A company is using nonfungible tokens to help consumers establish ownership and control over their DNA data.
GenoBank.io’s approach comes as the world’s scientific community begins to scratch the surface of what can be achieved through DNA sequencing — understanding our ancestry, detecting and treating breast cancer earlier, and prescribing personalized medicine.
Although consumer-focused DNA testing products have exploded in popularity over recent years, concerns about privacy have grown with it. In direct response to that, millions of Americans who have received DNA data from major providers like 23andMe or Ancestry will be able to use a GenoBank.io algorithm to locate their unique DNA variants inside de-identified DNA databases and exercise their right to be erased or forgotten based on local privacy laws such as the California Consumer Privacy Act and the European GDPR.
Through its approach, GenoBank.io also plans to enable consumers to buy anonymous DNA extraction kits in public places such as drug stores and airports — giving them the ability to create their own incognito DNA data wallet. The biosample will be stored in a certified lab (if consented by the donor) and used to create a bio-nonfungible token — effectively a tokenized DNA fingerprint.
How the ecosystem works
GenoBank.io says it is devising a safe, anonymous digital platform where genomic and sensitive health care data can be stored with confidence. Known as the Incrypto™️ vault, the company says this storage method is aligned with data regulations in the European Union and California’s new consumer privacy law (the CCPA), virtually unhackable, encrypted, decentralized and ready to integrate with the Internet of Life Sensors.
Users have the opportunity to earn stablecoins by renting their DNA sequence for research purposes through GenoBank.io. Access to confidential information is only granted to data scientists and bioinformaticians with the explicit consent of the person who owns the DNA. Big pharmaceutical companies and labs will be given the chance to purchase a “data license” directly from consumers for temporary commercial use, meaning DNA donors never lose ownership. For the first time ever, consumers can be compensated for contributing to genomic discoveries using a DNA data wallet, the team notes.
Many companies that offer DNA sequencing to consumers charge for results — and then keep the rights to sell their DNA to others for up to 100 years. Whenever new advancements are made, consumers have to pay for sequencing to take place again.
This is at odds with the expectations of many consumers. GenoBank.io cites PeopleSeq research that suggests 56% of the public believe they have a right to access their own genomic information without relying on a health care provider.
The story behind GenoBank.io
Daniel Uribe, the CEO and co-founder of GenoBank.io, was driven to launch the business after his son was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder three years ago.
He said: “As a parent and Blockchain expert, I want to empower every person who wants or needs genomic interpretation services, especially families with children that may have a pathological genetic disorder and are looking for relevant clinical trials or accredited researchers with privacy.”
Other innovations being explored by GenoBank.io include shared family DNA extraction kits. Multi-sig capabilities are provided to authorize data access from minors by parents or guardians, and the kit can mathematically prove a biological relationship between family members. The company says this has multiple benefits — as well as helping to trace pathological mutation across a family, it could help accelerate the discovery of new drugs and even be used to prevent human trafficking and separation at borders.
GenoBank.io has now launched a research-only beta program, with the company stressing that DNA data will never be shared or sold without consent.
Later this month, Uribe is planning to speak at the NFT.NYC event. From here, the entrepreneur and his company are planning to start using nonfungible tokens for the redemption and registration of saliva DNA extraction kits.
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