Crypto – pulling a (Moon) Rabbit out a hat for longevity

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Angel Versetti on why it makes sense to look at more experimental solutions for longevity.

Earlier this week we brought you part one of our interview with Moon Rabbit‘s founder Angel Versetti, in which we discussed that Elon Musk tweet, crypto’s focus on longevity and changing the status quo. Now we’ve wrapped our heads around what a meta chain actually is, here is the second part, in which Versetti discusses big pharma, tokenisation of IP and digital immortality.

Longevity.Technology: Crypto investing may still seem hare-brained to some, but its democratisation of the financial world continues apace. Cryptocurrency, longevity and biotech research are intersecting – and crypto already has a history of being interested in emerging and exponential technologies. Moon Rabbit is very clear about its aims – developing cutting-edge techniques to reverse or slow aging and extend life.

With much of longevity research tracking traditional biotech companies (clinical pipeline, FDA, &c), there is the possibility of clashes between traditional institutions and companies that have a shareholder base that’s opaque. Versetti has previously co-founded and run a crypto company, Ambrosus, that focused on fixing broken supply chains, and pharma was their biggest vertical. Ambrosus interacted with many traditional biotech companies and big pharma players, but Versetti was shocked by their outlook.

“For the chronic diseases are the most stable revenue stream, while healthy people are a business problem,” he explained. “However, I don’t see how that aligns with extending human healthspan or lifespan. Therefore, there is indeed a strong need to make a breakthrough to change the status quo. Once new working solutions or treatments are out there, they will have to adapt. But clearly, innovation is unlikely to come from them. Rethinking the whole raison d’etre for these companies is a must.”

With platforms like VitaDAO and Moon Rabbit the IP of companies can be amortized across multiple individuals; is this a model that biotechs could learn from finance?

“Tokenisation of IP and their distributed ownership is only one of the many applications of Moon Rabbit for the longevity sector,” Versetti explains. “I think it does not work in isolation, because it basically is crowdfunding for patents. Crypto encourages common ownership and management of digital assets (which now indeed include IP), but it’s also about delivering value to users and creating crypto-economic incentives for participants of the network, be they researchers, users or contributors.

“This is why Moon Rabbit works hard on its Longevity DAO, a Decentralised Autonomous Organisation that will create on-chain governance, project management and monetisation strategies for IP. This is a model that most finance people are also yet to learn. It currently only exists within the crypto realm, but I do see DAOs becoming a great big narrative for forming distributed research collectives. We offer an open-source framework to foster such innovation.”

Of course, developments in AI are propelling both the crypto and longevity sectors forward, and Versetti takes a philosophical view, explaining that although he always wanted to work in AI, he never felt he was smart enough for it.

“By AI I mean true AI, the point of Singularity, not just increases of efficiency in various processes through primitive forms of AI,” he clarifies. Versetti is not dismissing these forms, but for him, AI is interesting at a philosophical level itself – how it can radically change the course of evolution of humanity and where it will bring us?

“The problem is that we humans are hugely imperfect and messy and we also are creators of AI,” says Versetti. “Hopefully, all our sins and shortcomings won’t be amplified by AI. I do think that there are now enough people who understand what’s at stake with AI and I am indeed eagerly awaiting to see what new exciting developments AI brings to both longevity and AI.”

Many antiaging researchers see their work as democratising healthcare, providing access to longer, healthier life regardless of location or bank balance, and a comparison can be made to crypto, also seen as democratising. It’s a comparison Versetti feels is valid.

“If we look back at history all the great discoveries and inventions contributed to democratisation and bigger opportunities for humanity,” Versetti explains. “The steam machine and electricity permitted people to focus on less labour-intensive jobs and spurred new opportunities and innovation; the Internet broke down distances hyper-connecting the world, making new opportunities and allowing anyone with quick mind and entrepreneurship – and obviously, access to the internet/computer – to jump onboard. I understand I am painting a simplified version of human progress and we have a lot of things to fix, but indeed crypto just as longevity holds a huge potential because indeed they can improve the lives of virtually everyone. And many discoveries will be free for others to follow and apply.”

Versetti regularly interacts and brainstorms with various researchers and entrepreneurs, exploring the promise of certain niches or segments of longevity, and he is clear about a preferred direction.

“It is clear that most of the current approaches do not work and clearly we have hit dead ends in many well-trodden areas,” he explains. “Thus for me personally it makes sense to look at more experimental solutions, such as Radical Aging Therapy and gene therapy. I understand those areas meet huge opposition from lawmakers in many countries – kinda rings a bell for Bitcoin – but I also understand that without proper investigation and trials of those technologies we cannot be certain about how promising they are.”

Versetti and his team are also looking closely at stem cells and research of mitochondria, especially as there have been some “interesting recent progress indicators” in that area. In addition, digital immortality a field Versetti describes as “an interesting pathway open for longevity”. Versetti explains digital longevity as including processes such as brain mapping and uploading to the cloud or making humans partially machines.

“Although,” he concludes, “I am not sure I subscribe philosophically to that, as the key question is: would that still be me?”

Find out more about Moon Rabbit and its plans for longevity on their website.

Read part one of our interview with Angel Versetti HERE.

 

Eleanor Garth
Deputy Editor Now a science and medicine journalist, Eleanor worked as a consultant for university spin-out companies and provided research support at Imperial College London and various London hospitals in a former life.

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