Decentralized Science (or DeSci) can become a new thing in the blockchain industry as the decentralized nature of the technology can solve many issues, including ownership, censorship, and funding.

At least Sarah Hamburg, a cognitive neuroscientist, believes so. In her column on Future (a16z's media arm), Hamburg elaborated on how smart contracts and DAOs (decentralized autonomous organizations) can help a growing number of scientists and entrepreneurs with backing their projects. Here's what DeSci can bring to the world of science:

  • Smart contracts. Decentralized smart contracts could mediate directly between authors and peer reviewers, who would be rewarded with tokens for their review.
  • Incentivized communities. Communities could finance their projects with tokens (including NFTs) so that users would have the stimulus to share, review, and curate different types of information into resources.
  • Combat censorship. Blockchain thanks to its decentralized nature can be accessed from any location at any time, which makes it a great tool to fight against scientific censorship, including political one.
  • Ownership. The transparent tree of on-chain transactions makes it impossible to imposter an identity. In addition to verifiable NFTs, academic institutions could build alternative scientific education in the DeSci ecosystem.

Although the potential for the scientific blockchain area is huge, there are still questions to be answered before experts could move to the industry.

Read also: How DAOs improve community-led initiatives

Hamburg emphasizes the community should answer on whose interests will DeSci ultimately serve, how will DeSci protect science against biases related to blockchain commercialization, and how decentralized should the movement be. One way or the other, DeSci is currently in a stage where it can experiment with a collection of new tools in an attempt to improve science, she added.