Belgian PhD Student Decodes DNA and Wins a Bitcoin
Sander Wuyts, a Ph.D. student from the University of Antwerp (UAntwerp) and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) completed an extraordinary competition that involved bitcoin and DNA-related research. Wuyts was the first to decipher hidden messages in a tube of DNA in a scientific challenge where he won a single bitcoin for his accomplishment.
Sander Wuyts has earlier doubts about the feasibility of using DNA to store DNA to store data but this new technology that the developed, he is confident that the technology has great opportunities in future.
Back in 2015, the European Bioinformatics Institute professor, Nick Goldman, gave a presentation at the World Economic Forum in Davos that showed how DNA was an excellent method for storing data. Goldman says that DNA can last longer than existing thumb drives and today’s standard storage technology.
Following the presentation, Goldman started a contest for students called the “DNA Storage Bitcoin Challenge”. The competition involved individuals trying to decipher messages in a tube of DNA, and the deadline was January 21, 2018. When Goldman launched the contest, a bitcoin was only worth a few hundred dollars, and now the DNA contest prize was worth over $11,000. At the end of the professor’s presentation, sample tubes were handed out in Davos, and the tubes contained “the necessary information to claim the one bitcoin.
Although Goldman’s contest is the first time that DNA has been used to store the private key to cryptocurrencies, his point was to draw attention to the amazing potential of DNA as a long-term storage option. This new method of storing information is already being investigated by companies like Microsoft, which wants to add DNA data storage to its cloud, and as a potential solution to humanity’s mounting data problem.
Who knows, maybe DNA storage will be the popular new way to store the private keys to your cryptocurrency as well?