Bounties for the Oceans: Sustained, Verifiable Plastic Cleanups

Bounties Network and MakerDAO are embarking on the first social impact bounty project

Plastics removed from the stomach of a pilot whale that died after washing ashore. CreditThai Whales, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
“After the whale’s death on Friday, a necropsy showed that it had washed ashore in the southern province of Songkhla with nearly 18 pounds of plastic in its stomach. Veterinarians had tried to save its life all week, to no avail.”

This is an excerpt from a The New York Times story about a whale’s death in Thailand due to the amount of plastic it had ingested and it is a clear sign whatever is currently being done to stop plastic getting into our oceans is not enough.

We’ve always felt that as we look towards decentralizing the social impact space, Bounties could help incentivize and organize positive global action across key UN initiatives. For this reason, and because of the countless stories like the tragic one above, the first project in our partnership with MakerDAO is a bounty fit for World Oceans Day but continuing way beyond 24 hours.

MakerDAO and the Dai Stablecoin System

For those unfamiliar with MakerDAO and the Dai Stablecoin System, Dai is a decentralized ‘stablecoin’ pegged against the value of the U.S. Dollar. Dai is created by the Dai Stablecoin System, a decentralized platform that runs on the Ethereum blockchain.

Why Social Impact Bounties?

As Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin wrote last year, “the space for experimentation in social systems design will only continue to grow.” Yes, bounties have been around for a long time, but they’ve proven their merit as a tool to incentivize and organize people. A bounty is essentially a simple social contract that, on top of a blockchain, could help us dramatically improve our current social impact systems.

What is Bounties for the Oceans?

Without a defined framework and sustained incentivization, effecting long-term behavior change when it comes to environmental impact has been a difficult goal to achieve. We have seen so many projects fall short of their desired goals because behavior bounces back to old ways the second a campaign is over.

Addressing major threats towards our oceans, many organizations work tirelessly to drive change, mainly in our use of plastic as a global society. With Bounties for the Ocean, we are galvanizing global environmental action through blockchain-based bounties as a way of fostering widespread and long-term behavioral shift.

Here are the key requirements:

  • Upload a photo of yourself with plastic you have cleaned up from a park, beach, street, riverbank etc.
  • The photo must be at the cleanup site, with the day’s newspaper, a piece of paper with the date on it or camera date stamp (Instagram has this as a filter if needed)
  • Live tweet your image, tag @MakerDao and @ethBounties using #bountiesfortheoceans and upload a screenshot

Here are the full details of the bounty and how to get started.


The bounty will be set for a longer period of time to accumulate as many submissions as possible and reward sustained, positive and verifiable plastic cleanups around the world. We hope this will cause a broader cleanup that goes way beyond World Ocean Day.

Galvanizing action for environmental causes is a race against time. Together, we need to move fast enough to turn the ship around before we lose the natural treasures that our very existence depends on.

Reinventing Social Impact

As this is a time to create, test and improve, we will be analyzing the submissions to the bounty to try and understand what the implications and effects of running social impact projects on Ethereum could be. Our goal is to demonstrate feasibility, and hopefully, kickstart a powerful world-changing trend where blind trust is no longer a concept. Proof of action is.

Both the Bounties Network and the MakerDAO teams will be working together to gather feedback on how the partnership can help reinvent our social impact systems. We are very excited about changing the world together so please join us and spread the word!


Join our Bounties Slack community, sign up to learning sessions and follow us on Twitter to stay tuned for updates!

To learn more about MakerDAO, see their website, whitepaper, or join their chat.