DeSci Summit Denver 2023 Recap


ETHDenver, the annual Ethereum hackathon and conference, took place from February 24 to March 5, in Denver, Colorado. The event brought together blockchain developers, entrepreneurs, and enthusiasts from around the world to discuss the latest trends and innovations in the Ethereum ecosystem. At this event, where discussions, announcements, and social activities are held on many topics, the DAOs in the ecosystem had the opportunity to take the stage at DAODenver, which is one of the biggest side events of ETHDenver. Let's take a look at some of the highlights from the talks of these DAOs.


Andrew Verbinnen, co-initiator of HairDAO, delivered a presentation on HairDAO’s behalf after successfully realizing the IP-NFT mint and transfer on February 16, and achieving great success in the token auction, with 5.7x more funds raised than the target. He began by asking, "Why don’t people accept their teeth falling out, but everybody seems to accept their hair falling out?" and he highlighted the lack of effective solutions for hair loss. Andrew emphasized that this problem is not caused by science or technology but the lack of funding and said that crypto technology is an excellent way to solve this problem.

Andrew also pointed out the lack of incentives for hair loss research, noting that the NIH allocates only a small amount of 5 million dollars to hair loss research and that the hair loss market, valued at approximately 7 billion dollars, consists only of hair transplants and drugs like Minoxidil and Finasteride, which do not provide an effective solution and have major side effects. Even if HairDAO only invests $1m into hair loss research, that is already a 20% increase in funding for the industry. He discussed the importance of in-depth research on this issue and the involvement of qualified professors. At this point, the HairDAO community got involved and was established to find a solution for hair loss.

Andrew criticized the 2 biggest players in this field, Hims as well as Roman, for being too oriented on short-term profits instead of long-term value creation, spending their income entirely on marketing instead of on R&D, and conducting operations behind closed doors. In contrast, Andrew emphasized that HairDAO is research-oriented, operates in a completely transparent manner, and enables patients to have a say in the funds allocated for research and other issues, thanks to the HAIR tokens.

Andrew mentioned that Hair DAO has started T3/T4 thyroid hormone tests with Ralf Paus, one of the most qualified professors in this sector, along with the IP-NFT that they recently minted. Andrew mentioned the following points about HairDAO:

- By skipping universities, basic research costs can be reduced by up approximately 50% with HairDAO.

- A patient portal has been created with the help of DB DAO. Together with the HAIR token and the Discord community, it can streamline the clinical testing environment, resulting in more funding for R&D.

- HairDAO will be able to obtain relevant genomic and therapeutic data from the community for early-stage research and clinical testing.


On behalf of AthenaDAO, Amy Zhen began her presentation by stating that their mission is to lead a decentralized global community-enabled platform driving translational and transformative women’s health research, education, and funding for women's health, starting with research and development (R&D). Amy noted the low number of women interested in crypto and the healthcare industry's lack of focus on women's health issues, with only 1% of the $198 billion invested in healthcare each year being dedicated to women's conditions. At AthenaDAO, they aim to solve this problem by bringing together researchers, community members, and funders on a blockchain network and using new funding mechanisms such as community tokens, which serve as governance tokens to voting on projects under review through the AthenaDAO.

The speaker also spoke about AthenaDAO's accessibility and public access to the Reproductive Health Report, a report that delves into myths about women's conditions such as ovarian aging, the myth of IVF and menopause. The report is public, and she stated that all money from this project goes only to the contributors, researchers, and designers. AthenaDAO also hosts events to help build the future of women's health, and Amy invited anyone interested in contributing or receiving funding to join the AthenaDAO. Amy also shared some key milestones, such as being selected for the first cohort from, presenting the first summary at the ECA, and having ten preselected high-caliber projects on ovarian aging. She closed by saying that the AthenaDAO will launch a token in April that will be part of the community voting process used to choose the topics of pre-selected projects.

Join them as a contributing professional in this important mission to drive positive change in the world of women's health! To explore projects where you can contribute your skills and experience with AthenaDAO, join their Discord, reach them through DMs on Twitter, or reach out to Ezanne (Ezanne#0386) on DMs in Discord to navigate you to the right founding member! 


Beginning his speech by introducing ValleyDAO as a synthetic biology innovation ecosystem that provides financing and manufacturing solutions, Zenos Thoreson, a contributor to ValleyDAO, emphasized the significance of synthetic biology. He pointed out that our natural resources on Earth are gradually diminishing, leading to several issues. Zenos stated that their goal is to offer solutions to challenges related to research funding, commercialization, and secure places for research sharing, which he considers time-wasting compared to conducting research collaboratively with ValleyDAO.

To tackle these issues, ValleyDAO, a diverse community of experts, plans to launch a GROW token that will fund projects, increase funding, and provide incentives such as GROWpass and early investor access to GROW token holders. Furthermore, GROW token holders will be able to participate in the voting process. Zenos expressed their ambition to be part of the multi-trillion-dollar synthetic biology industry by investing in early-stage projects. He then elaborated on the IP-NFT mechanism and its benefits.

