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Below is our recent interview with David Koepsell, CEO of EncrypGen:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Encrypgen?
A: EncrypGen, Inc. is the first genomic blockchain company to issue a utility token for use in paying for the exchange of genetic data, as an incentive to afford scientists more data to use in science, and to recompense individuals for the use of their data. It’s My Gene-Chain user portal is free to use, and available now for individuals to upload their data to store and share with doctors or, if they want, with scientists. We started in Dec 2016 and built into a multinational, 16 full time employee team working to finalize the Gene-Chain, which will allow for the searching, buying and selling of data in exchange for DNA tokens. We were founded by a husband and wife team, Dr. David Koepsell (myself), and Dr. Vanessa Gonzalez. We have collaborated for a decade in academia on issues surrounding genes and justice. Dr. Gonzalez brings her expertise in genoimic science. Together we started EncrypGen to address the need to share more genetic data for science, and enhance privacy and security for individuals.
Q: What’s the purpose of DNA token?
A: To facilitate international research efforts, and ease the exchange of data with a unified currency, the DNA token was created as the sole medium of exchange for genetic data on the Gene-Chain. It is widely available in numerous markets around the globe and exchangeable for fiat and other cryptocurrencies. It can also be used to purchase DNA test kits from our preferred vendors at our website.
Q: What makes blockchain the perfect solution for something like this?
A: Blockchains are good at keeping records, making record-keeping transparent, and of course, cryptographically-secured for maximal privacy and anonymity. We have used blockchains also to provide a native payment mechanism that we hope will become the currency used for the transfer of genomic data around the world and on multiple platforms. We can create auditable trails of exchanges of data, and by using our permissioned blockchain ensure that we know when someone’s data is being used and by whom, while maintaining the donor’s privacy on the chain.
Q: What are the key values of the EncrypGen Gene-Chain?
A: Privacy, Security, and Trust. Those values are built into the product itself. We want to create a marketplace for genomic data that bakes in these values, and helps develop new mechanisms for scientific progress, medical care, specifically in the developing field of personalized health, and that afford people ownership and control of their data.
Q: What are the biggest challenges in the industry you have had to overcome?
A: It is always risky to create a market that hasn’t existed before, and as we go we are learning a great deal about the needs and demands of researchers as well as individuals in dealing with genomic data, all while trying to create a profitable and beneficial product. This has meant pivoting at times, and adapting to a marketplace that is rapidly getting crowded with competitors. Finding VCs to assist and trust this new technology and its applications has also been a challenge.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: EncrypGen is poised to grow organically and has the first-mover advantage in the genomic blockchain space. We intend to use that to maintain our lead and capture market share, all while delivering a new and vibrant mechanism for the exchange of genetic data for science, health, and industry. We will maintain our lead and prove that genomic blockchains, and especially the Gene-Chain, serve to disintermediate the relationship between individual consumer and scientists, and provide new ways for people to guard their health and data security. We have partners, contracts, and products already in the marketplace that are providing us that foothold, and that serve as the foundation for our position as leader in this growing new domain.