SENS Research Foundation Now Accepts Bitcoin Donations

The SENS Research Foundation remains the only easy way for ordinary folk such as you and I to donate funds in certainty that we are helping to advance the state of rejuvenation biotechnology. It is also the only easy way for someone with a few million to spend to do the same, for that matter. The organization funds research programs and advocacy aimed at pushing past zones of slow progress and neglect in relevant fields of medical research, so as to speed the arrival of treatments for degenerative aging. There is a clear plan, but a lot to be done.

Thus while the well-funded stem cell and cancer research communities need little help beyond a few nudges to keep them on the right road, these are only two of seven areas of research in which significant advances are required in order to eliminate age-related disease and extend healthy lifespans by decades or more. There is far too little work taking place on clearance of senescent cells, or removing cross-links in old tissues, or mitochondrial repair, or breaking down the numerous forms of amyloid and other metabolic wastes that clog up important cellular processes. In all these areas the SENS Research Foundation is one of the few organizations persistently finding ways to move the needle, to speed things up, to bring more attention to the field. The scope of success here is at present only limited by funding: there are any number of scientists in the aging research community who would drop their present work in favor of SENS biotechnology to treat aging given the budget.

With that in mind, here is a little news for those who might have a few bitcoins left over after all the excitement of the past eighteen months or so:

Donate to SENS Research Initiatives via Bitcoin

SENS Research Foundation is now able to accept Bitcoin donations: go to https://www.coinbase.com/srf and make the donation. Coinbase keeps your information confidential, so we don't see the donor. If you would like a tax receipt for your donation please send us your name and the amount of your donation via email.

Bitcoin remains an interesting endeavor, not for what most people think of as bitcoin itself, a payment system and currency, but rather for the underlying combination of cryptography and profit incentives that enables the maintenance of a reliable distributed ledger without the need for a centralized ledger-keeper. Any such ledger-keeper can be easily compromised by a determined attacker, whether criminal or representative of the state, and there is considerable value in a system that is inherently resistant to that sort of attack. The greater the participation in this system, the more secure it becomes: attackers would need immense resources to overwhelm the ledger, and they couldn't do so invisibly.

Rapid transfer of value between two parties anywhere in the world with no intermediary via bitcoins is really the least of what can be achieved with this sort of a system. The real value here isn't a currency, it is trust. You should think of the distributed ledger as a trust engine: the many computing mills churning away around the world on simple cryptographic algorithms are less engaged in mining bitcoins than they are in generating and ensuring trust. Thus programmable contracts are potentially much more valuable than bitcoin transfer, even considering only the simplest possibilities such as timed release of property or escrow without the need for a trusted third party to hold funds. Future iterations of the distributed ledger implementation will no doubt improve upon the options available, but the basic concept is here for the long term I think.

Comments

Did SENS really have to shackle themselves to this?

The real problem with Bitcoin is, like any other fiat currency, it's solely backed by people's belief in it. You can multiply and divide huge numbers all you like; the difficulty of doing that does not give Bitcoin value (as it doesn't give value to any of the many alt-coins out there, most of which have far surpassed Bitcoin in technical aspects). Bitcoin's book value has slowly ground farther and farther down as the fad dies out.

Accepting Bitcoin is a sign of desperately needing acceptance from the people who use Bitcoin. Does not instill confidence at all.

Posted by: Slicer at February 9th, 2015 6:37 PM

@Slicer: Amazon, Target, Expedia.com, Bloomberg, Square, Kmart, Home Depot, and a range of other large companies all accept Bitcoin. They are acknowledging the potential for growth and offering an additional convenience to their customers. They wouldn't be doing it if there wasn't demand for it, and I scarely think one can lose face by adopting a payment method used by Amazon and Target.

Posted by: Reason at February 9th, 2015 7:01 PM

Also, would be nice if now you can donate towards one or more programs that you would like to support more or want to develop faster.

Let's say from $100 donation (or 100 bitcoins, etc) 30% goes towards whatever SENS consider critical, but rest of 70% can go towards what person who donates chose to support.

For example, I personally would like to see moving faster towards market: ApoptoSENS, RepleniSENS, OncoSENS and MitoSENS.

This way, I think people will be encouraged more to donate, as they feel empowered.

Posted by: Adrian Crisan at February 9th, 2015 9:25 PM

@Slicer

Coinbase will let SENS instantly convert the Bitcoin into dollars when they receive them. What it is or isn't doesn't matter.

Personally, I love the upside of Bitcoin and think it's a great thing to see SENS open the door. Hopefully SENS will do more with this and other general tech in the future.

@Reason

I'm not sure about the rest but Amazon and Target do not accept direct Bitcoin.

Posted by: Johnathan at February 10th, 2015 12:13 AM

@Adrian Crisan - I think being able to donate to individual projects is basically second guessing the SENS Research Foundation on what is most important, or most in need of funds. Also part of the idea behind the SENS Foundation is that ALL forms of damage need to be repaired in order to have a real impact.

Donating to specific progrmas would have the advantage of being able to run more specific funding drives. But perhaps it is better to fund the early stage research with general appeals. Once something gets to a point where someone can consider trying to commercialize it (e.g. Senolytic drugs/treatments for Senescent cells by Oisin Biotechnology) then people can start throwing their support behind specific programs.

Posted by: Jim at February 10th, 2015 2:25 AM

I agree with Jim I think the best placed people to prioritise research projects are the people on the front lines who have the best idea of what should be done first. Also giving donators the option to choose projects could risk blinding people with science and put off otherwise interested people.

Bit coin is fine for those who wish to use it, for those that do not that is fine too IMO.

Senolytic therapies are showing real promise so it would be good to see this area developed fully soon.

Posted by: Steve H at February 10th, 2015 6:53 AM

@ Jim and Steve H - my point is not to "second guess SENS", but to empower people and make them donate more.
@ Steve H - I totally disagree with the idea that by doing it so they will "put off otherwise interested people" - in contrary, people will be tempted to donate more if they see that part of their donation goes to their favorite project.
I think it's basic human psychology.
Let's face it, as of now SENS has a big funding issue, if we want to see their work proven soon, we need to accelerate the funding and have them test it in real life. Any meaningful way to grow donations towards accelerating their research and finalize it, should be considered. Otherwise it will be couple centuries until they will reach to results with this level of funding.

Posted by: Adrian C at February 10th, 2015 11:12 AM

I agree with Slicer, it is a sign of desperation. The only 'legitimate' use for bitcoin is money laundering.

Posted by: JohnD at February 10th, 2015 5:41 PM

JohnD, luckily it's not you who decides what is the only legitimate use for bitcoins. Plenty of people use bitcoins for something else than money laundering (US dollar is still better for that purpose by the way), and their number is growing monthly.

Had we been in 1993, you probably would have said that the only 'legitimate' use for Internet is pedophilia.

Some Bitcoiners became very rich due to the price appreciation, are smart, and are very future and tech-oriented. This makes a lot of sense for SENS to accept Bitcoin.

Besides the rich guys, the payment experience with bitcoins is seamless, there is no fee and the payment can be made from anywhere in the world whithout current geographical constraints that exist with Paypal and credit card providers and the payment system has tremendous growth potential. Really adding bitcoin is a no brainer for any merchant or non-profit organisation which has made a good due diligence.

Posted by: BldSwtTrs at February 11th, 2015 6:39 AM

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