Ocean of possibilities: SA shark study is first to have ...

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Ocean of possibilities: SA shark study is first to have all-crypto funding

New environmentally friendly Sea Token coin puts some care into currency

Senior reporter

A SA shark DNA project has made history as the first research to be entirely funded by cryptocurrency.

Kristina Loosen of Stellenbosch University will extract shark DNA from water along the South African coastline to identify shark species, a process known as Environmental DNA (eDNA). What makes her project all the more unique is that the funding comes from a new environmentally friendly cryptocurrency called SEA Token, launched in May.

The new virtual coin is similar to other cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, except it has an inbuilt conservation function. By investing in SEA Tokens, investors indirectly raise funds for ocean conservation via a 2% enviro “tax” on all SEA Token transactions, raising funds ring-fenced in a virtual “wallet” to fund selected research. The funds raised are distributed via a linked nonprofit marine conservation programme called SEAstarter, launched this week in the UK on World Ocean Day and billed as “the world’s first environment-specific kickstarter platform”. Loosen’s research project is the first to receive SEAstarter funding, selected from among numerous proposals...

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