NFTs, Web3 and the metaverse are changing the way scientists do research

Scientists can use blockchain tools, such as smart contracts and tokens, to improve collaboration in scientific efforts between different stakeholders. This so-called decentralized science movement, or DeSci for short, combines blockchain and Web3 technologies to improve scientific research.

A primary goal of DeSci is wider participation and funding in addressing scientific challenges, as well as democratizing the peer-to-peer review process, which is dominated by a few journals in which it can be costly to publish, and fighting censorship. . DeSci can also create standards for research storage with the proof-of-existent technology. Where on financial blockchains such as Bitcoin transactions are verified by a network of miners, research could also be verified by participants in a blockchain network of scientists, etc.

Decentralization of science

Blockchain-based peer review ecosystems can be transparent and they can lend credibility to research contributed by even pseudonymous participants. For example, scientists may receive a commitment or “reward” for participating, encouraging a wider community to contribute.

Essentially, decentralized science enables the development of platforms that allow more people to work on a fundamental level with what Dr. Benjamin Bratton calls the “source code of matter”. Democratizing science through decentralized science would enable a new kind of interface layer for a modern scientific revolution. The way to do this is to decentralize access to scientific activities – in short, to give citizen scientists a role.

We saw this happening with computers, and we believe it could happen with science in general. At the beginning of the computer revolution, software was difficult to work with. Very few understood the sophisticated technologies, which over time became more intuitive and simpler – thanks to different levels of abstraction – and thereby enabled more people to become valuable contributors. Some of the technologies that have made this possible are Javascript and useful packages developed to make coding more efficient. At a lower level of abstraction, there is a technology like WordPress that allows people who don’t understand software or coding to set up their website.

Blockchain technology for science

Blockchain technology (tokens, NFTs, metaverses) has the potential to positively influence the platform economy in a way that democratizes access to scientific collaborations. When you think of platforms, you generally think of Uber or Airbnb, world-changing projects in their own right. But the economics of platforms is something that is a very new area of ​​research and is even advancing game theory as an academic discipline. This process started with Bitcoin (BTC) and since then has only been further developed by Ethereum (ETH) and the dozens, if not hundreds, of other blockchains.

Related: Which Blockchain Is The Most Decentralized? Experts answer:

Historically, web platforms and apps have tended to be centripetal in their value creation process; the more they are used, the more value the platform builder realizes. Blockchain allows for a more equitable arrangement where the more people participate in a particular platform and the more people add value to the platform, the more they get back from the platform.

Decentralized science (DeSci) differs from an IP platform or one in which the more it is used, the more the platform benefits and consolidates value. In DeSci’s case, the people who generate the value—the researchers, the scientists, citizen scientists, etc.—are given value according to the value of their contribution; that is, the more it is used by other researchers and scientists, etc., the more value they gain.

The impact this can have on basic research in science and mathematics and other matters could be hugely important. DeSci is creating new ways to contribute and collaborate that were not possible until blockchain technology came along. If you have knowledge or insight that is intrinsically valuable and as part of a larger project (you may not even know what that project is), someone else can use your contribution, and you can be recognized for it, and earn a remainder of that contribution to the future.

NFTs will play a huge role in the future of the metaverse, as NFTs allow scientific research to be transferred securely. Academia has already used NFTs. The University of California, Berkeley, for example, auctioned from an NFT linked to documents related to the world of Nobel Prize-winning cancer researcher James Allison for more than $50,000. The US Space Force, a branch of the US Armed Forces, began selling a range of NFTs featuring augmented-reality satellite images and space iconography. Biology pioneer George Church’s company, Nebula Genomics, plans to sell an NFT of Church’s genome. Church is a geneticist at Harvard University in Cambridge and helped launch the Human Genome Project. There are burgeoning use cases for NFTs in science, and there are sure to be more.

Related: Life’s Code: Blockchain and the Future of Genomics

Blockchain is a high resolution for detecting, indexing and calculating value. The potential is there, and now it’s up to DeSci organizations to prove their merits, scientific excellence, and overall effectiveness in improving the scientific process.

This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move carries risks, and readers should do their own research when making a decision.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Coin-Crypto.

Steve McCloskey is a first class Nanoengineering alumnus at the University of California, San Diego. Steve’s work focuses on emerging technologies applied to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). After graduating from UCSD, he founded Nanome Inc to build virtual reality solutions for scientists and engineers working at the nanoscale, especially protein engineering and small molecule development.

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