Saving the Planet (A Bit at a Time) — Reflections from the 2018 Blockchain Summit in Morocco

Gigi Brisson, founder and CEO of Ocean Elders, told the Blockchain Summit in Morocco today that blockchain technology can support global conservation efforts by creating a more robust, accurate and immutable supply chain.

“Blockchain enables the consumer to make educated choices,” she said during a panel discussion focused on blockchain and conservation.

“As a consumer, I can see who fished that fish, where they got it, if it was reported, if it was legal. As a consumer, I can start supporting those companies and those people I want to support,” Brisson added. “I can support the products and companies that I feel good about. It’s the transparency that is missing. People want to make the right choices, and blockchain enables that. That will be an explosion and a turning point on many businesses.”

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson joined the conservation panel, where he talked about his advocacy work on issues like climate change, the environment and endangered species.

“There are so many things we need to be worrying about, and doing something about, if we’re in a position where we can,” Branson said. “There’s lots of challenges out there.”

Branson said it’s best to affect change by adopting a positive approach to government leaders. “If you’re dealing with governments, you need to come up with ways of giving them something that they can write about in their autobiographies,” he said. “Attacking governments isn’t necessarily the best way.”

Others talked about creative new ways that cryptocurrencies are being used to raise money for conservative efforts.

Jody Rebak, chief of staff at Dapper Labs, highlighted the recent announcement that CryptoKitties has created Honu, the world’s first sea-loving CryptoKitty, which is being auctioned off in a charity fundraiser to help protect the oceans. CryptoKitties is doing so in partnership with ACTAI Global and Ocean Elders.

Honu is digital art living exclusively on the Ethereum blockchain.

“Education is fundamental to adoption,” said Rebak. “It’s about educating through the platform and using consumer games is a good way to do that.”

Bill Tai, founder of ACTAI, said he created this project as a way to build communities and engage them to drive change.

“I’m wired as an investor so when I put money on things, I want to see results,” he said. “For whatever reason, I’m a catalyst for communities. Money doesn’t do anything unless people get involved.”