Degenics is a group of IT consultants, blockchain developers, and biologists who are passionate about privacy, decentralized technologies, and genomic data science.
We aim to democratize direct-to-consumer genomics with a privacy-preserving, anonymous-first platform running on a fully decentralized, autonomous infrastructure.
Degenics 1.0 (private deployment + public demo March 2021) will provide anonymous, decentralised sample collection, payment, data storage, and report distribution.
It will already be
a VPN, for your DNA.
Why should I sequence my genes?
HEALTH, DIET AND BEAUTY
Determine your best nutrition, supplement, and medication strategies to maintain your health and beauty.
Assist your medical professional by getting genome-derived insights.
Preview disease and illness risks of your future children by analyzing your genes and your genetic partner's.
Prepare for certain conditions
-- from allergies to Huntington's --
and avoid other conditions via supplements and diet starting as early as possible.
WINDOW INTO THE PAST
Sequence and maintain your personal genetic signature. to understand your particular racial heritage and family history.
Understand the routes your forebears have taken in the great human migration out of Africa.
"VPN for your DNA"
Why is it anonymous-first?
PERSONAL GENOMICS COMPANIES OWN -- AND MONETIZE -- YOUR DATA AND PERSONAL ID.
Personal genomics companies have your DNA-KYC pairs and the potential to wield immense power over you.
Anything from providing forensic proof in criminal cases, to tracking you offline, to printing copies of your biomaterial to fool future biometrics.
What's worse, these companies already sell users' genes to pharmacogenetics research with arguable consent.
In the near future:
Insurance companies may utilize your genetic profile to determine your premiums.
Companies hiring applicants may choose on the basis of genetically-determined personality traits or the candidate's health risks.
"Do you have a history of heart disease in your family" is already a genetic question.
THE "HONEYPOT PROBLEM" OF PERSONAL GENOMICS
Personal genomic companies, are already being hacked in certain cases.
The fact that massive numbers of KYC-associated genetic data are collected by these companies create a "honeypot problem": Hackers are more inclined to invest time and resources on the hack, and any minor security issue may lead to millions of data points leaking.
Why decentralize the platform?
DIY Biology Labs have created $100 PCR devices, introduced hundreds of open-access tools, and helped produce everything from coronavirus vaccines to many many transgenic organisms.
DIYLabs are also difficult to monetize and are usually limited to "garage-scale" hobbies.
A decentralized, merit-based blockchain platform that allows DIYLabs access to the $8billion market of personal genomics changes the value equation for these labs.
GENOME REUSE FOR FUTURE TESTS
Your genome, once sequenced fully , can be reused and retested at any time.
Gain access to insights from future genetic research, or combine your genes with your future spouse to see what your children would be like.
All done anonymously and securely, with no chance of "vendor lock in".
Degenics solves a problem with current personal genetic testing services:
Customers can't normally check the efficacy and the accuracy of the sequencing results, unless they have their own labs at home.
Degenics allows each user to recheck the results of 2 labs' test and scores each lab based on accuracy.
This is designed to maintain the quality of the test results while accelerating the growth of the ecosystem.
Trustless/Fully Decentralized Model
Anonymous Physical-Digital Bridge
Without having to enter KYC, the user activates the dApp and generates her passphrase. This forms the basis of her private key, and is paired with a sharable public key.
The user takes two samples -- a cheek swab to be practical-- and puts them into a sample bottle each. Each sample bottle is put into its own envelope.
dApp creates an envelope label that the user can either rewrite or print on the sample envelopes. This envelope label contains her public key, no personally identifiable information and no return address, but does contain 2 lab addresses to send samples to.
User sends the two envelopes via her local post office box.
The aforementioned labs analyze the sample and produce datasets (VCF file & analysis).
The platform compares datasets from the two labs and checks the difference between select points in the data.
If there is more than 10% difference, the user is given the option to send in another sample. Sampling instructions are provided again.
