Rhino Coin: Bridge between Cryptocurrencies and Conservation



Rhino horn is currently one of the most valuable resources on the planet, its price on the Asian black market reaching 125$ per gram. The international trade in rhino horn and its derivatives was prohibited in 1977 by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), but last year domestic rhino horn trade was relegalized in South Africa.

The article in the link above is about a new cryptocurrency, the Rhino Coin, that was created by the South African firm Cornu Logistics and is supported by the South African ranchers who breed rhinos on their private lands. By buying one Rhino Coin a person is buying one gram of rhino horn of Cornu Logistics stockpiles for 4$.

The digital currency was introduced in order to help rhino breeders who nowadays face lack of funds for conservation due to exponentially growing security expenses. The war for rhino horn in South Africa started at the beginning of the 21stcentury when the poaching skyrocketed after the tightening of state regulation on trophy hunting (2007) and ban on domestic trade (2009). In the period 2010-2015 500 Mozambican poachers were killed in the Kruger National Park by rangers. In many protected areas security guards now shoot to kill without giving any warning. The militarisation of conservation resulted in a constant arms race between the poaching gangs and the rangers that requires constant investment injections from rhino owners.

At the same time, they cannot extract maximum revenues from their rhinos selling stockpiled horns or dehorning their animals (which is painless). Although horn can be bought and sold domestically there is not enough demand on the South African market to absorb all the accrued horns. Therefore, many ranchers are forced to sell their rhinos because they simply cannot keep up with demanding security requirements.

Many conservationists argue that the legalization of international trade can solve the problem connecting the producers of horns with consumers in Asia. A kind of Kimberley process for rhino horns is being discussed with every horn to be subjected to genetic profiling and provided with a unique DNA certificate that will allow to track the horn’s provenance. If that ever happens, the Rhino Coin can gain more popularity as an ethical digital currency.

by Riabinina Maria

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