Crypto leaders are obsessed with life extension. Here’s why

Blockchain communities are embracing, and funding, life extension technologies. The link stretches back to the cypherpunks' crossover with the transhumanists.

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin is on a mission to make humans immortal. Buterin, 27, proposes the idea that “aging is an engineering problem.” 

He is not alone in his combined interest in Bitcoin and biohacking. Famous biomedical aging researcher Aubrey de Grey, Xanadu architect and Agoric chief scientist Mark Miller, Bitcoin Cash billionaire Roger Ver and former chief technology officer of Coinbase and a16z general partner Balaji Srinivasan, are all fascinated by the pursuit of longevity.

De Grey recently helped launch VitaDAO, a “decentralized collective funding longevity research.” He says:

“I have been gratified since the beginning of blockchain to see the enormous fanbase that I and the longevity movement have in there.”

Miller, alongside his engineering hall-of-fame accomplishments, is a senior research fellow at the Foresight Institute, a not-for-profit founded in 1986 with the aim of “advancing technology for the long-term benefit of life.”

“I’m very much involved in this new world of crypto commerce, often referred to as the blockchain sector,” he says. “I’m very hopeful about that as creating an ecosystem in which secure software will dominate because insecure software results in massive losses quickly, with no recourse.”

Srinivasan’s Twitter bio describes his vision as: “Immutable money, infinite frontier, eternal life. #Bitcoin.” Srinivasan states that “the ultimate purpose of technology is to eliminate mortality” and “life extension is the most important thing we can invent.”

Blockchain communities are clearly excited about longevity. But what does cryptocurrency have to do with life extension, and where might this future be headed?

It turns out that the link between crypto and cryogenics stretches back to core contributors, and the Cypherpunks mailing list and its links to transhumanist groups, including the first person to transact Bitcoin with Satoshi, Hal Finney.

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