We think the Gene-Chain is revolutionary. Not just because it is blockchaining genomic data, which is pretty cool, but also because it creates an entirely new type of marketplace, with a new type of commodity, and its own currency for exchange. It does this to empower people. Scientists, researchers, and companies, of course, are empowered by the ability to make transactions for important and potentially useful data, but also individuals who, until now, have had limited control over their genomic data. The “price” for being on the Gene-Chain is adding value to it by divulging whatever genomic data you may wish to transact. For individuals, however, there is no cost. You will be able to upload you personal genomc data for safer-keeping, and to enable its use by your doctors or genetic counselors, for free. You can even get paid for its use, if some researcher contacts you through the Gene-Chain (assuming you haven’t set a filter that blocks all such contact), and thus finalize your consent process plus get paid for a study, as well as contribute to science.
The Gene-Chain also gives the very poorest people on it a means of entering the economy. Our genes are valuable, they contain personal, private data we may wish to keep to ourselves. But some are valuable to science and can be shared without revealing ourselves or sensitive data about ourselves. Comoditizing this information will give donors the ability to avoid the fate of people like Henrietta Lacks, and instead empower us all to take part in a new economy of genomic information, with the security and privacy that blockchain affords.