As the world (or at least a part of the world) moves towards bitcoin, there are few in the scientific community who are using the same technology behind bitcoin for a different purpose. Astroblocks, a project by Blockchain University graduates Dr. Jeff Flowers and Yvonne Tang is directed towards the most important aspect for the scientific community – establishing the proof of discovery or invention.
Astroblocks is a proof-of-existence platform for science and innovation. In order to use the system, the user logs into the Astroblocks web platform and describes his observation. The system uses OP_RETURN to place the hashed observation as an unspendable output on the bitcoin blockchain. With OP_RETURN, up to 40 bytes of non-transactional/non-payment data can be stored on the blockchain as transaction output. Once the data enters the blockchain, it is permanently etched into it. The hash determines the existence of data on the blockchain and it acts as a reference tag for that particular data.
Once the observation data is entered into the blockchain, the observation will be reviewed by a panel of experts, who receive a copy of the observation at a multi-signature address. Upon review, experts will use their own private keys associated with the multi-signature address to vote on the validity and legitimacy of the submitted data. During the whole review process, the author’s name will be hashed and kept obscured from the reviewers in order to prevent any conflict of interest or personal bias from influencing the process. Once the review process is completed, the author/observer will be able to see the results along with names of the panel members who reviews his observation.
Astroblocks has set out to revolutionize the way scientific research is conducted. Researchers can use Astroblocks as their lab journal where they can record their observations and get them reviewed as well. By doing so, they will be able to decide whether their experiment is progressing in accordance to the plan or not, and decide upon the further course of action. By recording the observations on blockchain regularly, any IP related disputes could be resolved easily. Astroblocks has the potential to change the way scientific publishing happens. Submission, review and approval can all happen over Astroblocks, effectively cutting down the time and cost involved.