Martin Shkreli—the notorious ex-pharmaceutical govt original from reformatory after his 2017 fraud conviction—announced his latest, eyebrow-raising enterprise this week: the creation of a blockchain-based Web3 drug discovery platform that traffics in his have cryptocurrency, MSI, aka Martin Shkreli Inu.

The platform, calm within the early fashion phase, is called Druglike, according to a press release that circulated on July 25. Its goals are ostensibly lofty, nonetheless the details are extremely sketchy, and Shkreli’s intentions have already drawn skepticism. It’s also unclear whether or not the enterprise will accelerate Shkreli afoul of his lifetime ban from the pharmaceutical industry, which stemmed from the abrupt and callous 4,000 p.c ticket hike of a life-saving drug that made him infamous.

Shkreli, who is named as a cofounder of Druglike, says the platform aims to make early-stage drug discovery more affordable and accessible. “Druglike will decide barriers to early-stage drug discovery, increase innovation and allow a broader team of contributors to share the rewards,” Shkreli said within the press release. “Underserved and underfunded communities, such as these targeted on rare diseases or in rising markets, will also take pleasure in access to these tools.”

Generally, early-stage drug fashion can typically involve virtual displays to title potential drug candidates. In these cases, pharmaceutical scientists first title a “target”—a explicit compound or protein that plays a critical operate in rising a disease or situation. Then researchers search for compounds or small molecules that may presumably intervene with that target, typically binding or “docking” straight to the target in a way that retains it from functioning. This can be achieved in physical labs the utilize of massive libraries of compounds in high-throughput chemical displays. Nonetheless it can also be achieved virtually, the utilize of specialized software and a lot of computing vitality, which can be useful resource-intensive.

Ideas and Questions

That’s where Shkreli’s Druglike is imagined to come back in. In a white paper posted on Druglike’s site, Shkreli-associated Jason Sommer lays out some concepts for the way the company’s platform would work. Essentially, it may presumably utilize a decentralized computing community of task suppliers, solvers, and validators that would accelerate and optimize the virtual screening of drug candidates. The white paper draws similarities to FoldIt, an on-line puzzle game that essentially makes utilize of allotted computing and crowdsourcing to fold proteins and predict their buildings.

But Druglike’s platform is touted as incorporating blockchain concepts and cryptocurrency transactions when users total tasks, such as docking displays. For instance, the paper describes a “proof-of-optimization” principle as a “original” blockchain-based verification step for screening work, similar to Bitcoin’s “proof-of-work” way.

“We indicate a blockchain-based implementation of Proof-of-Optimization, where a allotted ledger stores information of which proof alternatives belong to which Solvers. Smart contracts allow steady distribution of rewards to the Solver who owns the verified proof,” Sommer writes within the paper.

But, for now, the white paper fully loosely describes these concepts, and it’s unclear how the cryptocurrency transactions will generate value. It’s also unclear how the mission can be funded, though an on-line exchange advised that the company may presumably search for enterprise capital financing.

On Twitter, where Shkreli has been banned, he at the second has an account as Enrique Hernandez @zkEnrique7. From there, Shkreli announced the company on July 25 and hosted a conversation regarding the mission.

In that conversation, he scoffed at the idea that the platform would breach his lifetime ban from the pharmaceutical industry, saying that the mission fully entails rising software, not medication. “Writing some code in Github and urgent ‘dawdle’ would not make you a pharmaceutical company,” he said.

This sage originally appeared on Ars Technica.