GRAMMY Nominated Artist Akon Teams Up with Harvard Medical School Professor George Church, Nebula Genomics, and AkoinNFT to Launch the World’s First Genomic NFT
(Los Angeles, CA), May, 25 2021 — Professor George Church, co-founder of Nebula Genomics and Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School, will be partnering with GRAMMY-nominated, multi-platinum selling artist, producer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, Akon and his NFT platform, AkoinNFT, to auction off Professor George Church’s full genome as the world’s first genomic NFT. The acclaimed singer and face of Akoin Cryptocurrency and its affiliate AkoinNFT, is thrilled to be collaborating on this one-of-a-kind NFT with Nebula Genomics and George Church for the first ever genomic NFT. Professor George Church’s DNA carries a great deal of historical significance to the field of personal genomics. To protect and store the underlying genomic data sold as an NFT, Nebula will leverage Oasis Labs’ Parcel SDK which they currently use to protect many of their customer’s sequenced genome and the underlying decentralized blockchain, the Oasis Network.
“I am so excited about bringing the George Church DNA NFT into the world with the amazing team at Nebula Genomics and everyone at AkoinNFT. Advances in the field of genomics, led by people like George Church and companies like Nebula Genomics, are changing the world as are the advances in blockchain technology,” says Akon. “As we celebrate the artist within all of us, there is no better indicator than our own Genome Sequenced DNA to showcase the individuality that makes us who we are. This NFT drop will be groundbreaking in so many ways,” the singer added.
Professor Church, oftentimes referred to as “The Father of Synthetic Biology,” and is best known for being one of the first people to have their genome sequenced. He was also the first individual to make his medical records and genome publicly available to researchers to be used for countless studies and papers, representing a pivotal moment in science and human history.
Historically, genomic and health data have been monetized with a lack of transparency. Patients and consumers rarely have full insights into who has access to their data. The rise of blockchain and NFTs however, have enabled a new model for how data can be owned and monetized. For the launch of this groundbreaking NFT, AkoinNFT and Nebula Genomics will be collaborating with Oasis Labs, the world’s leading privacy-first blockchain in order to store Church’s DNA on the Oasis Network. The NFT for George’s genome will be depicted as a high-res artistic representation of his genome and likeness. Additionally, this NFT will encode the digital location of George’s full genomic data, hosted on the Oasis Network. The highest bidder on Church’s NFT will take ownership of this NFT representation, as well as the proof of ownership of this genomic data. Customers will also have the opportunity to receive Nebula’s 30x whole genome sequencing of their personal DNA when purchasing the NFT.
“We’re thrilled to see the Oasis Parcel SDK and the Oasis Network used to tokenize George’s sequenced genome” said Anne Fauvre, COO of Oasis Labs. “We envision Parcel and the Oasis Network, with its ability to tokenize numerous classes of off-chain assets, as the ideal platform for securing the next generation of NFTs.”
By auctioning off his genome as an NFT, Nebula Genomics, Professor Church and AkoinNFT are kick-starting a conversation around fair and transparent ways to monetize and share health data. A portion of the profits will be donated to rare-disease research. More details about the auction will be announced shortly. The auction will be held on Thursday, June 10, 2021.
How does it work?
An NFT is a non-fungible token, or a unique and irreplaceable representation of a digital or physical object. An NFT represents ownership of this unique asset and is stored on a decentralized blockchain as unmodifiable “proof” of who the owner is.
The human genome provides an exciting opportunity for an NFT, as it is a unique encoding of an individual. Each human’s genome is a non-changing representation of their most fundamental and personal data, which is inherently non-fungible.
The human genome is the complete set of nucleic acid sequences, encoded as DNA, and is made up of 3 billion base-pairs. As the pioneer of human genomics, Professor Church’s genome is one of the first genomes to ever be completely sequenced, and one of the most studied genomes in existence. This auction will also include a single-issue physical and digital artwork to accompany and celebrate his genome.
George has dedicated his career to using genomic data to advance personalized medicine for better health outcomes for humanity.
About Nebula Genomics
Nebula Genomics seeks to usher in the era of personal genomics by building a distributed platform that will accelerate genomic data generation, facilitate data access and streamline data analysis. The Nebula platform uses blockchain and privacy-preserving technologies to enable individuals to maintain control of their personal genomic data, share it securely and get compensated equitably. By incentivizing personal genome sequencing and genomic data sharing, Nebula Genomics will make large genomic datasets available to researchers which will help advance understanding of human genetics, accelerate drug discovery and streamline clinical trials. The company was founded by Harvard genomics pioneer George Church, along with Harvard researchers Dennis Grishin and Kamal Obbad. Founded in 2017, Nebula Genomics has offices in San Francisco, CA and Boston, MA and is backed by investors including Khosla Ventures, Arch Venture Partners, Fenbushi Capital, Mayfield, F-Prime Capital Partners, GreatPoint Ventures, Hemi Ventures, and Mirae Asset. For more information, follow @NebulaGenomics on Twitter and Facebook or visit nebula.org.
About Professor Church:
Professor Church is one of the leading pioneers in human genomics, and played a pivotal role in creating the Human Genome Project, which was responsible for sequencing the first ever full human genome. Professor Church also led the initiative for and the Personal Genome Project a project whose mission is to sequence and publicize the full genomes of 100,000 individuals. He has dedicated his career to improving humanity’s understanding of genomics, with the mission to improve personalized medicine and health outcomes for humanity.
A Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum selling artist, producer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. Akon is recognized as one of the most powerful voices across Africa and the Diaspora, named to the Forbes Celebrity100 & 40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa list. Through Akon Lighting Africa, he has already brought solar power to 18 countries in Africa, creating safety, health and well-being for millions of the 600M+ Africans who lack electricity today. Akon is also the visionary behind Akon City, a sustainable and eco-tourism smart city in development in Senegal, Africa where Akoin will be the central currency.
AkoinNFT is the Akoin Cryptocurrency affiliated ecosystem and platform transforming the collectible and experiential marketplace for fans and restoring economic power to artists as we collect, share and celebrate their work through exclusive NFT collections. Leveraging the earned experience and innovative technology of the Akoin team in Blockchain and Cryptocurrency, AkoinNFT offers a strategic campaign approach to NFTs combined with the creative execution of best-in-breed Design Studios and resources to bring fans closer to the art, artist and artistry across entertainment, sports, social impact and more throughout the entire NFT lifecycle from ideation to execution, and from initial drop to resale. Find out more at www.AkoinNFT.io.
About Oasis Labs:
Oasis Labs is focused on building the next-generation of privacy technology for the real world. They build powerful developer tools that give any project — from early startup to Fortune 500 — the ability to create privacy conscious products. Their goal is to leverage this technology in blockchain to enable new use cases and marketplaces for DeFi, Tokenization, and more. Oasis Labs is led by a team of academic and entrepreneurial leaders and backed by a diverse range of investors including a16z, Accel, Binance Labs, Pantera Capital, and Polychain Capital. For more information, visit: https://www.oasislabs.com