Decentralised science also known as DeSci refers to a niche movement to disrupt the way the scientific research is conducted. By combining the collective intelligence of researchers around the world with the power of blockchain and decentralised science we reach the potential to revolutionise the scientific research landscape.
However, this intersection also poses several risks, including a lack of standardization and regulation, data privacy and security, and technical limitations. In this article, we explore the opportunities and risks associated with decentralised science and blockchain technology and discuss possible solutions to the challenges we face.
Accelerated Scientific Discoveries
Decentralised science has the potential to accelerate scientific discoveries in various fields by allowing the collective intelligence of researchers to focus on their expertise while connecting different parities to the ecosystem that allows this to happen. Within the DeSci space a number of projects are creating a baseline to enable continuous funding allowing a flow of cash to the researchers in specific scientific areas. This synergy between enabling researchers, securing the funding, allowing collective voting and discussions creates a space for innovation and continuous growth.
Democratisation of Scientific Research
Decentralised science has the potential to democratize scientific research by making it more accessible to people around the world. Decentralised science can facilitate collaboration between scientists across the globe, thus enabling them to share knowledge and resources. Decentralised science can help eliminate barriers to entry for scientists in developing countries, who may not have access to the same resources as their counterparts in developed countries.
Increased Transparency and Accountability
Decentralised science can help increase transparency and accountability in scientific research. Decentralised science can enable scientists to share their research findings with a wider audience, thus increasing transparency. Enabling scientists to collaborate in a transparent and open manner, thus reducing the likelihood of scientific misconduct.
Lack of Standardization and Regulation
Decentralised science may face challenges related to lack of standardization and regulation which can make it difficult to compare results across different studies. It can also be a case where a lack oversight and regulation, may lead to the spread of inaccurate or misleading information. This is a prominent issue within the concept of complete decentralisation and it’s an issue that carries over across the blockchain technology itself.
Data Privacy and Security
Decentralised science may involve the sharing of sensitive data, which can be vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Along with the misuse of blockchain technology, which can be difficult to secure and can result in data breaches if not implemented properly. The topic of data privacy is one of the main topics within the DeSci space and a lot of projects are looking to find ways to protect data within a decentralised model using zero-knowledge proof and other methods.
Challenges in Decentralised Science
Decentralised science is a relatively new field that is still facing several challenges. However, consist improvements to the space is happening with all the new projects that are joining and adding value to DeSci. With more and more projects coming in, we are seeing a lot of innovative ideas and thought leaders that are promoting the space, this benefits everyone in DeSci and helps spread awareness about the initiatives in different areas.
This being said, there are plenty of challenges that are still plaguing the DeSci space, here are some examples along with potential solutions to resolve them.
Intellectual Property (IP) Rights
Challenge: In a decentralised research project, it can be difficult to determine who owns the IP rights to the research findings. This can create legal and financial complications, particularly if the research findings are potentially valuable.
Solution: It is important to establish clear guidelines for IP ownership in decentralised research projects. This can help ensure that researchers are fairly compensated for their contributions to the project. Additionally, blockchain technology can be used to create smart contracts that automatically distribute IP rights based on predefined rules.
Challenge: While decentralised science has the potential to accelerate scientific discoveries, it can also create silos of information if researchers are not collaborating effectively. Collaboration is essential for advancing scientific research, and it can be difficult to achieve in a decentralised environment.
Solution: To foster collaboration between researchers in a decentralised environment, it is important to create incentives for collaboration. This can be done by rewarding researchers for sharing their data and findings with others. Additionally, decentralised networks can be used to facilitate collaboration between researchers across the globe, enabling them to share knowledge and resources more effectively.
Decentralised Autonomous Organizations (DAOs)
A Decentralised Autonomous Organization (DAO) is an organization that is run through rules encoded as computer programs called smart contracts. DAOs are decentralised, meaning that they are not controlled by any central authority or individual. Instead, they are governed by their members, who can vote on proposals and make decisions collectively.
DAO governance structures have become increasingly popular in the Web3 space, as they enable decentralised decision-making and funding. They are often used to fund and support projects in areas such as decentralised finance (DeFi), social impact, and of course decentralised science (DeSci) to help with funding research and scientific advancements.
DAOs can be thought of as a new form of organization that is native to the blockchain. They are designed to be transparent, open, and democratic, with decision-making power distributed among their members. This makes them a powerful tool for promoting decentralization and democratization in various industries.
Benefits of DAOs
• One of the key benefits of using a DAO is that it enables members to make decisions collectively, without the need for a central authority. This can help eliminate the need for traditional funding mechanisms, as well as reduce the potential for corruption or bias.
• Another benefit of using a DAO is that it enables stakeholders to track the progress of projects and verify the results of experiments. This can help increase transparency and accountability in research, as well as enable stakeholders to make more informed decisions about which projects to support.
