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NFTs of Nobel-Linked Work

The University of California, Berkeley, is auctioning non-fungible tokens linked to digitized versions of patent disclosures for two Nobel Prize-winning research projects.

According to the university, it will be auctioning NFTs associated with Jennifer Doudna's CRISPR-Cas9 work and with James Allison's immunotherapy work, for which they won Nobel Prizes in 2020 and 2018, respectively. NFTs rely on blockchains to provide a certificate of authenticity for digital objects, in this case the patent disclosure paperwork. The university is to retain ownership of the patents.

"Someone might ask, 'Why would I want a digital version of some internal university form?' Because it represents something magnificent," Rich Lyons, UC Berkeley's chief innovation & entrepreneurship officer, says in a statement. The funds raised through the auction are to go toward research and innovation at Berkeley.

These aren't the first genome-related NFTs. In April, Nebula Genomics announced it was putting up George Church's genome — Harvard's Church is a co-founder of the company — for sale as an NFT.