If there is less than 10% difference between two output datasets. both are encrypted with the user's public key and put inside the platform (Blockchain + Decentralized Storage).
User is alerted, and can access her data at any time by decrypting via private key.
Semi-Decentralized Deployment with
An alternative deployment model would be the private / consortium deployment where labs are directly selected by the users.
This simplifies the workflow while maintaining the anonymity of the users. The labs get access to a commercial market, and the users still get an anonymous physical-to-digital bridge for their genomic data.
Additionally, after the initial on-ramp, the labs are free to up-sell additional analytics products to the users, without resampling.
If things are happening anonymously, how does the user/customer pay for the service?
There are two options, the traditional option or the fully decentralized option. The fully decentralized option is slightly more elegant, but this might not be an option in all locales. Traditional payment models may also work better for consortium or private deployments of Degenics.
This model uses the traditional option:
Consumer funds are held in escrow by a local payment gateway or bank until the lab provides valid data (report and genome) into decentralized storage. The smart contract then triggers fund disbursement into the lab's accounts.
Note that this still maintains anonymity of the genomic data, since:
Payment gateway / bank does have access to consumer KYC, but does not have access to genomic data or reports
Labs does not have access to consumer KYC, although it does have access to anonymized genomic data.
All transactions happen via a Blockchain token model. Consumer onboards with their preferred cryptocurrency token, or goes through a fiat-to-crypto bridge to pay.
Smart contracts hold consumer's tokens in escrow until labs provide valid data. The smart contract then triggers fund disbursement into the labs' account
Non-Genetic Use Cases
Anonymous Medical Testing
The same platform can easily be used to anonymize the kind of testing that patients may prefer to keep private. This includes anything from COVID-19 testing to HIV testing.
In some kinds of medical tests, even the act of testing itself is considered by users to require absolute privacy.
Privacy-First Document Digitization
Documents that need to be digitized in private -- for example, personal hard copies of X-rays or electronic medical records -- can be redacted by the user and sent via an alternate version of the platform that provide a consortium of document digitizers.
Lab Data Interchange
The underlying infrastructure of our Blockchain platform allows multiple labs to work together within the sequencing and analysis process. Collaborations can be implemented on-platform, with complete control over work product and data. This can be done for both research and commercial reasons: A group of labs within an academic study may use the blockchain to share data and reports, or several small labs can synergize to create a product offering.
User-Sovereign Genome Monetization
Research (for heredity, rare conditions, population genetics, or pharmacogenetics) can access a slew of genomic data from the users of Degenics, and may even receive phenotype data the users consent to provide -- for a fee. This fee can be allocated through the same blockchain infrastructure that provides the data, and allows users to monetize their unique genetics in a still-anonymous, sovereign way. Any monetizable work product based on a user’s genome can be traced by the contributing user.
Need More Information?
Meet The Team
IT & Blockchain consultant and business leader. Former environmental engineer with bioinformatics course certificates and microbiology experience. Ex-IBMer, cofounder of multiple Blockchain organizations, as seen in Forbes, CNBC, CNN, Deustche Welle, Forkast News, and many others.
Ibn Gamal Alhadid
In-House Biology Advisor
Biologist, fitness professional, and wellness enthusiast. Experienced in network marketing, business development and sales throughout a wide range of industries.
Business & QA Advisor
Quality Assurance Professional, Business Analyst, and Consultant at Blocksphere.id. Experienced in leading the testing & QA processes for large projects in the financial, agriculture, and telco sectors.
Self-proclaimed Blockchain and Cloud geek. A former developer for IBM, she is certified in Hyperledger Besu (Consensys Quorum) and Hyperledger Fabric.
Experienced in multiple Blockchain projects, as developer, scrum master, and lead technical consultant for Blocksphere.id
Business & Ecosystem Advisor
Blockchain tech and enterprise IT consultant at Blocksphere.id. Led project implementation and assisted in consulting workshops within multiple companies in the enterprise space, including within the FSI, govt, and asset management sectors.