$1m funding for firm to develop blockchain publishing

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A database company has secured a $1m investment to develop technologies to allow researchers to publish data on the blockchain. The seed investment into MaterialsZone comes from Sarona Ventures, which has previously backed hi-tech startups and business accelerator programmes.

MaterialsZone estimates that 95 per cent of scientific research is inaccessible or lost due to concerns over intellectual property, little incentive for researchers to publish data, and a lack of platforms on which scientists can publish it. This means many researchers are reluctant to share their data, out of fear that their findings could be scooped by other researchers.

The company says it addresses these issues through a community-driven platform that allows researchers to share and sell their data. The platform is aimed at creating an open scientific data marketplace, incentivising laboratories and scientists worldwide to collaborate in the field of materials science. It uses blockchain technology to manage data transactions, protecting data from being altered, while keeping ownership (IP) in the hands of its creators, without one central entity controlling the database.

Company CEO Assaf Anderson said: 'Thousands of materials labs around the world rely on rigid patent systems and scientific publications that allow labs to share only a small part of their data. Therefore, around 95 per cent of data goes unpublished due to strains and complexities faced by researchers. Materials science is the most important driving force behind innovation, and unlocking this data in order to accelerate the discovery of new materials is the key to new technologies and solutions.'

Philippe Bouaziz, founder and chairman of Sarona Ventures, added: 'The vision of MaterialsZone combines revolution in materials science, along with blockchain technology, in which we see one of the most promising areas in the coming years. Our investment is an expression of our policy to foster innovation on the technology forefront, including the use of the most advanced technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence.'