Fancy your DNA being on the blockchain? Technology startup Nebula Genomics is offering customers a new deal that includes free genome sequencing for its new blockchain-based genetic marketplace.

How Does It All Work?

The process seems relatively simple. Customers interested in taking part provide the company with some health-based information to get the process started. They then refer their friends, and for any amigo that joins up, the referrer garners Nebula tokens, which they can use to pay for a lo-fi sequence. This is a basic examination of one’s DNA. Not all the information can be gathered in one sitting, but this will set things in motion. The more tokens one earns, the stronger their DNA reading can be.

This information is subsequently shared with pharmaceutical companies. Granted they find your data interesting, they may ask to study your DNA further. Upon earning your permission, they will cover your DNA up to 30 times more. The information is then stored on the Nebula blockchain, which executives say offers the highest levels of security, anonymity, and transparency.

Fancy your DNA being on the blockchain?

Time to Make Some Moolah

Granted anyone wishes to access your information on the blockchain, they must pay a fee. This fee goes to the person who submitted the DNA, which they can then use to pay for further tests and products that better interpret their genetic codes.

Once the fee is paid, the person accessing the information can only see the results of researchers’ tests, not the raw data itself. In addition, they may only access the results using Nebula’s computers to lessen opportunities to tamper with data.

Granted a person doesn’t wish to provide their health information or is looking to keep certain facts about their health history private, the basic sequencing package is now available for roughly $99.

Making Things More Efficient

Noah Zimmerman – the director of Nebula’s data center – explains that a serious genome sequence can cost upwards of $1,000 to process. Furthermore, coding is often slow and takes several weeks to complete. However, he claims the company’s recent partnerships with national pharmaceutical ventures have ultimately made the process much faster and cheaper for participants. He says:

What’s the closest thing you can come up with to a direct data marketplace? I can’t think of one. We’ve always required trusted third-party brokers to make these deals, and the value is accruing to individual participants… There is potential here for people who are contributing data to be rewarded proportionally to how valuable their data is.

Is this a project you would participate in? Why or why not? Post your comments below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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