Nebula Genomics is partnering with Grammy-nominated artist Akon’s non-fungible token (NFT) platform AkoinNFT and Oasis Labs to auction genomic NFT on June 10. The genome belongs to Harvard Medical School Professor George Church the high-profile geneticist and co-founder of Nebula Genomics.
A genome is an individual’s complete DNA sequence, made up of 3 billion base-pairs of nucleic acids. Much like NFTs, it is unique. Professor Church’s genome sequence is one of the first to have ever been completely sequenced.
The idea behind auctioning a genome as an NFT is to bring more transparency to the monetization of the genomic data industry. Historically, patients are left in the dark when it comes to knowing who has access to their health data. Blockchain technology is bringing a new standard to the industry that enables patients to manage their own data, or, at the least, know who has access to it. The auction of Professor Church’s genome aims to bring more attention to the matter and further promote ownership of personal data.
Nebula is already familiar with the use of blockchain for patient’s data privacy and control. The company’s platform uses Oasis Lab’s Parcel SDK and decentralized network to enable customers to store their genomic data off chain, with details about how it was shared tracked with blockchain. Oasis uses confidential computing, which works like a black box if a person’s genome is used as part of a big data exercise. So it allows the data to be used for calculations without the third party seeing the data itself.
A similar process will be conducted to manage Professor’s Church genome. The actual NFT will depict an artistic representation of the genome and yield the digital location of the full genomic data on the Oasis network. In addition, the winner will also be able to have their genome sequenced by Nebula.
Ironically, Professor Church was the first individual to make his genome sequence publicly available for research. Therefore, part of the content of the NFT is freely available. The meaningful concept to be auctioned, like any other NFT, is the proof of ownership of the genome.
Meanwhile, the AkoinNFT platform already leverages NFT collections of Richard Wright, Kevin Garnett, Greg Hildebrandt and Akon himself.