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Block.one Gives $50,000 To Coronavirus App Developer

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May 4, 2020 | 

Dan Mitchell |  0 Comments| 

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Block.one, the software publisher behind EOS, has issued a grant valued at $50,000 to a company called Genobank. The money was distributed from Block.one’s EOS VC fund and FinLab EOS VC to support the co-development (working with the ‘Telos Foundation’) of an open-source software application called ‘Agerona’.

Agerona will be built using blockchain technology to give citizens a method of anonymously searching and applying for testing, to ascertain whether or not they have caught the virus. Test results and application data will be stored anonymously on the blockchain and can be accessed by participants from a secure account.

The app is being developed to help remove some of the roadblocks which have obstructing mass population testing. Data which is required to support the study and control of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This is because many citizens “outside health care systems or in marginalized populations” may be averse to the idea of testing due to “fears of government action towards infected persons of various legal statuses.” as well as general fears that their privacy rights are being besmirched.

In the announcement Telos Foundation states that the project currently has a worldwide base of contributors located in the UK, the US, Israel, Iran, South Africa “and a rapidly growing list of other countries.”. 

“This project is a remarkable example of how individuals from around the world can come together to increase the tools we have to address global problems. Increasingly, we will see grassroots teams such as this rapidly providing solutions that governments cannot,” - Douglas Horn (Telos, Contributor)

DNA on the Blockchain

Genobank advertises itself as the “first anonymous DNA storage and sharing platform completely controlled by users with blockchain”. It is currently listed on crowdfunding platform Republic, through which users can formally invest in projects with the prospect of return on investment (ROI).

The company specialises in collection and management of DNA sequencing data for a range of purposes including: epigenetics, early identification and treatment of breast cancer, pharmacogenomics, and more.

As of writing, the Republic crowdfunding round has successfully raised $306,829 (approximately £246,810) from 884 investors. The minimum required investment was just $100,000 meaning that Genobank has raised 306% of this original figure, with just 89 days remaining.

Genobank’s main advertised product, as seen on its website, is the ‘DNA Saliva Kit’ (patent pending), which is a testing apparatus which can be used at home. Unlike the majority of rival perform-at-home testing kits for DNA sequencing, Genobank focuses heavily on ensuring absolute privacy and user-sovereignty over their own data using blockchain technology.

“We are honored to join this amazing team led by Telos Foundation and aim to contribute by sharing our experience in the fields of genomics, privacy laws and decentralized DNA data wallets to achieve the best privacy-preserving platform and an anonymous COVID-19 Test kit using the Telos Network. People have the right to know if they have the coronavirus without violating their privacy.” - Daniel Uribe (Genobank.io, CEO)

Who Else Is Involved?

Block.one is the company behind EOS, its cryptocurrency and open-source blockchain. Other solutions offered by Block.one include the EOSIO development architecture, and the forthcoming blockchain based social media platform.

Telos Foundation is an independent non-profit organisation, best known for its eponymous Telos Network - which is built upon Block.one’s EOSIO technology.

Coronavirus, COVID19

COVID19 is a novel Coronavirus which is believed to have spread from bats to humans, with the first cases worldwide having been reported in Wuhan, China. It has become widespread cause of concern due to its high level of contagion, in addition to the number of deaths associated with it so far.

At the time of writing there is no known cure, with the only course of action being treatment of symptoms. Many, including Bill Gates, seem to believe a vaccine to be the best solution to work towards going forward.
 

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