Roy Gilbert

NFTs Linked to Nobel Prizes Are Being Auctioned by Berkeley

How much will someone be willing to pay for a few pages of quarter-century-old bureaucratic university paperwork that have been turned into a blockchain-encoded piece of digital art?

The University of California, Berkeley, hopes quite a bit, and it is about to find out.

Berkeley announced on Thursday that it will auction the first of two digital art pieces known as nonfungible tokens, or NFTs, next week. The object being offered is based on a document called an invention and technology disclosure. That’s the form that researchers at Berkeley fill out to alert the university about discoveries that have potential to be turned into lucrative patents.

The title of the invention, from 1996, is “Blockade of T-Lymphocyte Down-Regulation Associated with CTLA-4 Signalling.”

The university hopes that potential bidders will be attracted to an early description of a revolutionary approach to treating cancer developed by James P. Allison , then a professor at Berkeley. He found a way to turn off the immune system’s aversion to attacking tumors and he showed that it worked in mice.

That advance eventually led to the creation of Yervoy, a drug for the treatment of metastatic melanoma, and Dr. Allison, who is now at the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas, shared the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2018 .

Thus, the Berkeley disclosure form could be thought of as the scientific equivalent of Mickey Mantle’s rookie baseball card — a memento of the beginnings of greatness.“I think of it almost as a history of science artifact,” […]

Tagged on: