Nomad x Food Production

Meeting Fish Demand in Hawaii

Nomad is an open source protocol to discover, publish, and remix live data streams from anyone, anywhere. Built on IPFS, a distributed network, Nomad is engineered as universal infrastructure: to be open, scalable, and durable. Anyone can create a new node, subscribe to existing streams, and publish a stream without signing up for any proprietary service.
To learn more about Nomad, visit getnomad.io.

Current projections indicate that we will extinguish many species of commonly consumed fish by the year 2048. Japan, already close to extinguishing its bluefin tuna population, would surely be one of the first countries to experience the effects of this mass extinction…

…until Nomad.

We decided to imagine what would happen if Nomad intervened in the production and transit process of goods between two fisherman, a restaurant, and a shelter. How might we use streaming data to more intelligently consume our available resources?


Before first light, a Hawaiian fisherman named Aukai pulls out his iPad and reviews the day’s fishing projections. Scrolling through his dashboard, powered by Nomad, he looks at inventory requests streamed from local restaurants and the bounties placed on their desired stock. Short cables are detached as he and his crew set out along the crimson horizon to find today’s catch

Pulling data collected by FishTracker, a product that uses the Nomad protocol to the track the movement and population of fish in off the coast of Canada, Aukai uses a navigates to where the highest yields of Yellowfin Tuna might be today.

As Aukai and his crew pull in the first nets from the water and onto the starboard deck, he quickly discovers that the FishTracker projections were correct. The fish flop onto the deck as weight sensors monitor the size of the catch, which is automatically published to the boat’s “Fishing Stock” Nomad Node. Carrying the fish down to the freezers below deck, Aukai receives a notification on his Nomad Dashboard from the boat’s load centers that he is almost at capacity for today’s catch. Though the crew caught a large number of Yellowfin Tuna, they also pulled in a fair number of Peacock Groupers and Blacktail Snappers.

The Ono Grill — a beachfront restaurant — prepares their menu as a manager checks the “Aggregate Fishing Stock” Nomad Composite Node to see what fish boats pulled in earlier that morning. Reviewing the amount of Yellowfin Tuna caught by the fishermen and then checking their stockroom, it becomes clear that the restaurant will not have enough tuna for their famous Ahi Tuna Tartare. Determined to stock up before the dinner rush, the Ono Grill places a bounty on tuna and publishes it to the network, hoping that it will be picked up another fisherman at sea.

William, another local fisherman out on the water hoping to find some halibut, is instead surprised to find some tuna which had migrated north to warmer water. Pulling in his catch onto the deck, an onboard camera streams a video feed of the unexpected catch and broadcasts his haul on Nomad. A composite node leverages artificial intelligence and parses the video feed data, determining that the fish William pulled in is in fact Yellowfin Tuna. Moments later, William’s phone vibrates with news of the bounty placed by The Ono Grill. Halfway to fulfilling it, William decides to clean the bounty by catching the extra tuna needed by the restaurant.

A local food bank plans out their dinner menu for the following evening and notices that this week’s offerings have been notably reliant on poultry dishes. In order to mix up their offerings, they place a bounty for fish to the “Excess Fish Stock” Nomad Node — a stream subscribed to by many local Hawaiian restaurants that want contribute their excess stock to peripheral shelters in need.

As the Ono Grill feeds its last customers and begins to close shop, a manager notices that the restaurant now has an overabundance of tuna in the stockroom. Taking a look at the customer data broadcast to Nomad throughout the day, the manager sees that they had lower customer turnout than was expected for the evening and sold less Ahi Tuna Tartare than they had projected. The Ono Grill’s excess fish stock is logged and published to Nomad to be viewed by local food banks and shelters in the area.

After reviewing several bounties for their excess stock, the Ono Grill decides to send their extra tuna to the local Food Bank and claims the bounty published on Nomad. After the bounty is claimed, the Food Bank becomes notified of the available fish, prepares for the incoming shipment, and revises the menu for tomorrow’s dinner.


Nomad takes what was the fragmented system, with parties that rely on one another to make ends meet, and unifies their education by sharing realtime data.

A fisherman — like Aukai — can understand how to maximize time fishing based on data collected by Nomad from other fishermen, and identify supply and demand through bounties put out by restaurants.

Another fisherman — like William — is able to access data from fishermen about specific yields to avoid overfishing specific populations as well as receive bounties in the field to help equalize cost and demand.

A restaurant — like the Ono Grill — can gain holistic access the type of produce available.

A shelter — like the local food bank — can receive excess food, before it goes bad, to reduce their overhead and increase quality of goods served.


IDEO CoLab is developing Nomad, a peer-to-peer communication system between devices, people and organizations. You can follow our progress on github.

Written in collaboration by Brett Killoran, Adam Lukasik, Eric Chan & William Felker