The bitcoin community is notoriously generous, and donations to cancer research are no exception.
Isaac Yonemoto, a PhD scientist in chemistry and biophysics, is trying to raise money to complete work on a promising cancer fighting compound called 9DS in an initiative called Project Marilyn.
Yonemoto told CoinDesk:
"I'm raising money to finish preclinical experiments on the anticancer compound 9DS. Research on this compound has been abandoned twice, so third time's the charm."
Although it is still in the preclinical stage, according to the Project Marilyn website, 9DS has potential as an anti-cancer drug at some point. Some of the early signs indicate that it could be effective on kidney cancer, skin cancer and triple-negative breast cancer.
He continued: "9DS works by jamming up a cell's ability to copy its DNA. In order to copy itself, DNA needs to unzip like a zipper first. If you imagine something wedged in your zipper, that blocks it from unzipping, that's what 9DS does."
This research is going to be open sourced, a term normally used for software development. But Yonemoto is willing to think outside of the box.
"What we're doing differently from most preclinical research is that we're going to open source all of our work, and we're going to release whatever molecules we make without patents. Part of this is because without licensing use of the compound it will be more accessible to all parts of the world," he said.
He believes that champions of decentralized currencies would easily get on board with this type of concept, adding: "The Bitcoin protocol itself started on open-source software to bootstrap its trust model. So I think bitcoin users understand the other benefits of open source."
Yonemoto says that bitcoin validates some of the discouragement he has had with many popular economic ideas:
"I've been following monetary theory for a long time, and have been generally frustrated by mainstream economic theory ever since I tutored undergraduate [economics] concentrators in math at the University of Chicago."
"One of the things that excites me about bitcoin is that it will put to rest a lot of obviously wrong models about the nature of money that get blabbered about by economists."
Using bitcoin for this effort has not been easy, but Yonemoto believes that as the currency's potential lies ahead, it will be worth it in the long run:
"The protocol itself has so much potential. It's still young, so it's hard to find clients that implement all of the features that are baked in to the protocol. For this fundraising attempt, we'll have to do a lot of things 'the hard way' because there isn't a simple way to set things up. But I think those will come."
Yonemoto thinks that bitcoin donations for Project Marilyn are just the beginning for the currency's charitable potential.
"By donating to this you're helping to legitimize bitcoin as a transaction medium. One of my dreams is to be able to finance an original anti-cancer research idea - I have one percolating now - entirely off of bitcoin."
If you're interested in giving to Project Marilyn, check out the site's bitcoin donation page.
Cancer Research image via Shutterstock