Will blockchain help us achieve a life expectancy of 120 years?

© Agence France-Presse

It's an issue in science that never seems to go away: the idea of extending the duration of human life is a subject that continues to fascinate scientists around the world. Now some significant progress in this field may result from a most unexpected source: the trending technology that is blockchain.

Blockchain could be used to help increase our life expectancy? Yes, you read that right! At least, that's the project of the Longevity Science Foundation, a Swiss non-profit organization. Launched by a consortium of clinicians, several research institutions and biotech specialists, this organization envisions spending more than $1 billion over the next ten years. Its goal? To find a way to extend the human lifespan to 120 years. 

The foundation is setting out to fund research, projects and institutions related to blockchain, but also other technologies in the aim of opening up new horizons in the domain. As for how the technology can help healthcare research, Garri Zmudze, associate director of LongeVC, explained to Cointelegraph that "if paired with AI, blockchain can unlock hundreds of terabytes of unstructured hospital data for further analysis."

Ethical and financial questions persist

First developed in 2008, blockchain is in essence a technology for storing and transmitting information. It offers high standards of transparency and security because it operates without any central governing body. More concretely, it allows its users to share data without going through an external intermediary.

Blockchain could allow for significant improvements in certain areas deemed "critical" by the foundation, in the hope of extending life expectancy. For example, it could improve predictive diagnostics to treat diseases as early as possible and thereby avoid complications. The data and statistics gathered could allow for a better understanding of certain diseases and how best to treat them even when they have been present for a long period of time. And personalized medicine would also progress by comparing the data of another human similar in terms of biological makeup in order to come up with treatments that are more adapted to a particular need. 

On its website, the foundation states that such projects could result in significant achievements when it comes to  human life expectancy within five years' time. To contribute to the research, the foundation is accepting donations, including in cryptocurrencies. Contributors will be able to vote on the selection of projects.

While this kind of initiative raises ethical questions -- do we really want to live to 120 and under what conditions? -- it also raises financial questions, as the sums announced are astronomical and the project remains somewhat mysterious. But there is no doubt that we will be hearing more about this foundation in the future. Meanwhile blockchain technology continues to find its way into a myriad of fields.