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BioNFTs – genetic data on Web3 with Akord and Genobank

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The Arweave in Lisbon, Demo Day took place yesterday, Monday, October 31st (11:00 – 17:00 WET) at the Museu do Oriente, in Lisbon, Portugal. During the event, many developers from within the Arweave ecosystem presented what they were building.

Among them was Richard Caetano, from the core team at Akord. As he took to stage,one of the biggest highlights was his in-depth talk about the partnership between Akord and Genobank – a company focused on genetic data. The two are working on what is called BioNFTs, which seem to promise to help progress DNA genetic studies.

Sound interesting?

Let’s take a closer look!

Akord, Genobank and BioNFTs

Upon taking to the stage, Richard mentioned that they had become friends with many other teams in the Arweave ecosystem, as they coordinate to build projects. But collaborating with other Web3 projects and companies is not their only focus, as they seek to build real-world utility in many sectors of many industries via the use of the Akord protocol.

Richard introduced their partner Genobank, a company focused on DNA genetic testing for humans, animals, and plants.

Genobank has concerns about data privacy when it comes to genetic data, hence the collaboration with Akord. Akord is helping Genobank secure medical data and consent with BioNFTs.

The Problem

Data from studies shows that 81% of researchers report a shortage of biosamples as their biggest limiter when it comes to progressing their studies and research.

And on the other hand, 94% of people would agree to give out their data if they had a detailed consent plan, essentially being able to know what their data was being used for at any given point.

That is where Akord comes to the rescue.

The solution

Akord and Genobank are using technology to find the solution. Genobank has created what is known as BioNFTs.

Firstly, users take a DNA test. Then that data is represented as an NFT.

Whoever owns the NFT has control over the data and how it is used.

Subsequently, with the creation of the BioNFTs, Akord can create a marketplace dedicated to connecting researchers with these BioNFTs and the data within, with an appropriate compensation mechanism attached. Long story short, the researchers are happy, and the data providers are happy.

Genobank is currently building a pilot with Akord that will primarily be involved with newborn babies. Richard went on to talk about some of the ethical complexities that come with such a venture but had already mentioned earlier in his presentation that Akord is focused on all the legal aspects of what they are building.

How Akord makes the difference

Earlier on in his presentation, Richard had explained the architecture between Web1, Web2, and Web3, and how Akord utilises the latter.

  • Web1 was all about building a static website and pushing it onto your server.
  • Web2 saw dynamic websites where users could interact with applications, and so social media was born.
  • Web3 creates a new dimension and the concept of ownership. A place where users cannot only write and read from, but also own parts of the web they are interacting with.

We are specifically focused on building a privacy protocol on the Arweave Blockchain, and then with that privacy protocol we are unlocking what we call user owned storage and try and help developers we architect their applications especially in this Web3 environment an unlock these new dimensions to storage.

He goes on to say that most enterprise products are built on the idea of working and using data via cloud servers, which are not always secure. The systemic risks with cloud servers, according to the presentation are:

But that is all being solved with User Owned Storage (UOS) that is focused on three properties:

  • Privacy.
  • Permanence.
  • Composability.

It was at this point that Richard mentioned Akord were also looking at the legal aspects of their ventures, and at laws that they could leverage if someone escaped the crypto graphic security.

The second one is why we are so excited about Arweave […] I don’t see how you can own something that isn’t permanent”

UOS Architecture and Developers

So how do you go about creating UOS architecture?

According to Richard:

The primary thing we’ve settled on was this idea that we have to create a secure encrypted context by which the data is available to the user. And so that means pushing the application, pushing the tokens, pushing the data into this encrypted space, into this user space, and then making available within that space. And anything that leaves that space has to be re-encrypted.

Essentially nothing is allowed to leak. Akord had to think how to achieve this with their application, but also keep it easy for developers to work with.

Everything starts with the data on Arweave. Then the Akord protocol is deployed on top of the blockchain, assuring interactions are in proper format and that the data can be queried. On top of that is the API that applications can use to request data. And lastly, those applications lie right at the top. The applications can either utilise the Akord API or go straight on-chain to the Akord protocol. 

We stay tuned as the Akord team continues to help build the future of web3.

More Info

All in all what Akord is building is well worth some research of your won, so feel free to visit them on the following links:


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