Great Barrier Reef NFTs – indulge in virtual tourism and save the reef?
Using NFTs to support charity-based conservation is not new. It doesn’t always go well (the WWF had to end a NFT project following backlash), but with so many great causes going underfunded it would seem to be a useful fundraising solution. The Great Barrier Reef – which is in desperate need of support given that it might disappear by 2050 – has become the latest effort to fundraise via NFTs.
The project is the result of ingenuity by marine biologist, Dr. Brett Kettle. Dr. Kettle was able to design an underwater camera that can capture 500,000 photos per day. The photos have allowed his team to reconstruct entire coral beds and subsequently place them in the metaverse.
Fans of virtual snorkelling will be able to buy one-hectare reef sites as NFTs, and then go exploring through their virtual space by using a VR headset.
The project is being launched in collaboration with ReeFi-DAO – an organisation of conservationists working with blockchain technology to raise funds for on-ground conservation efforts.
“We’re trying to divorce ourselves from the notion of something that’s simply artistic; we’re trying to develop something that better suits the ecosystem,” Dr. Kettle said in an interview with ABC.
What can Great Barrier Reef NFTs achieve?
Dr. Kettle is hoping that this initiative will not only boost conservation funds, but also help to raise awareness of the threats facing the Reef.
Take for example the crown of thorns starfish. It is a pest eating its way across the reef (and is one of its biggest threats), but until you see it, you can’t imagine the scope of the danger. With these NFTs, people across the world will be able to witness a perfect 1:1 reconstruction of the damage, and hopefully be inspired to take action.
Those involved in decentralised finance do tend to be generous and support good causes – a fact that conservationists will be keenly aware of. Crypto investors have previously raised over US $30 million to help Ukraine deal with the tragedy it is going through.