Changpeng Zhao’s next move could involve decentralized science

Changpeng “CZ” Zhao’s tenure as CEO of Binance may be over, but the loss of the exchange giant could be a boon for the decentralized science (DeSci) sector.

In a comment on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday, November 28, former Binance CEO revealed an interest in the rapidly developing sector.

In November, Cointelegraph reported on a US Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into Binance. concluded with record $4.3 billion deal for the exchange. As part of the agreement, CZ must personally pay $50 million to US authorities and resign from his leadership position at Binance.

The transition from head of the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange to man of potentially infinite leisure is unlikely to sit well with the crypto billionaire. The 46-year-old businessman began working in his teens and expressed no intention of retiring before his run-in with the Justice Department.

With plenty of time and money, CZ's options are many, but if the former Binance boss chooses to jump to DeSci, he will join a dynamic sector spanning decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), biotech, financing, publishing, data storage, foundations and more.

It is also a sector that still has many opportunities. A spokesperson for OpSci, an autonomous research community, said Cointelegraph says DeSci is still in its infancy and “finding its place in the broader scientific community.”

The shape of medicine to come

DAOs are among the top trends driving DeSci's growth. Medicine's next wave of forward-looking innovation has 20 or more DAOs in operation, and more are emerging.

One such DAO is VitaDAO, a decentralized collective. working to advance longevity research and extend human life expectancy. Cointelegraph spoke with Alex Dobrin, Head of Awareness at VitaDAO, to learn more about the market and what makes longevity science an attractive field of study.

“DeSci offers a new way for people to participate in project financing and support. Instead of relying on traditional methods like for-profit IPOs or charity models, DeSci creates a new model,” Dobrin said. “Anyone can contribute skills and capital while receiving tokens in a more scalable and efficient model aligned with humanity as it is decentralized.”

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Dobrin believes DeSci is particularly important in areas that current players ignore or forget.

"The best example is research on aging and longevity biotechnology," argued Dobrin. “The headlines also dismissed cryptocurrencies, but at least anyone could create something from their laptop. Imagine if you needed government grants and credentials to access expensive equipment and billions of dollars over 10 to 15 years to deploy a product with oversight from bureaucratic regulators.”

According to Dobrin, organizations like VitaDAO can help biotech sciences escape what is known in the industry as “the valley of death.” This valley is said to exist in the gap between scientific discovery and the point at which a pharmaceutical company or venture capitalist is willing to invest.

As a new funding model, VitaDAO and others can close that gap, helping bring new ideas and innovations to market.

A broken system of misaligned incentives

If you ask DeSci advocates why we should decentralize science, they will point to the state of the current centralized medical profession, especially in pharmaceuticals.

Tyler Golato, co-founder of Molecule, a decentralized biotech company inspired by the open science movement, told Cointelegraph that decentralized science can have a positive impact on the medical and pharmaceutical industries.

“Biotech and drug development suffer from a problem of misaligned incentives: patients and researchers who drive most value creation are excluded from governance, ownership, benefits and consumer choice,” Golato said. .

"Most of the best-selling drugs on the market originated in academic laboratories, but the researchers who invented them and the patients who take them are almost completely disintermediated in the process of their development."

Gelato argued that better medical outcomes will result when these incentives are realigned: “Companies favor the economics of healthcare that requires a patient to take a medication every day for a lifetime and are often not aligned with good outcomes.” of medical care.”

“Decentralization changes this: patients, researchers, parents of children with rare diseases, and enthusiasts can contribute funding, work, and data to projects in a more open way, and be incentivized and rewarded with governance and ownership.” in the projects. “This allows for genuinely novel ways to collaborate and develop biotechnology that is fundamentally aligned with cures,” she said.

A great vision for the future

One of the things that makes DeSci so powerful is its ability to incorporate people from diverse disciplines and backgrounds. Major contributors in the field often participate as a point of passion and belief.

AthenaDAO contributor Sara Peoples, who also works for PR firm YAP Global, is a prime example. Peoples' career began in law before transferring to marketing, but at AthenaDAO she brought her expertise to the field of medicine and worked to improve health outcomes for women suffering from women's specific diseases.

Peoples told Cointelegraph: "There is a genuine welcome to anyone who brings a new skill set to the community, whether their strengths lie in operations, tokenomics, communications and awareness, or more scientific research experience. traditional".

Each individual can help serve DeSci in a way that best suits their abilities. The dream of many within the sector is to make lasting changes for the better.

“With DeSci, there is the possibility of reviewing the traditional research and funding model, and opening them up to be not only more transparent but also more efficient. “It could also incentivize research in areas that are currently chronically underfunded, from diseases that are less common to even areas that should legitimately be considered mainstream but have not received adequate funding.”

Peoples describes this move toward greater transparency and reduced control as “a complete paradigm shift.”

"Women's health issues are completely neglected, shockingly underfunded, and with a real poverty of information stemming from an unwillingness to fund crucial research on women's health conditions," Peoples said.

What would CZ do?

If CZ ventures into the DeSci sector, there are many things the former Binance man could do.

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VitaDAO's Dobrin sees the benefits of CZ's recent interest in this field.

“Having high-profile people like CZ take an interest in DeSci and longevity can attract attention and resources to the cause,” Dobrin said. “Diversity is good. “It is important to remain focused on the shared goal of advancing science and medicine through decentralization, ultimately benefiting the well-being of humanity.”

Peoples said Zhao isn't the only cryptocurrency heavy hitter taking an interest in the field.

“CZ’s interest in biotech is just one example of prominent figures within crypto signaling their support for the nascent but exciting DeSci space. “We have already seen Vitalik Buterin and Brian Armstrong of Coinbase express interest in the area.”