Unstoppable Venture Science

The Institute for Venture Science performs “high-risk, high-return” experiments to provoke scientific breakthroughs.

Consider their mission statement:

IVS is a “black swan” incubator for open discovery of paradigm changing insights. By managing modest investments in open exploration of ideas that possibly have enormous ramifications for humanity, IVS increases the likelihood of major breakthroughs.

Unsurprisingly, they’ve struggled to gain institutional support, and instead fund themselves through private donations.

Imagine decentralized venture science.

The platform might work something like this:

  1. Crowdsource funds (perhaps via mirror.xyz)

  2. Perform experiment

  3. List resulting paper on Ideamarket

Such a design would not only establish an on-chain crowdfunding platform for scientific experiments, but add 3 unprecedented benefits:

  • Persuasion

  • Profit (not just donations)

  • Peer-review via skin in the game

Persuasion

As scientists well know, changing minds is hard.

By offering a big payday for being right, Ideamarket reduces the social cost of being wrong. This psychologically frees people to listen to one another and arrive at new conclusions, taboos be damned.

Ideamarket is fundamentally a persuasion mechanism — it harnesses greed to empower curiosity. It could therefore create an unprecedented incentive landscape for the discovery and dissemination of scientific breakthroughs.

(Ideamarket also changes the metaphor around science from “fact-crusading” to “risk management.” Here’s why that’s important.)

Profit

Scientists have already begun to crowdsource funding for experiments using NFTs.

But to the extent scientists must depend on “donors” and “collectors,” funding is limited.

That’s why the next step is to list the resulting papers on Ideamarket.

By directing interest generated by Ideamarket upvotes to NFT holders, Ideamarket strengthens the buy case for science-funding NFTs, and provides long-term income for both scientists and their early supporters.

Peer review via skin-in-the-game

Markets add a new depth dimension to scientific scrutiny, of which the scientific community seems to be in dire need:

Dr. Richard Horton, Editor in Chief of the Lancet, in 2015:

“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.” (source)

This sentiment was echoed by Dr. Marcia Angell, Editor in Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine:

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of the New England Journal of Medicine” (source)

Ideamarket's results won't be “the truth” any more than peer review’s results are “the truth” — but they will be like the truth in the same way: the product of a rigorous vetting process. Adding a market layer to peer review can only improve signal.

This is the future👇

Imagine a future where the public can fund any scientific study it wants, no matter how outrageous or unlikely or playful, and profit in the process.

Scientists gain independence from institutional bureaucracy, and reclaim their exalted status as humanity’s ambassadors into the unknown.

Breakthrough knowledge spreads as fast as hot startups, because anyone can make money by spreading it.

Scientific literacy offers a permanent and irrepressible bounty, conveying curious geniuses out of poverty all over the world.

Join us on Discord to start making this a reality.

—Mike

P.S. Here’s this post as a tweet. If you think this kind of platform could accelerate discovery even a tiny bit, please share.