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Go read this report about the virtual doctors at an NFT clinic who can’t legally give medical advice

Go read this report about the virtual doctors at an NFT clinic who can’t legally give medical advice


NFTs and cartoon doctors — what can go wrong?

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Image representing NFTs with pixelated blocks made up of purple squares.
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

If combining NFTs with the medical industry doesn’t sound the most logical, this report from BuzzFeed News will likely confirm your skepticism. An NFT project called MetaDocs assigns doctors / influencers, like Dr. Pimple Popper, to (somewhat unsightly) cartoon personifications of themselves, which users can then purchase to gain access to one-on-one conversations, question-and-answer sessions, or DMs.

But despite MetaDocs’ goal of cutting the “red tape” that comes with gaining access to doctors, the MetaDocs themselves aren’t legally able to give medical advice to NFT holders. As BuzzFeed points out, MetaDocs doesn’t have a license to practice telemedicine, barring its doctors from giving medical advice, writing prescriptions, or virtually diagnosing patients.

“We’re hesitant to refer to anybody as a patient”

“At this point, we’re hesitant to refer to anybody as a patient,” Dr. Dustin Portela, a MetaDocs physician and dermatologist, said in a statement to BuzzFeed.

This disconnect is made even more obvious with the price tag of one of these NFTs. According to BuzzFeed, MetaDocs hasn’t determined a final price but kicked around a cost of 0.2ETH, or $570, in a recent whitepaper — a potentially higher amount than what you’d pay seeing a real general physician without insurance (depending on your location and the office, of course).

However, MetaDocs founder Dr. Sina Joorabachi told BuzzFeed that the value of the MetaDocs NFTs isn’t linked to medical care: “Our deliverable is connecting people with these doctors for a value of whatever they want to talk about or connect with.” The blurred lines between conversation about medicine and medical advice may have caused some doctors to jump ship — BuzzFeed reports that nine doctors, including two that say they never consented to have their names included on the project, have since been removed from MetaDocs’ documentation.

In the future, MetaDocs hopes to revolutionize medical care, and that includes examining haptic suit-wearing patients in virtual reality. That may seem far off, but not to MetaDocs. If you want to get a more in-depth look at all this craziness, definitely go read BuzzFeed News’ report.