The First NFT To Be Minted from Human Poop Will Fund Autism Research

Caitlin Cook
Caitlin Cook is an editorial intern at dot.LA, currently earning her master's degree in mass communication from California State University, Northridge. A devoted multimedia journalist with an interest in both tech and entertainment, Cook also works as a reporter and production assistant for MUSE TV. She got her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Filmmaking from University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
The First NFT To Be Minted from Human Poop Will Fund Autism Research

Just when the world thought the NFT craze couldn't get more strange, Matty Mo walked into the picture.

The contemporary artist announced an auction of his new non-fungible token "The Most Sh*ttiest NFT," this week.

The NFT, a 360-degree video of a sculpture made by Mo, is the first NFT ever to be minted using human fecal matter -- Mo's own, to be revoltingly exact. Proceeds from the sale will go towards funding research on the relationship between gut health and autism spectrum disorder.

The piece was commissioned by Los Angeles-based Seed Health, which sells a subscription-based probiotic supplement for gut health. Ara Katz, co-founder and co-CEO of Seed Health, contacted Mo directly with the idea last April.

Katz said there is a stigma surrounding the study of stools, and that this is a problem because stools can store a lot of information about a person's overall health. Ever the entrepreneur, she also recognized the blockchain's potential to deliver this message to a wider audience.

"The opportunity to reveal the potential through projects like this, of the area that stool and the microbiome has now offered us, and unlocking so many new discoveries and understandings of human health and pathology is a very important thing for us," Katz told dot.LA.

Given the track record of both Mo and Seed Health, this partnership makes sense. Among other publicity stunts, Mo's art collective, "The Most Famous Artist," took credit for several metal monoliths that mysteriously appeared around the globe and garnered international headlines.

Seed Health also isn't a stranger to unusual projects like this. In 2019, the organization created the #GiveAShit campaign with auggi, an AI company studying gut health. The campaign encouraged people to send in pictures of their feces to train AI to perform stool analyses. The campaign won a World Changing Ideas Award from Fast Company.

To create the sculpture, Mo took his own excrement and had it lyophilized, or freeze-dried. The fecal matter was then put into a capsule. A capsule of this type, known as a "crapsule," is used to perform FMTs (Fecal Microbiota Transplants) for patients with bacterial infections such as C. diff, a common bacterium that causes severe diarrhea. Mo then cast the crapsule in 19 layers of glass, creating a cube shape.

"The Most Sh*ttiest NFT" was commissioned by Los Angeles-based Seed Health.

"The Most Sh*ttiest NFT" is currently being auctioned off at a starting price of one ether or ETH, which worth $2,272 at the time of writing this article. The target price is 50 ether or $113,600. Whoever wins the auction will receive both the NFT and the physical sculpture. If the NFT gets resold, its new owner will not necessarily get to own the sculpture as well.

Once the auction is closed, microbiome researchers Sarkis Mazmanian and Christopher Mason will select a research project to receive the proceeds as a grant.

The project selected will focus on the link between gut health and autism. According to Mazmanian, many people with autism also have gastrointestinal issues, and more research is necessary to understand the link between the two conditions.

"Participating and expanding the narrative of NFTs towards one that includes the idea that NFTs can be a force for good is one objective for this project," said Mo. "The second objective is to inspire other artists to participate in projects that fuse art and science and propagate important messages out into the world."

Mazmanian agreed, adding that the COVID-19 pandemic has politicized science, and that a project like this could help mend that wound.

"I'm just really happy to be a part of something where different swaths of the general public see the scientific method, see our motivation, see our process, and realize that the ultimate objective of most scientists is to just help as many people as they possibly can," said Mazmanian.

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Greater Good Health Raises $10 Million To Fix America’s Doctor Shortage

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Greater Good Health Raises $10 Million To Fix America’s Doctor Shortage
Courtesy of Greater Good Health

The pandemic highlighted what’s been a growing trend for years: Medical students are prioritizing high-paying specialty fields over primary care, leading to a shortage of primary care doctors who take care of a patient’s day-to-day health concerns. These physicians are a cornerstone of preventative health care, which when addressed can lower health care costs for patients, insurers and the government. But there’s a massive shortage of doctors all over the country, and the pipeline for primary care physicians is even weaker.

One local startup is offering a possible answer to this supply squeeze: nurse practitioners.

On Wednesday, Manhattan Beach-based Greater Good Health unveiled a $10 million Series A funding round led by LRVHealth, which adds to the startup’s $3 million seed round last year. The company employs nurse practitioners and pairs them with doctor’s offices and medical clinics; this allows nurse practitioners to take on patients who would otherwise have to wait weeks, or even months, to see a doctor.

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Plus Capital Partner Amanda Groves on Celebrity Equity Investments

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
PLUS Capital​’s Amanda Groves.
Courtesy of Amanda Groves.

On this episode of the L.A. Venture podcast, Amanda Groves talks about how PLUS Capital advises celebrity investors and why more high-profile individuals are choosing to invest instead of endorse.

As a partner at PLUS, Groves works with over 70 artists and athletes, helping to guide their investment strategies. PLUS advises their talent roster to combine their financial capital with their social capital and focus on five investment areas: the future of work, future of education, health and wellness, the conscious consumer and sustainability.

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Rivian Stock Roller Coaster Continues as Amazon Van Delivery Faces Delays

David Shultz

David Shultz is a freelance writer who lives in Santa Barbara, California. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside and Nautilus, among other publications.

Rivian Stock Roller Coaster Continues as Amazon Van Delivery Faces Delays
Courtesy of Rivian.

Rivian’s stock lost 7% yesterday on the back of news that the company could face delays in fulfilling Amazon’s order for a fleet of electric delivery vans due to legal issues with a supplier. The electric vehicle maker is suing Commercial Vehicle Group (CVG) over a pricing dispute related to the seats that the supplier promised, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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