Startup unveils approach to persuade people to sell genetic info: A new cryptocurrency

A startup known as Luna DNA has thought up a way to get people to contribute their DNA from at-home testing kits to the research community: bribe them with a new cryptocurrency, CNBC reports.

Though these samples contain data that could be valuable to researchers trying to understand diseases and develop new treatments, consumers often aren't interested in sharing this sensitive health information with scientists.

So, a group of researchers and engineers are launching a project in the first quarter of 2018 that offers to pay those to share the results from at-home DNA kits, which reveal their family histories and genetic predispositions.

Luna Coin, a product of Luna DNA, is a new type of cryptocurrency that will function as a utility coin, meaning it is designed for a specific purpose and not as an investment or security, according to CNBC. While other testing companies, like 23andMe, let users share their DNA for research, they don't pay them for it. 23andMe makes money by selling access to pharmaceutical makers instead.

Luna Coin is planning a token sale in early 2018, but the company's co-founder Michael Witz is uncertain how much Luna Coin could raise through the sale.

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