We’re a company founded by bioethicist/attorney David Koepsell and pharmacogenomic scientist Vanessa Gonzalez to solve two problems at once: a) scientists need lots of genomic data, and b) people who are buying genetic testing from consumer testing companies don’t share their profits from selling data.
Founded in 2017, the company first demonstrated its prototype in May 2017 at the Bio-IT World conference in Boston. With angel investment and a limited token sale of its $DNA utility coin in June 2017, the product was finalized and launched, as announced in The Scientist magazine, November 6, 2018 as the world’s first blockchain-mediated free market for genetic data.
Since then, its community of supporters and users has grown virally, and various partnerships and platform developments have poised the company for consumer growth. It remains the only free market for genomic data powered by blockchain, and is committed to democratizing and decentralizing science (De-Sci), allowing individuals to make choices and benefit monetarily through their contributions to research. To find out how we’re doing, take a look at our blog.
In the media
Philosopher David Koepsell has been pushing the frontiers of ownership and protection of genomic data for nearly a decade. In 2009, his book Who Owns You foreshadowed the lawsuit, a couple months later, by the ACLU and other parties against Myriad Corporation based on its patents on the BRCA genes. Those patents would have allowed Myriad to effectively monopolize the testing market for breast and ovarian cancer.
Recently, Koepsell and his long-time collaborator and partner, Dr. Vanessa Gonzalez—having together authored many publications about genomic data and privacy—started a software company to solve the problem. It’s unusual for academics, especially a philosopher, to stray this far outside their comfort-zones, but they have a plan to build a technical solution based on blockchain technology.
—Patrick Lin, Forbes
Firms like EncrypGen[..] are using blockchain – the technology behind Bitcoin – to secure sensitive DNA records and create a transaction ledger. The new players all have slightly different models, with most simply providing data platforms, where people are rewarded for providing data.
—Ben Hirschler, Reuters
We think people should be free to participate in transparent, paid research.
De-identified data should be widely available on distributed networks, not monopolized by a few companies.
People should be in charge of and profit themselves by the sales of their own data, rather than allow testing companies to hoard it and sell it for their own profit.