The Nature science journal recently published an editorial in its Nature biotechnology section lauding decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) as a revolutionary new method by which researchers working in underfunded scientific fields can create communities around their work and raise funding that, otherwise, might not be available.
In a DAO-based research scheme, a project’s organization, fundraising, feedback, and pipeline from discovery to product/industry can all be handled by the same decentralized governing body.
Per the Nature article, the general workflow would also be streamlined compared to the status quo:
“Project proposals are sent to the DAO, and each DAO member is able to vote on whether a particular project should be funded. Members have tokens … to provide support and feedback to new project proposals. Research results are also provided to the DAO as projects continue, leading to further feedback and engagement. Eventually, the project will (hopefully) end up in an IP-NFT (intellectual property non-fungible token) — something like a patent, which is owned by the DAO and governed by all token holders.”
Funding can vary wildly from one scientific endeavor to another. During boom and bust periods, research into areas such as AI and quantum computing might receive huge boons from big tech, government, and follow-on investors while sectors which may have been well-funded previously, such as longevity, or those that have been traditionally underfunded, women’s health issues for example, may find funding increasingly difficult to secure.
DAOs are built on blockchain technology. This allows them to function on a digital ledger that is transparent and decentralized – meaning it isn’t controlled by a single entity or institution. In the science world, this means that project funding and community interaction can be democratized.
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