Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) have gained recognition from the renowned Nature science journal, which highlights their potential to revolutionize funding and community-building in underfunded scientific fields. Nature’s editorial in the biotechnology section extols DAOs as a game-changing approach for researchers to unite and secure funding that might otherwise remain elusive.
In a DAO-based research framework, a decentralized governing body oversees project organization, fundraising, feedback, and the entire research lifecycle from discovery to product or industry application. This innovative approach promises greater efficiency compared to traditional methods.
Project proposals are submitted to the DAO, where members exercise their voting power to decide on funding allocation. Each member possesses tokens, enabling them to provide input and support for new projects. Research outcomes are continually shared with the DAO, fostering ongoing engagement and feedback. Eventually, the project may be transformed into an IP-NFT (intellectual property non-fungible token), akin to a patent, owned and governed collectively by token holders.
Funding disparities in scientific research are well-documented. While fields like artificial intelligence and quantum computing enjoy substantial financial support, others, including women’s health and longevity research, often struggle to secure funding. DAOs, operating on blockchain technology, offer a transparent and decentralized platform, democratizing project funding and community involvement.
Traditional research funding typically favors scientists affiliated with prestigious institutions, major universities, government bodies, and large corporations. This perpetuates a “brain drain” as researchers migrate to wealthier regions for better opportunities.
The unique aspect of DAOs lies in their borderless nature, allowing them to prioritize the needs and aspirations of research scientists rather than adhering to the interests of sponsoring entities. However, DAO adoption requires increased awareness and education among potential members.
The Nature editorial team emphasizes that DAOs are more than just funding bodies; they are communities united by a shared commitment to advancing scientific causes. As these decentralized organizations gain traction, they hold promise as a vital platform for underfunded researchers striving to make groundbreaking contributions to science.