Recently, a new patent application has been filed in the United States of America. This patent done by Intel makes a bold suggestion. And that is, Intel, one of the world’s largest technology giants is developing a way to harness the power of cryptocurrency mining to be used to innovate the sequencing of genetic data. To do this, they will use energy produced by mining for the purpose of sequencing.
But what does it say exactly on the patent? It states, the patent application was first filed on June of 2016 – and released later by the United States Patent and Trademark Office recently. The main investors, Ned Smith and Rejesh Poornanchandran described it as a specialized computer called a Sequence Mining Platform SMP. It would be able to be used to easily identify the specific orders of different nucleobases in a deoxyribonucleic acid chain commonly known as DNA. And it would also work with RNA or ribonucleic acid.
Apparently, the nucleobases are the made of specific molecules in the DNA and RNA. They contain the needed genetic information found in every single living organism on the planet. The specific order of these bases is used to determine the physical traits that make an individual unique or the same can be said for animals as well.
The new patent application also makes a note about SMP and how it would use a nucleobases sequencing unit. The reason is, it would be able to create and establish the correct order of nucleobases with a given sample. It would then be verifiable through the blockchain technology, at lease before it could be permanently recorded with.
The filing basically explains that the current disclosure is used to introduce different methods and apparatuses to accomplish specialized work that is said to be highly useful. It works in conjunction with blockchain technology for mining. Specifically, the exact methods used as well as apparatuses for processing power and data to determine the exact sequences in the nucleobases in nucleic acid. It’s then used to determine the sequences of nucleobases for the bases of a new type of blockchain technology.
The specialized combination of blockchain technology as well as genetic sequencing isn’t new by any means. And there have been other startups like genecoin have already highlighted how mining’s intense energy consumption and processes can be applied and used with scientific purposes.
Intel’s application of the proof-of-work algorithms has made it unlikely that a hacker or group of them would be able to attack or hijack the new blockchain. But, not like POW systems used with larger currencies like bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains, the one mentioned in Intel’s proposed design would be multipurpose. It would also result in entirely new blockchains that would be able to simultaneously determine the genetic sequence from the provided data.
The POW algorithm could then be used to identify sequences and then verify them. The application as well as the sequence being recorded on it would be used as a base for the proof of work systems and any problems that would happen on the next block