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What can blockchain change in fundamental sciences?

Jun 4, 2018

Currently, Blockchain is responsible for changing the minds of many about various public institutions. In previous articles [DeCenter.Org] commented on blockchain affecting pop-culture, music industrygovernment apparatus. This article is devoted to examining blockchain's development affecting Science.

New Era of Science FUNDING

Contemporary fundamental research demands a lot of long-term persistent arduous work from scientists. Many of these research endeavors result in giving foundations for new goods and services. However even with the existence of successful financial strategies to support various research projects blockchain may completely change the way scientific community interfaces with the rest of humanity. Tokenisation of scientific assets belonging to academic institutions and R&D labs could be one of the ways to depart from the classic system of funding sciences.

Scientific assets require more long-term investment timeframe and significant initial investments which significantly limits a number of prospective investors. Even venture capitalists that frequently invest in high-risk illiquid assets tend to inhibit the funding for new academic projects.

Tokens are capable of solving this issue as they are registered and traded on decentralized stock exchanges that aren't tied with obligations with major investors. This makes it possible to reclassify risks as constant and therefore invite a wider net of investors.

On the other hand it is important to remember that the scientific crypto-investment market requires special rules and guidelines made to protect the investors and the research itself. If we can figure out how to do this as professionally as possible while keeping the thorough balance science may become an independent alternative class of assets.

Presently companies like Scienceroot and Pluto already are developing experimental scientific projects. Scienceroot is aiming to raise $20 million USD to help finance the work of reviewers and authors on its platform. The project is going to trade scientific tokens with Ethereum.

Nonetheless according to a number of experts, scientists and entrepreneurs might be attracted to the idea of using this technology just to make their projects stand out and be "magical and vibrant". As proof of these concerns consulting firm Deloitte pointed at 24 000 unfinished and mostly financial blockchain projects on the software code development and hosting platform GitHub in 2016. According to Martin Hamilton, London-based Jisc resident futurist, who supports digital services in education in the UK, Science investing is still going to stay very risky, though if you are prepared for that the payout can be enormous.

Medical research

According to Claudia Pagliari, senior lecturer in Primary Care and Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, blockchain has huge potential in science development however researchers are yet to properly look into ethical issues related to new technology. "What happens if a patient withdraws consent for a trial that is immutably recorded on a blockchain? And unscrupulous researchers could still add fake data to a blockchain, even if the process is so open that everyone can see who adds it", says Pagliari. "Once added, no-one can change that information, although it's possible they could label it as retracted."

Pagliari believes researches implementing blockchain in their research begin to treat their projects with much more consideration. Many of her colleagues note that despite lots of attention around this new technology it is important to approach blockchain implementation with discipline, as thoughtless usage of this technology might collapse whole systems.

Read the full article at DeCenter.org (Russian): https://decenter.org/blockchai...

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