There are many things that we all would like to see realized, but no individual has an incentive to contribute to. Assurance Contracts have a novel payoff structure. We pre-commit to take an action —such as giving x amount of $/BTC/other cryptocurrency to the longevity/journalism/open source project of our choice— if and only if enough others commit to do the same to reach a critical threshold. Dominant assurance contract have the added condition that if the funding benchmark isn’t reached, the provider pays a prize to the pledgers. Pledging becomes a dominant strategy, or in Tabarrok’s words, “a no-lose proposition—if enough people pledge you get the public good and if not enough pledge you get the prize.”

This meeting is part of the Nanotech: Molecular Machines and accompanying book draft.


Enabling Applications of Nano/Micro Machines

With the expense of atomic precision, we should have killer applications where nano machines are the only way to really solve a problem.
A killer application is gels that can be turned into glass and glass can be turned into gel by active particle tuning rheology. With this methodology, the momentum of the nano particles is transferred to the solvent allowing for active tuning between the liquid-glass states.
Another killer application is chemotaxis as a way of speeding up reaction times and guiding movement and assembly across a gradient.
Reaction times can be sped up by either directing particle movement towards specific targets with diffusive motion across a gradient, or by pumping fluid across a target channel. The proximity enabled by movement speeds up catalysis with time of reaction moving from weeks to hours. The pumping is powered by the analyte chemical. In Tandem Catalysis, the physical chemotaxis proximity is what accelerates the reaction or minimizes byproducts.

Enzyme pumps are a new class of technology based on energy released form a chemical reaction when an analyze is present. There is no fuel source needed because the target molecule for the sensor is the fuel source.

Fluid pumps can be attached to a substrate that function as both sensors and as pumps that activate only when their analyze is present. Some challenges include the specificity of analyzes as a fuel source and connecting that back to a motive force for each analyze, and the relationships between the analyte concentration, reaction rates, and the pumping velocity.

There are several very near term applications of these pumps; they can be used for neutralizing nerve agents with apparent efficacy. Other promising applications include curing diabetes, or drug delivery. An example is an enzyme pump that releases insulin in relation to the presence of glucose.

How can we better foster collaborative output in our fledgling field of molecular machines and atomic precise design?

We could create a Multi-investigator center that fosters research through the scaling process and connecting emerging technologies with end users.

We could make a matrix of molecular motors that already exist and assign properties to each one. With the application of machine learning we can determine the best candidates in our matrix to fit together into larger molecular precise assemblies. SVM classifiers are Support Vector Machines; a type of machine learning that assigns new data points to one of the categories. With enough detail of data points in the table, this type of machine learning can stitch together the best candidates in the table to assemble together based on their geometry, chemistry, and other matching characteristics.

In fact, Foresight already began work on a table of existing molecular components that is being filled in with characteristics by participants in our field. Reach out to us if you would like to help contribute!

Covalent designs atomic precise membranes with radical new properties derived from their atomic precision. A first product out of Covalent is Agua Via, producing an affordable water filter that has several incredible new holy grail of the industry properties; no fouling, gravity pressure, can be used in diverse applications, and no need for many standard practices and design principles that are needed to support previous water filter designs. For these reasons Agua Via is able to provide the highest quality, most flexible, and affordable water filter that is on the market.

The valley of death is the gap between the government funding, university funding, and the gap to private sector funding. The biggest challenge for us is education. Investors do not see the radical engineering, production, and material properties benefits that are obvious to all of us who are in this field of molecular machines and atomic precise materials. Investors must be educated, and education is a major roadblock.

As difficult as it is to receive grants, the private equity fundraising scene for atomic precise molecular building block products is a completely new level of pain and anguish for the entrepreneur commercializing technology in our field.

We started with a single investor from our network who already comprehended molecular precise nanotechnology and who already shared our vision. We moved on to grants as a means of hedging the highest risk research. Now we are closing a friends and family round at the same time that we are about to move on to debt financing to launch the manufacturing of our products.

We are creating the Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google companies of our field. However we are still perceived as 1980s telecom that is boring, never changes, never disrupts, has no apps, no iPhone. We are at the same point of the industry development, where only a handful of people can see the transformative applications that are on the near horizon.

We do not recommend a license model for most molecular machines startups. Only Roughly 20% of investors will invest in a license model. We tailored our business model to fit the investors that we found. This also allows us to silo different types of applications of our technologies to match different investor preferences with different industries.

We can maintain a high level of control of our technology to ensure that we reach the full vision of atomic precise nanotechnology without compromising with institutional or status quo investors. At the same time we are capable of overseeing the roll-out of our technology stack into different industries with a high degree of quality control for the end consumer with no risk of franchisee  misinterpretation or misapplication of the technologies.

Here is a brief overview of our business model.

With the breakthrough moon shot capabilities of atomic precision becoming a reality now not only in the lab but also beginning to push through into  commercialization we are capable of radically transforming lives. Just one implementation of one type of atomic precise membrane can dramatically change lives, save lives, and prevent war.

So let’s get out there and let’s make technology that seems impossible because we know how to do it, we have the capability to do it now, and there are so many needs unmet.

Q&A 1

How does a dominance assurance contract solve the free-rider problem? The mayor requiring participation seems to not reflect in other uses.

  • Alex: Everyone signs up for the bonus right up until someone pushes it over the threshold, so all equilibria in theory are success states.


Why did your experimental subjects ever not contribute?

  • Alex: Well… there’s real money on the line, so there is positive incentive, but not really opportunity costs or other costs: they’re already in the lab.


What about projects that should NOT be funded but get funded because folks want the bonus?

  • Alex: Yeah you’re right… There could be a concept of Force Riders: folks jump on the wagon for bonuses and others are forced to pay for goods they didn’t want to pay for. We should study this.
  • Other: You see this in practice on the Gitcoin platform: projects boasting kickbacks and promises of future airdrops for supporting garner outsized support. They’re having to play with these incentive structures in the field to shoot for outcomes on the platform.


Kickstarter isn’t really producing public goods, because the whole idea is that you’ll get a public good even if you don’t contribute

  • Unanimous contract was the older solution to the same problem: you have a list of the people that would benefit, you have a price for each at or below what you believe to be the value of the good to each person. In a perfect information environment everyone agrees and the good is created. But in practice to can’t find these prices and things go awry.
  • In the unanimous case, The Dominant Assurance contract slightly increases the likelihood of everyone signing but costs more if you have to pay out bonuses, so doesn’t seem like really an improvement.


What is the most exciting near and long-term use case of these contracts?

  • Alex: Local public goods make a lot of sense to me: improving your neighborhood. And of course, smart contract based funding systems for blockchain protocols changes could certainly be a use case.




Seminar summary by  Tim Potter.