In 2021 we saw the major De-Fi boom triggered by the government stimulus checks and several other factors, many web3 deals and investments made the headlines showing the capital flow effect. In late 2021 we saw NFTs take over the market, then game studios entered the scene looking for ways to bring more utility. Soon enough the frenzy came to a stand still and then a crash followed in mid 2022.
All throughout this — there was one domain that silently worked its way to bring solid utility and is still holding strong in the bear market. This is the DeSci domaij which is attempting to leverage blockchain in ways that furthers the mission of distributed, “user-owned — xyz”.
Imagine this — you came across some people suffering from a disease that is not in mainstream media’s attention. It affects millions of people every year, while millions of dollars are spent on its cures and medicines by those affected. Pharma companies, for plenty of reasons, are not incentivized to fund the research to find a cure to this disease — but you’re driven, you want to find a solution to this while also wanting to be rewarded for your effort when you’re successful.
You come across a group of people who share a similar vision and you propose a plan to do collective funding for the research. Right at this point, the essence of decentralized communities (DAOs — Decentralized Autonomous Organization) and tokenization comes into the picture.
Taking the previous example forward — the same group of people form a DAO and share the word forward, several other anonymous people also step in to support the mission. The DAO formulates a plan, tokenins the whole research and governance — resources and researchers pour in, labs are leased in — months later a breakthrough drug was discovered that could help reduce the impact of the disease — the DAO files for a patent. Next, since there is a demand for the cure for the disease, pharma companies want to use the patented drug to mass produce it and thus need to license the same from the DAO. Money pours into the DAO’s treasury on every sale of this drug and the early token holders are rewarded in the proportion of their initial contributions.
This is what we call Decentralised Science or DeSci. DeSci is an excellent example of a positive sum game where everyone benefits from the end result and the whole process is made much more efficient with blockchains, compared to the traditional methods of research.
One such pioneer in this space is the Vita DAO. The DAO brings together a group of researchers and investors, with varied levels of insights and experience sharing the same vision — democratizing the access to therapeutics for human longevity. It’s a collective for community-governed and decentralized drug development. The Biopharma field has been excessively monopolised and therefore the R&D is more profit driven than to solve major problems. Adding to this, the current leaders of the BioPharma sphere control big portfolios of patents that give them the final say in managing the prices of the medicines in the markets. A decentralized approach is the need of the hour to distribute this right among more sensible people who are driven by numerous goals rather than just profits.
Traditional ways of funding have never been driven by the will to make the world a better place or to further human longevity in general — but rather they’re more inclined towards mass production of a more stable cure in the most cost effective manner. It works for the most but at the same time it also gives these pharma companies the upper hand in the industry and therefore assert their position of power upon other smaller competitors.
Historically, patents have always been bringing monopolistic powers to a handful of companies in selected industries, but DAOs are the solution to this—a collective of visionaries who are not solely there for money or power, but rather to make things better for everyone.
Vita DAO is non-hierarchical and allows entry to everyone who shares the same mindset. This collective breeds diversity and freedom of thoughts which helps iterate on different topics and proposals with ease and varied perspectives.
The Vita DAO can be seen as an ideal DAO, all movements of funds or voting related to small or big decisions are done via on chain voting and where $VITA holders practice their right in steering the DAO. The snapshots of all the proposals can be found here — https://snapshot.org/#/vote.vitadao.eth
A recent proposal — VDP-64 Vita NFT project — is aimed at creating a Nouns-style NFT project to fundraise donations for funding longevity research via VitaDAO. The proceeds would be only used to fund research which according to the snapshot is approx. 70% for this, and 30% towards micro-grant fellowship, prize etc. All the proceeds would be stored in a separate multisig nft.vitadao.eth.
Similarly several innovative and new proposals keep getting posted on the VitaDAO snapshot page. A good one among many are the Logetivity Fellowships, for eg this Snapshot aims at funding $10k for research fellowships, each ranging anywhere from $100 to $2000. The Vita Fellowships were initiated on Gitcoin Grants in which many prominent web3 figures contributed to the quadratic funding, including Vitalik, Stefan George and many others. Here’s the Vita DAO fellowship page — https://www.vitadao.com/fellowship
Vita DAO also does a monthly Longetivity Research Newsletters which is aimed at sharing research and findings to the subscribers. The november issue includes an interview with dr. Peter Fedichev, CEO of Gero, Longevity Literature Hot Picks, Longevity Job Board and clinical trial updates. You can read and subscribe to them here.
The DAO also makes use of its community and conducts paid on-demand peer review services: The Longevity Decentralized Review (TLDR) and Proof of Peer Review (PoP Review) for longevity research and general biomedical research.
Vita DAO is leading the way for other DeSci DAOs as well, some prominent names in the space include CRISPR DAO, Lab DAO, Athena DAO, genomes DAO, psy DAO, Bio DAO, Hair DAO and a few more. The DAO is consistent in its approach towards research and research funding, while also being creative in getting members’ participation in initiatives and in DAO proposals.
All the relevant links related to Vita DAO can be found here at one place— https://barracuda.io/vitadao
Snapshots — https://snapshot.org/#/vote.vitadao.eth
Website — https://www.vitadao.com/
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