Cryptocurrency proponents believe the technology behind their alternative to fiat currencies can change the world for the better by helping break down the odds that favour economic elites. It now seems they are determined to be around to see what is hopefully a fairer social and international financial playing field and the great leap forward in human civilisation many believe that will bring. Several of the kingpins of the cryptocurrencies market are said to have invested $6 million in the California-bases Sens Research Foundation. The foundation’s chief science officer and founder is British scientist Aubrey de Grey who believes the research being conducted at Sens can eventually lead to a “post-ageing world”.
De Grey’s belief is based on the concept of the latest technology in the world meaning we are reaching the point where regenerative medicine will be able to be repair the damage of ageing ‘at the level where it occurs’. The Sens Research Foundation’s website outlines that the root cause of the wide variety of things that go wrong with aging bodies is the build-up of unrepaired damage to the cellular and molecular structures that our tissues are comprised of. The biotechnologies the Foundation says it is developing aims to remove, repair or replace this tissue damage, returning it to the health of its youth.
De Grey is written off by the wider scientific community and has been described as everything from a fraudster to crackpot and ‘tinfoil hat wacko’. It’s pointed out that in being awarded his PhD, he took advantage of a loophole. A special statute of the University meant that as the holder of a BA (in computer science) from the University of Cambridge, he was able to submit a self-published book rather than go through the usual peer-reviewed original research process.
However, despite scepticism from mainstream science, de Grey has managed to convince some of the world’s most successful tech entrepreneurs that there is merit in his Foundation’s direction of research. PayPal billionaire Peter Thiel is said to have been one of the Foundation’s biggest donors and de Grey is said to have received a donation of $2.4 (£1.7) million-worth of ether cryptocurrency tokens from Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin within the past two months. Another $4 million is said to have been donated by 3 separate Bitcoin millionaires.
Critics have commented that there is a certain irony in tech entrepreneurs that have made millions by attracting gullible investors into ‘make believe’ digital currencies investing millions in ‘make believe’ scientific research.
However, few would dispute the intelligence of Thiel and Buterin. It wouldn’t be the first time highly successful and intelligent minds have shown a blind spot in the pursuit of immortality. However, mainstream finance also wrote off, and often still does, the potential of cryptocurrencies. Nonetheless, it is looking increasingly as though they are here to stay and in one form or another will force their way into mainstream financial systems. Is it possible that the biotechnology and regenerative medicine de Grey claims will lead to human body parts being repaired and replaced like car parts could also defy mainstream science in coming years?