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  • Writer's pictureBrad McFall

DNA Blockchains - are they for the dogs?

Updated: Feb 10, 2020

If the word “blockchain” has an article-less pedigree similar to ‘god’ as Emin Gun Sirer is wont to say…

… what would you think, if I suggested in a back-handily glancing palindromic-like manner that “DNA Blockchain” is linguistically akin not to any old dna blockchain but to Dog-DNA-blockchain, of a unique kind, instead ? This is an article about the proof of value of an article-less blockchain of DNA constructed on an AVA blockchain subnet.

There are increasing numbers of DNA “blockchains” out there - Encrypgen, Genobank, Nebula Genomics, Zenome etc. and it is anyone’s guess how the human DNA marketplace is going to work itself out. Curiously, the decentralization ideal associated with blockchain technologies might work better in sequencing DNA in dogs than doing so in people. Unlike us, where we sequence voluntarily and possess a market beset by businesses and plans geared towards attracting this voluntary behavior often without us in mind, our four footed best friends and companions are being subject to compulsory involuntary DNA testing by landlords, city and regional regulators in order to associate poop left behind with the poopetrators’ owners. Millions of dollars are being made in the process and dog owners are not always so happy about the prospect but under this coercion often willingly submit in order to reside and live in certain regulated areas.

Avalabs is introducing the newest protocol family of blockchain to the world in such a way that it will be possible for a blockchain to functionally compete as a payment system with VISA. They have found a way to raise the stakes towards global adoption of cryptocurrencies and other financial instruments quite high. The technological beast they have in mind can enable a leaderless decentralization of the dog poop DNA marketplace in a striking fashion. Business insiders have noticed that there is a strong relationship between business plans that both test the DNA of dog poop and those that clean it up. One company, Poo Prints, has however managed to dominate the marketplace by keeping these economic aspects separated out and throwing a lot of money at it. They are making millions of dollars every year. The crucial property that Avalabs has engineered into it is tech – decentralization – provides a means through which the concentration of capital in a single leading functional company could be distributed out across all of the areas, consumers and users rather than being designed to accumulate in a particular workable business, plan or company.

Imagine if each landlord , apartment complex, and regional law enforcer that insists on having dog DNA tested and poop retested were offered a contract in which all of the dog poop they generate were taken off their hands and the DNA sequencing being accomplished was not merely done to identify who’s dog poop was left behind but was sequenced with a view instead to better improving every dog’s health and well-being. What if this was all done while charging the owner nothing except a nominal fee and what if the owner was able to receive a token for every DNA sequence made and would be able to use this token to purchase vet services, buy dog food, pay the landlord and/or even to sell their dog's DNA sequence as a digital asset directly to pharmaceutical companies? This seems too good to be true but such is the magic of blockchain - not the blockchain or a blockchain - when it is used for a purpose other than merely increasing business profits and the ideal engineered in, has a means through which it can be implemented.

The key is that each regional area would collect all of the dog poop in a region and then grow duckweed from nitrogen in the poo which may be converted into energy or protein and possibly be converted into dog food. This income along with that made from the sale of DNA sequences to pharmaceutical companies could serve as collateral for the token used in the transactions. The sequencing methods currently being performed only sequence enough DNA to identify an individual animal. They do not sequence all of a dog’s genes. The current protocols being used can not identify information necessary to help understand the state of health and disease in each dog. Each distribution center would be responsible for doing whole genome sequencing, validating the transactions completed and processing the poop. Thus the unique blockchain protocol that Avalabs could foster can create a new working-class of dog poop duckweed growers, internet of living-thing DNA sequencers and blockchain node validators who all work together under a common smart contract to facilitate trade in DNA sequence, dog food, vet services, and research on sequence variations. New jobs could be created that would not be possible if designed singly in a single commercial entity. This is amazing but true. These new economic structures would arise not from making as much money as possible by taking advantage of coerced and forced behaviors as is currently being done, but rather it would work to turn the activity already in progress, into a form of transact-ability that benefits all of the actors and players by simply extending and increasing the circulation of action under a common idea and ideal. One can decentralize out the business in the middle and give each party something they can each individually use.

The more people submit to regulating and being regulated in this way the more the value of their activity will be rewarded. The basic technology of Avalabs blockchains are not limited by how many people would like to participate. The Dog Poop DNA market place could see independent growths in all of these classes of users. There are many things that may be in the way of distributing a value added activation as a subnet of AVA but regardless, the logic is clear. This is a new form of economic activity that was not possible with blockchains that can not process at fast speeds and were not able to build out the activity itself from within a larger leader prone economic and business marketplace surround. Smart contract and regulate-able cryptocurrency tokens are all possible. This differentiated service on top of AVA is a strikingly clear example of how decentralization is a win-win. Finally, perhaps most startlingly in this way, where dog poop recycling, DNA sequencing and blockchains are combined to serve towards improving dog well being it may be possible to make advances in understanding the health and wellness of dogs before we understand how best to predict the market and economics around human DNA . Perhaps the backhanded comment I started out from at the top was not at all out of place. The future of DNA blockchains in whatever form they give to may always have been taken from, for and by the dogs. If a dog were a god, heaven forbid, he might say to the CEO of Poo Prints, J Retinger that , “No we don’t see DNA as the future of canine licensing and registration but rather of the health and wellness both of us and our human companions, including you and all your employees.”

The next blog post will describe some of the numbers that makes this proof of value a proof of math as well.

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