Earlier this year, a lot of use cases were discovered for blockchain technology. Many started using the technology to track sushi-grade tuna from Fiji to Brooklyn, battle deepfakes, and even cast proxy votes. More use cases are being discovered and people are now doing mind-blowing things with the technology.
Nebula Genomics – a DNA startup – has just discovered another great use for blockchain technology. The firm has figured out how to put all six billion bits of the human genetic source code on the blockchain. Nebula Genomics wants to set up a blockchain-based genetic marketplace and offer whole-genome sequencing for free.
However, nothing is entirely free. But if you are willing to refer your friends and provide some health information, you will earn some Nebula tokens which you can use to pay for a lo-fi sequence. If you are not willing to provide some health information or your family’s heart disease history, the sequence would cost you $99.
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The firm offers this with the promises of anonymity, transparency, and security at the core of the immutable ledger of the blockchain. Once a user has his/her genome sequenced, they can monetize (in tokens) the access to their data. Tokens gotten by users can be redeemed for more products and tests that’ll further interpret their DNA.
Users also have the right to control access to their data as well as who can access it. Anyone given access to the de-identified DNA of an individual can only analyze the data on the computers of Nebula. The raw data is also kept away from buyers, as they are only provided with the final result. DNA owners are the only persons allowed to pull off DNA data from the platform.
The Goal of Nebula
According to Dennis Grishin, the goal of Nebula is to create a platform for users to know more about their DNA and to share it with scientists as well. Users can do this cheaply while protecting themselves from privacy breaches. Dennis Grishin is the chief scientific officer and co-founder of Nebula.
The DNA testing space has been encountering a circular issue for a very long time now. The tests are very expensive, as it costs about $1k to run a whole genome sequence. It also has a high level of privacy concerns, and this has reduced its adoption over the years.
In addition, only about two out of 100 persons that get sequenced will provide information that could help them stave off or treat potential health risks. This is the reason why the U.S government is spending $4 billion to study and sequence one million people all over the U.S. Now, Nebula wants to follow the trend of the U.S government with its freemium strategy.
Using blockchain technology to achieve this goal is a fascinating, great idea, and Nebula is not alone in this. Over the past years, about 150 firms developing biomedical blockchain apps have raised over half a billion dollars in the private and digital currency markets. This is one of the most amazing use cases of blockchain technology so far. The firm has a lot to offer, and they are still in the process.