The blockchain sector is now aiding wildlife around the world as well, which is surely notable and respectable. Over time, the sector has extended its roots into various fields, even the ones it was not expected to affect. Wildlife conservation is also one such domain where one could never estimate a digital technology like blockchain or its products would intervene. If you want to know how blockchain promotes wildlife conservation on this World Animal Welfare Day then keep reading! And yes, one thing is assured, the unseen and immense potential of this virtual world would blow your mind.
What’s Blockchain & How Does It Aid Wildlife?
Blockchain is a digital technology that operates on the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) which stores data about each and every development in separate blocks. It has given rise to newer domains like cryptocurrencies, the metaverse, and Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs). NFTs are the ones that are to be focused on in this article as they have immensely helped wildlife conservation practices around the world. Blockchain and wildlife conservation come together with the help of NFTs. There have been numerous such tokens that have raised funds for the protection of animals around the globe. Further on, we will be talking about the WildCards that have been dedicated to saving the endangered creatures on earth.
How Blockchain Promotes Wildlife Conservation Using WildCards?
WildCards NFT represents the distinct digital artwork of various animals on the tokens. These have been inspired by the Bored Apes NFT series to an extent as both consider animals, however, the WildCards do not focus on a particular community of animals like the Bored Apes series does. The WildCards NFT Network aims at raising funds for the animals in the world by selling their tokens that are ‘always for sale’. This concept will be discussed further in detail.
The Wildcards Website mentions the type of artwork done on these tokens stating:
“Some wildcards do represent real animals, while other wildcards are symbolic of the conservation efforts of that organization. When partnering with a conservation organization, if that organization has specific animals they track and care for, we aim to list those real animals. In other cases, conservation efforts can occur on a more macro level (without specific animals). To raise funds for these efforts we created an animal representative of that organization. In both cases, an animal will simply represent an organization, and funds generated from that animal will flow to the organization it represents.”
Now let’s come back to the connection between the Bored Ape NFTs and Wildcards. Well, the former was even sold at a price of $3 million when the price of Ethereum (ETH), the second-largest cryptocurrency in the world, boomed. Along similar lines, Wildcards can also be purchased using Ether and this is why it comes in handy to any person. The one who owns a card would be considered as the guardian of an animal in the wild. Interesting, right? This way people can invest, make donations, and in turn, protect the wildlife as well.
WildCards came into existence in 2019 and after that continuously had a close relationship with the crypto, NFT, and blockchain spaces. This has been helpful in conserving the creatures we all admire but have caused atrocities too. The owner of this card-based NFT has to pay an amount that is pre decided every month, which is then used to protect and preserve the animal from whom the artwork on their NFT has been inspired. This is how the organization brings blockchain and wildlife conservation together.
So, if you want to know what’s blockchain is successful in doing when WildCards is in question, check the numbers mentioned hereafter. As of July 26, 2022, official records released by them showed that they managed to raise about $70,000 with such card NFTs that people were interested in and invested in to take care of at least one animal.
WildCards co-founder Jason Smythe, a software developer, talked about the company’s efforts to make the conservation of species easier for people. In addition, he mentions how it is easier and also doesn’t require any middlemen for donation purposes. He stated this by saying:
“WildCards imbue people’s commitments to wildlife conservation in a fun and playful way. It does it through technology that removes middlemen who charge fees.”
The company managed to contribute about $30,000 out of the $1.5 million a non-profit organization, Wild Tomorrow Fund, raised. It was aimed at acquiring land that could be used to keep animals close to their natural habitats so that they can move freely. Species like elephants, rhinoceros, and lions, have not been able to move around freely between landscapes for several years now. This is what the organization wanted and is successful in making significant efforts toward that.
So, we all know that technological advancements definitely do good but also lead to several limitations that people often ignore. In the case of using blockchain and NFT for raising funds for wildlife conservation, the carbon footprint is a lot. This is due to the fact that blockchain utilizes a lot of energy and experts think that it is not feasible to use the technology excessively even if it promises to finance a ‘green economy’.
To cite this concern, we would like to address the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index data. It shows that the mining of the largest crypto in the world, Bitcoin (BTC), uses about 92 terawatt-hours of electricity each year. Such energy consumption is not at all healthy for the environment as it burns more than the required electricity.
Peter Howson, who is a lecturer at the U.K-based Northumbria University, mentioned that at first he was excited when he got to know that blockchain promotes wildlife conservation. However, he then mentioned that he turned a little skeptical after that. He explained saying:
“By using this technology, you are legitimizing an incredibly environmentally destructive industry, that is the crypto industry. This is definitely not a suitable way of financing a just transition to a green economy.”
When the question of whether blockchain promotes wildlife conservation or not was considered, Howson mentioned that it is something that does help in raising funds for the various projects undertaken for the motive but does not do anything else that is significant enough. He even stated that:
“Most crypto people have a hammer and they are looking for nails they can bash. The starting point should be the people who do the community and conservation work. Don’t start with the tech solution.”
However, on the other hand, Smythe did understand the shortcomings on the part of the blockchain tech but also mentioned that the technologies we see today might advance and change in the future completely, He went on to say that:
“The technology is not ossified yet. It’s like listening to someone talk about what the future of the internet is back in the 90s. The experimentation that is going to happen over the next few decades is going to be interesting.”
Wrapping It Up!
It is World Animal Welfare Day and talking about the preservation of wildlife was important, isn’t it? In addition, blockchain promotes wildlife conservation through NFTs and that is not known to any people around the world. This is why our article focused on that. This is because it is one of the blockchain potential applications that not many know of as blockchain and wildlife could never be a combo people could ever imagine. Moreover, this technology has played a great role in funding the projects for animals along with providing them with a guardian to take care of their needs.
The above mentioned method is the easiest way in which people can engage with the wild animals that too with the comfort of their houses. The new-age fundraising tactic employed by using blockchain is considered amazing, unique, and seems immensely promising. However, we do mention that you should not forget about the high amount of energy required for it and that it can also harm the environment while doing little good to it.