Zenos also shared information on the first three projects they are working on, which include sustainable palm oil production, high-performance biomaterials, and software that accelerates metabolic engineering. He concluded by stating that these projects are only the beginning of their endeavors.

They will be at Zuzalu for the Synbiobeta conference along with Vitalik, Drew Endy from Standford, Jason Kelly, Founder & CEO of Ginkgo Bioworks and many more.


Benji Leibowitz, a product manager of Molecule and contributor at VitaDAO, titled his talk "To Be or Not to Be Forever" and gave a talk about the importance of working on longevity which is the mission of VitaDAO and refuting counter arguments against it. 

Benji addressed four main arguments against longevity: the environmentalist argument, the immortal dictatorship argument, death being a natural part of life, and there being more important problems to work on. Benji refuted these arguments one by one and presented data showing that population growth is decreasing, and life expectancy is increasing, leading to an aging population and potential burden on the medical system. He argued that working on longevity can help reduce this burden and avoid passing on healthcare bills to future generations.

He also said that older politicians have the most training data, and prolonging their mental faculties would benefit society. He questioned the belief that death is natural and argued that living as long as biotechnology enables is an extension of our inalienable rights to life and the pursuit of happiness. Benji acknowledged the complexity of the human body's design and suggested that applying evolutionary pressure may be necessary to achieve longevity.

Afterward, Benji emphasized that VitaDAO aims to fund and support research into the hallmarks of aging. He criticized the existing medical system for profiting from unhealthy products and trying to make people addicted while only treating them at the end of their lives. Benji explained that the VitaDAO’s approach is to fund research and acquire intellectual property rights through the use of IP NFTs. He highlighted that any proceeds from the research are reinvested back into the DAO's treasury, similar to a university endowment. Benji stated that VitaDAO needs everyone's help to operate, including those who want to contribute, community contributors, longevity scientists, doctors, biotech developers, and DAO tooling builders, among other diverse individuals, to join them in this movement and help them.

Johannes Weniger, a core team member of, explained that is an accelerator program that offers grants for biotech DAOs and a network of builders, developers, and scientists to launch a BioDAO and fund research. He highlighted key milestones in the program, including creating a multisig, improving DeSci language messaging, defining a research audience, funding research with an IP NFT, and raising funds.

Johannes strongly recommended attending the Demo Day to learn more about cohort 1 and the DAOs on the network, which include VitaDAO, PsyDAO, ValleyDAO, AthenaDAO, HairDAO, and CryoDAO.

He closed by mentioning the various services provided by, such as Branding & Design, Legal Engineering, Governance and Operations, Community Building, Dealflow Process Implementation, Tokenomics, Incentives & Fundraising, and Technical IP-NFT Integrations. He also shared a useful life hack for all Discord admins, watch the 10 minute presentation here:


During the LabDAO presentation, Josh McMenemy, a computational biologist at LabDAO, discussed a project undertaken by the LabDAO community, written by Kelvin and Stanley respectively. The project involved predicting the structure and ligand binding of the influenza A virus protein using cutting-edge tools such as Alpha Fold and Diffdoc.

Josh went on to explain that their next objective was to develop a platform called PLEx, utilizing technologies such as IPFS, Bacalhau, and Docker. The goal of PLEx is to enable biologists at LabDAO to compare small molecule insertion tools and make informed decisions on which tool is best suited for their work.

He highlighted that the PLEx platform will provide easy access to comparison data, giving biologists valuable insights into the advantages and limitations of each tool. This will allow them to select the most effective tool for their specific needs and work more efficiently.  Josh concluded his presentation by emphasizing the potential benefits of PLEx in improving the accuracy and efficiency of small molecule insertion in biological research.


During the presentation, Kai Micah Mills, a core team member of CryoDAO, discussed the organization's mission of advancing cryopreservation research. Specifically, Kai focused on whole body cryopreservation and cryopreservation of the brain as a means of placing the body into stasis and preventing death until all causes of death can be eliminated - not just aging, which is the primary focus of current research efforts. Kai stated that the majority of current research focuses on aging, which is only one of the causes of death, and stated that there are many causes of death and they focus on eliminating all these causes.

 He explained that cryopreservation involves exposing the body to extremely low temperatures (-196°C) combined with specialized cryoprotectants to prevent ice formation. Kai gave examples of successful cryopreservation experiments, such as the preservation of a rabbit kidney and the retention of memories in C. elegans. He also mentioned ongoing research projects, such as the development of a medication that mimics the first step in the cryopreservation procedure and the uniform rewarming of whole organs.

Kai emphasized the need for more funding and research in cryopreservation and called for more people to join the field, including funders, researchers, and anyone excited about the technology. Kai encouraged the audience to visit CryoDAO's website and join their Discord to learn more about their research projects.


Overall, ETHDenver was a dynamic and engaging event that brought together a diverse community of blockchain enthusiasts to explore the latest developments in the Ethereum ecosystem. The event showcased the potential of blockchain technology to transform industries and create new opportunities for innovation and social impact.