DAOs are taking on different forms when it comes to the Web3 space, especially DeSci projects that are looking to use this governance model to enable transparency which is one of the major challenges in the traditional science related funding.
Examples of Decentralised Autonomous Organization (DAO) Projects in DeSci
VitaDAO: A DAO focused on using decentralised finance (DeFi) and DAO technology to fund and support longevity research. Members of the DAO can contribute funds and vote on which research projects to support.
Molecule DAO: A DAO focused on using blockchain technology to facilitate the discovery and development of new drugs. Members of the DAO can contribute funds and vote on which drug discovery projects to support.
Cerebrum DAO: A DAO focused on funding scientific research based around brain health and longevity with the focus on finding a cure for serious diseases like Alzhiemer’s disease.
Hair DAO: A DAO focused on resolving issues related to hair loss by funding scientific research on this topic and enabling a community driven decision making to utilise the funds in promoting awareness about hair loss.
Athena DAO: A DAO focused on creating a space for women to flourish in the scientific industry by empowering women and giving them all the tools required to grow and promote themselves.
How does these projects benefit from having a DAO governance in DeSci
• Decentralisation of decision-making and funding can help accelerate research by eliminating the need for traditional funding mechanisms.
• The use of blockchain technology can help increase transparency and accountability in research by enabling stakeholders to track the progress of research projects and verify the results of experiments.
• Decentralised networks can help facilitate collaboration between researchers around the world, thus enabling them to share knowledge and resources more effectively.
• The use of blockchain technology can help increase transparency and accountability in projects by enabling stakeholders to track the impact of their contributions and verify the results of projects.
These DAO projects represent just a few examples of the many innovative projects emerging in the field of decentralised science. By leveraging the power of DAO technology and blockchain, these projects are able to accelerate research, increase transparency and accountability, and democratize access to scientific research.
Podcasts about Decentralised Science
There are plenty of DeSci projects and communities to interact and learn from, however, if you’re interested in learning more about decentralised science in detail, there are several podcasts you can listen to. Here are some of the top podcasts in the field:
DeSci Collective Podcast is an initiative by 21 Impact Labs, this podcast is focused on exploring topics related to decentralised science. The podcast covers a range of topics, including blockchain technology, open science, IP issues, and more. Each episode features interviews with experts in the field, who share their insights and perspectives on the latest developments in decentralised science.
The DeSci Podcast is an initiative by Molecule DAO that is aimed to bring together thought leaders and highlight important topics related to DeSci. The podcast covers topics related to challenges and issues in different scientific fields and how to potentially resolve them using decentralised science.
Epicenter Podcast is not necessarily focused only on DeSci, however, they focus on important topics in the crypto and blockchain space including DeSci topics by interviewing thought leaders and active members of the community.
These are just a few examples of the many podcasts available for those interested in learning more about decentralised science. By listening to these podcasts, you can stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the field and gain insights into the challenges and opportunities facing decentralised science.
DeSci Events and Community
The DeSci community is growing rapidly, with new projects and initiatives emerging all the time. One of the best ways to get involved in this community is by attending DeSci events. These events provide an opportunity to meet other members of the community, learn about new developments in the field, and share your own work and ideas. Some of the top DeSci events include:
DeSciCon is an annual conference focused on decentralised science. The conference brings together researchers, scientists, and developers from around the world to discuss the latest trends and developments in the field. It features keynote speeches, panel discussions, and interactive workshops.
DeSci Summit is a bi-annual event that brings together researchers, developers, and policymakers to explore the intersection of decentralised science and emerging technologies. The summit features keynote speeches, panel discussions, and networking opportunities.
DeSci Meetups are informal gatherings of DeSci enthusiasts. These meetups provide an opportunity to connect with other members of the community, share your work, and learn about new developments in the field.
While the potential benefits of DeSci are significant, it is important to be aware of the potential risks and take steps to mitigate them. Standardization, regulation, and data privacy and security should be key considerations. By addressing the challenges facing decentralised science, we can unlock the full potential to accelerate scientific discoveries, democratize access to scientific research, and increase transparency and accountability. Overall, the DeSci community is a vibrant and growing community that is pushing the boundaries of scientific research. By actively listening onto DeSci Podcasts, attending DeSci events and participating in online communities, you can play an active role in this exciting field and contribute to the development of decentralised science.
At what.digital we are directly involved in the DeSci space through 21 Impact Labs (which includes DeSci Collective and Cerebrum DAO) assisting the project to curate an active community of researchers, investors, VCs, and influencers, community manage on different social media platforms including Twitter and Discord, along with hosting and sponsoring DeSci Collective Podcast to interview leaders in the DeSci space and promote awareness to everyone. Our learnings from the space has been quite fruitful and we have seen a number of DeSci projects grow exponentially as more funding and awareness reaches the space. Our role at what. is to promote awareness and continuous growth to the space as we believe that this will be beneficial to everyone, DeSci is an important disruption and innovation that will have significant impact on generations to come through scientific advancements in different sectors.