A new digital currency dedicated to ocean cleanup and marine conservation has started to build its blue credentials.
Among the first steps taken by AquaGoat are the adoption of climate-change-resilient corals in the Bahamas, and a dolphin in the waters of California.
“Over the past few centuries as society has come to expand and grow, our environment has been paying the price,” AquaGoat’s Patrick Aberin told the Straight in a phone interview.
Aberin is based in Metro Vancouver, and he works as co-project manager of the cryptocurrency that launched on April 7 this year.
He described AquaGoat as the “first ocean-centred cryptocurrency”.
Aberin explained that a portion of every transaction goes automatically to the AquaGoat Ocean Blue Fund. Members vote on which initiatives to fund.
Aberin said that to date, the community has donated over $19,500 (American dollars) from its Ocean Blue wallet.
The funds went to international organizations like The Ocean Cleanup, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Coral Vita, Ocean Conservation Society, and Blue Marine Foundation.
Coral Vita is based in the Bahamas. It works to grow and plant climate-change-resilient corals in order to help revitalize degraded coral reefs.
Sam Teicher, co-founder and chief reef officer, told the Straight in a note that AquaGoat made a donation through Coral Vita’s adopt-a-coral program to “restore dying reefs”.
Teicher wrote that he is “encouraged to see cryptocurrencies leveraging their models and platforms to encourage and fund social and environmental initiatives”.
Online, Coral Vita notes that coral reefs are one of most important ecosystems on the planet.
Coral reefs support 25 percent of all marine life, provide food and livelihood, generate $30 billion worldwide in tourism revenues, and protect coastal communities against risks like storm surges.
However, these ecosystems are dying due to damage caused by climate change, pollution, and a host of manmade activities.
Coral Vita notes online that the world has lost 50 percent of coral reefs in every region in the past few decades.
It adds that scientists project over 90 percent of reefs will be dead by 2050 due to climate change and human causes.
In the phone interview, Aberin said that his cryptocurrency circle hopes to see the new corals it sponsored to flourish as part of a new marine habitat.
“It’s like its own AquaGoat coral reef for the fishes down over the Bahamian reef,” he said.
The ocean absorbs carbon dioxide that is released in the atmosphere by things like vehicle emissions. High levels of carbon dioxide increase the acidity of the water, which in turn destroys corals.
Charles Saylan, executive director of the Ocean Conservation Society, told the Straight in a note that AquaGoat adopted a dolphin through the California group’s adoption program.
“The adoption program highlights dolphins that range wild in California waters,” Saylan explained.
Saylan noted that his group has tracked and identified dolphins in its study area.
“It is an ongoing fund-raising program that we have run for many years,” he said.
Before getting involved with AquaGoat, Aberin worked with a company that promoted clean energy in the form of solar power.
“We just need to give people the systems to allow them to use the sun’s power, so they can actually harness that for electricity,” Aberin said.
Aberin recalls how he learned about cryptocurrencies.
“As a child, I had first came up on Bitcoin shortly after Satoshi Nakamoto released his white paper,” he related.
Aberin said that he was intrigued and astonished by the “idea of a decentralized digital monetary system, one that had no limits, and no central authority”.
“It really seemed like the future of money as a whole,” he said.
Aberin recalled telling his parents to buy into Bitcoin when it was still pennies, and how something like $100 would set them up for the future.
On the day Aberin spoke with the Straight, his group was scheduled to go on an online meeting with representatives of Haribon Foundation.
Haribon is a pioneering environmental organization in the Philippines. It got its name from Haring Ibon, which means king of the birds.
Haribon was named after the Philippine Eagle, which is the biggest eagle in the world. It is also known as the monkey-eating eagle because of its diet.
Started in the 1970s as a bird-wathing group, the organization today has many environmental initiatives, including marine conservation.
In the interview, Aberin said that Haribon had suggested the adoption by AquaGoat of protected marine areas in the Philippines.
Aberin, who is of Filipino heritage and was raised in North America, said that the Philippine group mentioned sites in the provinces of Quezon and Surigao del Sur.
To learn more about AquaGoat, see here.