Why Is VitaDAO a DAO, and What Does This Mean in Practice?
A Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) is an organization or platform that is operated independently from a centralized organization or government. It works via a transparent computer program coded with the rules of the organization, otherwise known as a protocol. This allows for governance, otherwise known as decision making, in place of any singular ruling body, board, or traditional managerial structure.
Why is VitaDAO a DAO?
DAOs enable like-minded individuals to connect and work together to achieve wider aims. For example, Grant DAO is a community funding DAO that collectively gathers funds and allows members to vote on where they are distributed. LexDAO works to transform legal services into computer code. LabDAO allows researchers to collaborate on a global scale. VitaDAO is a biotechnology DAO focused on sustainably empowering and funding longevity research.
One of the things that sets DAOs apart from traditional organizations is their social aspect. DAOs, by default, are communities of like-minded people working together to solve common challenges. VitaDAO’s mission to drive longevity science forward causes it to seek innovative methods and research.
Currently, VitaDAO’s community includes individuals from backgrounds such as anthropology, law, life sciences, economics, technical writing, software engineering, medicine, and the entrepreneurial world. VitaDAO’s program already has a base of human resources available to support its work in addition to its funding objectives.
The work is managed via smart contracts that determine the regulations of the organization. This reduces the risk of possible human error, such as poor judgment, that could otherwise happen in a more traditional system.
How can a DAO structure be useful for scientific research?
A DAO is intended to offer transparency, decentralization, and global input. However, for scientific purposes, DAOs offer additional benefits over other forms of governance, such as funding.
Traditionally, scientific research is funded by governments, private bodies, and pharmaceutical companies, all of which are centralized organizations when conventional governance structures. VitaDAO holds that this makes the investors’ interests the main purpose, which, in turn, could lead to bias and narrow the possibilities for research. A DAO, on the other hand, can fund projects that are more innovative but considered less likely to succeed.
VitaDAO has also expanded its scope to include intellectual property non-fungible tokens (IP NFTs) of the research that has been completed so far. These are then monetized to generate funding for future DAO initiatives.
How has this held up in practice so far?
To date, VitaDAO has generated over 9 million USD to fund research, of which $1.5+ million has already been allocated, with $250,000 toward the Molecule project. Molecule aims to slow down aging and works to prevent age-related diseases.
In addition to finances generated and invested, over 30 research projects have been evaluated and 3,000 wider community members are involved in the work of the DAO.
More DeSci DAOs in the biotech sphere are emerging, and while all won’t be successful, there are some potentially promising examples on the horizon. LabDAO, which is co-founded by Niklas Rindtorff, a VitaDAO community member, focuses on bridging the gap between research funding and its distribution by organizing a digital ecosystem where research scientists can collaborate for wider research aims. PsyDAO focuses on psychedelics and mental health research. The DeSci Foundation utilizes Web3 technologies for science, and OpenAccessDAO concentrates its efforts on making science open to everyone.
In short, while DeSci DAOs are still in their early days, the number of organizations is growing, and as the community continues to develop, more results will become available to analyze their strengths and weaknesses.