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The Rising Importance of Crypto in Aging Research

An interview with investor Marc P. Bernegger

Interview with Marc P. BerneggerInterview with Marc P. Bernegger
 

The cryptocurrency world is colliding with aging research and life extension and could change how research gets funded.

The cryptocurrency community is getting behind healthy life extension

The landscape of research funding and investment is changing, particularly with the influx of interest from the crypto community in the last year or two. A lot of people in this community are software engineers, coders, programmers, and other Silicon Valley types, and many of them have an interest in life extension.

The arrival of interest beyond the immediate life extension community is a most welcome development. In the last year or two, we have seen some significant donations from the crypto community.

Cryptocurrency celebrity Vitalik Buterin told us in a 2018 interview, “The Best Thing to Donate Money to Is the Fight Against Aging” and has been an active supporter of life extension for some time now. This year, he donated a significant amount to the Methuselah Foundation.

Most recently, SENS Research Foundation (SRF) announced that the PulseChain airdrop raised $20m for aging research at the foundation in just two days. This is an impressive feat when you consider that this sum is equal to roughly four times the usual annual revenue of the SRF.

Introducing investment expert Marc P. Bernegger

Marc P. Bernegger is an active member of the investment community and has been involved in bitcoin since 2012. He is a board member of the Crypto Finance Group, CfC St. Moritz, and Swiss Blockchain Federation.

We had the opportunity to speak to him about the intersection of cryptocurrency and biotech investment in the context of aging.

When and how did you get interested in life extension?

I met Aubrey de Grey (from the SRF) back in 2011 at a conference in Geneva, and his speech about life extension and longevity was literally an eye opener for me. After talking to him several times since then, I got more and more involved in the subject.

You have been involved in investment for quite some time and got into Bitcoin in 2012. What got you interested in crypto?

The idea of a decentralized computer-based value system which is not reliant on existing gatekeepers like banks or governments looked very appealing to me back then (and still is today).

We have seen a surge of interest in life extension as well as significant investment and donations to research from the crypto community recently. What do you think has been the catalyst for this?

I know quite a few early crypto pioneers who are completely below radar and have made a fortune with digital assets. As most of these crypto believers understand the power of exponential technologies, they are also interested in other exciting emerging industries.

So, supporting research in the field of life extension is quite an obvious thing in this regard, and there are also several other exciting industries which get support from crypto wealth.

What approximate percentage of crypto enthusiasts do you think are also healthy life extension enthusiasts, and how can we increase this percentage? 

That’s very difficult to say, but in my own network, most crypto enthusiasts are at least very interested in life extension. The more we see concrete use cases and tangible results, the more people will look into the field.

How do you see traditional biotech investment co-existing with crypto powered initiatives?

On a broader scope, crypto-powered initiatives are still only representing a small fraction of the money that goes into the whole biotech industry. It will be interesting to see how this might change going forward…

What do you consider good examples of where crypto and investment have come together to power research and the development of life extension technologies?

I think the recent donation of Vitalik Buterin, who donated 1000 Ether to the Methuselah Foundation is definitely the most exciting news here.

How might crypto integrate with incubator initiatives, and are you using it in Maximon?

At Maximon, we are fully self-financed by the four founding partners. To boost the growth of our ventures, we are in the process of setting up a co-investment vehicle, and there, we have several quite interesting backers from the crypto industry, among others, including some of the investors of Crypto Finance Group, which was acquired by Deutsche Börse recently.

You are a Founding Board Member of Crypto Finance Group, and your Maximon Partner Tobias Reichmuth is Chairman of the Board there. Will you both allocate more time for longevity after the sale to Deutsche Börse?

Yes, definitely! And our ambition with Maximon is again to build another big success story that will bring the whole industry forward, but this time for longevity instead of crypto.

Speaking of Maximon, how are things going with this?

It is very exciting to build Maximon from scratch, and I think we are at the beginning of something really big. So far, we received more than 1200 applications and are very proud to see what kind of profiles are willing to move into the longevity space in an entrepreneurial setup.

We will launch our first two ventures later this year and are very excited to then offer real products and services with the ambition to help people live a longer, happier and healthier life.

How do you see the longevity industry panning out in the next five years?

We are still in the very early days, and similar to other technological developments, people normally overestimate the short-term effect of exponential developments and by far underestimate the long-term impact. I expect to see far more science- and evidence-based indications which show that a longer and healthier life is becoming a reality.

Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

If you are interested in our activities at Maximon, please have a look at www.maximon.com and follow our social media channels. You should also have a look at our next Longevity Investors Conference.

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About the author

Steve Hill

Steve serves on the LEAF Board of Directors and is the Editor in Chief, coordinating the daily news articles and social media content of the organization. He is an active journalist in the aging research and biotechnology field and has to date written over 600 articles on the topic, interviewed over 100 of the leading researchers in the field, hosted livestream events focused on aging, as well as attending various medical industry conferences. His work has been featured in H+ magazine, Psychology Today, Singularity Weblog, Standpoint Magazine, Swiss Monthly, Keep me Prime, and New Economy Magazine. Steve is one of three recipients of the 2020 H+ Innovator Award and shares this honour with Mirko Ranieri – Google AR and Dinorah Delfin – Immortalists Magazine. The H+ Innovator Award looks into our community and acknowledges ideas and projects that encourage social change, achieve scientific accomplishments, technological advances, philosophical and intellectual visions, author unique narratives, build fascinating artistic ventures, and develop products that bridge gaps and help us to achieve transhumanist goals. Steve has a background in project management and administration which has helped him to build a united team for effective fundraising and content creation, while his additional knowledge of biology and statistical data analysis allows him to carefully assess and coordinate the scientific groups involved in the project.
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