An insider account of the DeSci origins story — a new movement of citizen scientists, open-access scientific research and crowd-sourced peer-review funded by crypto that’s gathering pace in 2022.
At ETHDenver in February, decentralized science became a thing.
It was like the good old days of crypto: Like-minded spirits met and then crashed at each other’s rented places. Ideologies and open research were respectfully debated. DeSci panels were well attended with renewed energy for figuring out hard problems. Heated discussions were had. Many committed themselves to decentralized science, whatever that would mean. DeSci is, of course, very new and untested.
This could well be the first insider account of the DeSci origin story. Think Peter Parker citizen scientists funded by crypto.
Research is hard and problematically peer-reviewed. Commercializing science and tech is complex and often not profitable. Intellectual property protection is time-consuming. So, scientific research isn’t rife with speculators, rent-seekers and low-hanging fruit like other parts of Cryptoland.
The newly coined DeSci is about championing true decentralization, rejecting institutional influence (read big pharma, and the peer review system) and encouraging citizen science in pursuit of truth.
COVID-19 has spurred its development. The speed at which multiple COVID-19 vaccines and endless studies were delivered was a pivotal moment. If COVID-19 research could be produced that quickly, why couldn’t decentralized movements do it too?
Could crypto, tokenomics and decentralized autonomous organizations play a role in new models of research and commercialization?
This is a story of a band of committed activists who want to make that happen, one of whom is Erik Van Winkle who grew up wanting to be a scientist, had a core role at ConstitutionDAO, and has now found his sweet spot as a community organizer for DeSci Labs — a project working on new technologies to improve the accessibility, reliability, transparency,…