PRESS RELEASE: Over 1700 scientists and science students take part in the world’s first crypto-science airdrop as the Frankl token sale draws near.

Photo by SpaceX on Unsplash

One thousand, seven hundred and ninety-three people from the science community have signed up for the world’s first cryptocurrency airdrop for scientists.

The airdrop was conducted by Sydney-based start-up Frankl Open Science, co-founded by cognitive scientist Dr Jon Brock and blockchain technician Peter Godbolt.

“We’re building applications that help researchers collect, manage and share their data,” explains Brock. “We’re using blockchain technology to track data as it’s collected. And we’re creating the Frankl token to incentivise scientists to share their data and methods openly.”

Airdrops are widely used to generate interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain projects, but the Frankl airdrop was unique in being exclusive to scientists and science students.

“We wanted to use the airdrop to put the token in the hands of today’s and tomorrow’s scientists and really build a community around that,” says Godbolt.

Frankl airdrop participants included 89 PhD holders and 121 PhD candidates who are currently studying for a PhD.

“This is the really exciting part for me,” says Godbolt. “The Frankl community now includes well over 200 PhDs. These are people who have committed to a career in science, who understand the challenges that scientists face, and are now joining us on our journey.”

“The response to the airdrop has been incredible,” says Frankl’s Communications manager Elise Roberts. “There’s been a real network effect, where scientists have told their colleagues about Frankl and students have told their classmates. It shows how excited people are about the project.”

The scientists and students represented 91 different countries and every continent except Antarctica.

“The open science movement is irreversible and Frankl is a great step towards that,” says Professor Marco Romano-Silva, a neuroscientist at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil’s largest federal university. “Our main problems are funding, the excruciating publications fees journals are charging and the publication bias against developing countries by mainstream editorial boards. Decentralization using blockchain is the path to disrupt the vicious cycles in research.”

Sunny Kataria, a PhD student researching cell biology at the National Centre for Biological Science in Bangalore, India is excited about Frankl’s potential to improve scientific practices. “Open data sharing and open access research can really accelerate the field,” he says. “If we have access to all positive and negative data, the load of repeating what never worked in the first place will be exponentially reduced.”

The biggest airdrop response from African participants came from Nigeria. “Africa as a continent is rapidly adopting cryptocurrencies,” explains Babatunde Ololade, who is enrolled for an M.Sc in Actuarial Science at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. “I have so much interest in science and I’m a fan of cryptocurrencies,” he says. “In a case where the two come together, I know for sure it’s a great project for the world at large.”

Open science is the idea that science works best when it is conducted and reported openly and transparently. It has gained traction in recent years following the discovery that many established findings cannot be replicated by other scientists.

“Open science is important,” says Brock, “because it allows independent scientists to check and validate the conclusions of published research papers. Sharing your data and your methods openly also means that other researchers can repurpose them to address different scientific questions that you might not have thought of.”

“The problem is that managing your data in a way that other people can understand is difficult and time consuming and there’s no real incentive for scientists to do this. We are judged and rewarded based on how many papers we publish, not on whether we allowed other scientists and members of the community to build on our work. This is where Frankl comes in. We want to make open science both easy and rewarding for scientists,” says Brock.

The Frankl token is an ERC20 utility token on the Ethereum blockchain. The public token sale is scheduled for September 2018. Expressions of interest for information about the whitelist can be submitted here.