentivize things and in some sense what most regulators are having their eyes on like how to regulate tokens. But we are also experimenting with a lot of other crypto primitives too. One thing that we're doing for example is planning a project where we impact certificates for the longevity price. So we have some potential funders to fund impact certificates on the problem of drug repurposing. The goal is you would have some money set aside for people who are able to satisfy some requirements of impact. Like in our case, people who can perform a clinical trial and provide data around the question of efficacy of rapamycin as a longevity drug. That's also a new mechanism. It just doesn't involve tokens.

For more tips and insights, listen to the full conversation with Patrick, Cat  and Erin here

This is not financial advice. If you don't want to spend money investing in crypto or Web3 — you don’t have to. The intent of this article is to help others educate themselves and learn.

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