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PLoS One. 2019 Apr 15;14(4):e0215531. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0215531. eCollection 2019.

ETDB-Caltech: A blockchain-based distributed public database for electron tomography.

Author information

Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, United States of America.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Pasadena, California, United States of America.


Three-dimensional electron microscopy techniques like electron tomography provide valuable insights into cellular structures, and present significant challenges for data storage and dissemination. Here we explored a novel method to publicly release more than 11,000 such datasets, more than 30 TB in total, collected by our group. Our method, based on a peer-to-peer file sharing network built around a blockchain ledger, offers a distributed solution to data storage. In addition, we offer a user-friendly browser-based interface,, for anyone interested to explore and download our data. We discuss the relative advantages and disadvantages of this system and provide tools for other groups to mine our data and/or use the same approach to share their own imaging datasets.

Conflict of interest statement

Alexandria and its contributors hold various cryptocurrency tokens, including FLO. DRO and Alexandria contributed to FLO blockchain development.

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