EncrypGen wants to help people sell their genetic code for cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency fans have already given it $3 million.
If you’re broke with bodily fluids to spare, you can sell your blood plasma. You can pawn off your sex cells.
Or, if a new startup is successful, you will soon be able to spit in a cup, upload your genetic code to the blockchain, and sell it for cryptocurrency.
EncrypGen says it wants to build the Amazon of genetic material. The startup will let users put their DNA online, sell it to researchers or companies, and be paid in EncrypGen’s own cryptocurrency. It sounds like the premise of a sci-fi paperback. It’s also made EncrypGen millions in bitcoin, before the company has even launched its gene-selling product.
In 2009, Dr. David Koepsell authored a book on the troubling trend of private companies patenting parts of the human genome. Who Owns You? The Corporate Gold Rush to Patent Your Genes warned of a future in which companies held property rights over significant portions of the human genome, blocking medical advancements and personal freedoms.
Eight years later, he says he’s fighting back against that future with his company EncrypGen, which wants to “empower you to control who and what gets access to your data” by helping you sell that genetic data to researchers. The platform, slated to launch next week, is at the front of a pack of companies hoping to sell genetic information on the blockchain, science publication The Conversation previously reported.
EncrypGen users will be able to upload their genetic profile (which they can obtain through increasingly popular DNA-testing software like 23andMe) to the platform, and share a login key with their doctors. Or they can sell their genetic profile to their choice of researchers, pharmaceutical companies, or anyone who asks.
“If you choose, and you don’t have to, you can also make it available for searching by scientists,” Koepsell told The Daily Beast. People who opt into the search platform will answer questions about their background and health. Buyers will be able to purchase the data that shows up in the search “but it’s also decoupled from your individual data, so that even we don’t know who the individual is,” Koepsell said.
Source/More: Startup Wants to Sell Your DNA for Cryptocurrency