The company behind wildlife and taxonomy game QuestaGame is looking into developing its own cryptocurrency called ‘Biocoin’ which will help improve people’s knowledge of biodiversity.
The news was reported by Forbes, who spoke with co-founder Andrew Robinson and his wife Mallika.
QuestaGame is a private tech start-up launched in 2014 by Robinson and co-founder David Haynes following a crowdfunding campaign. It is currently based at Australian National University in Canberra, Australia.
The game itself is a free app where players can take photos of flora and fauna on their phones – similar to how players catch Pokémon in Pokémon Go. Players earn points for sightings and the rarity of their location and season.
Speaking on the creation of the game to Forbes, Robinson noted how his son and his friends were talking in the back seat of his car.
“They were talking about these fantasy worlds and all these monster types and shields they needed to protect themselves,” Robinson recalls.
“And we realised they had a whole taxonomy of these worlds in their heads. Could we create a game in which you go out into the real world, and you’re learning the names of all these exciting creatures which in many ways are far more fantastical than anything you can find in a computer game?”
Players are paid for identifying species
One primary aim of QuestaGame is to educate people on taxonomy. Players are awarded virtual gold for accurately identifying a species, helping to inspire people to care more about biodiversity.
Players can earn A$0.10 on average for every correct identification with revenue going to one of QuestaGame’s conservation partners, including the World Wildlife Fund, Australian Geographic Society, Invasive Species Council, and Greenpeace.
To help enable players to earn money, Robinson is now developing a prototype cryptocurrency called ‘Biocoin’. His aim is to put Biocoin on the blockchain early next year, where it can be exchanged for other currencies.
To activate each coin, players will need to identify three species.
Speaking on traditional crypto mining, Robinson comments: “You’re not really linking any social good to that, you’re not reducing pollution or fighting cancer or anything.
“So it makes sense – why don’t you mine a currency through your ecological expertise while contributing to biodiversity?”
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