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Fauna Conservation introduces Non-Fungible Tokens to raise funding for Cambodia’s conservation sector

Gareth Johnson

Fauna Conservation NFT is aiming to revolutionize the way Cambodia’s conservation funds are raised and invested through the use of Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).

And what is an NFT? A Non-Fungible Token (NFT) is a completely unique digital asset, with the owner able to prove their ownership of said NFT.

The concept is new, but has already been utilized in the sports arena, with one NFT in the “NBA Top Shot” collection recently selling for around $200,000.

The concept works by utilizing the often controversial blockchain technology, commonly associated with “get rich quick” schemes, bitcoin, and a vast selection of other cryptocurrencies.

However, Fauna Conservation co-founder Thomas Hesketh feels confident in the future of blockchain technology – telling Cambodia Investment Review “many are rightfully cautious about blockchain projects – the tech is still in its infancy, and many initiatives will fail.”

He added, “however, we believe there will be a shift in mindset as people engage with blockchain applications on a more regular basis, for example, many in Cambodia will start by using the Bakong payment service”.

How can NFT’s help with conservation in Cambodia?

The idea came to the team while kayaking from the Laos border to Kratie, where they spotted the extremely rare Mekong Dolphin.

With a previous interest in the blockchain space, the rare sighting inspired the concept: create NFTs of rare species that can be purchased and traded in not too dissimilar a fashion to Pokemon cards.

However, in this case, each purchase or trade of the NFT would lead to a donation to a conservation NGO.  

Fauna Conservation NFT aims not only to raise awareness of the plight of endangered species, but more importantly, raise much needed funds that can be put back into conservation efforts within the Kingdom.

Fauna Conservation and NFTs for Development in Asia

Fauna Conservation
The Fauna Conservation NFT team

Looking for funding for their project, the team entered the “NFTs for Development in Asia” competition organised by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Against extremely tough competition, with over 200 participants and 99 teams, they managed to win the final round against groups from Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines, with the Fauna project succeeding against ideas that included tokenised carbon credits, and tokenised ownership of solar panels.

After finishing in first place, the team will receive seed funding to set up not only a fully-fledged not-for-profit organization, but also the first NFT project specifically aimed at conservation.

And as for the future? The Fauna team are currently looking to partner with global conservation bodies, as well as people wishing to get directly involved in the project, such as artists and digital illustrators.

And of course, hopefully have a positive impact on conservation efforts, with co-founder Todd Hunkin adding “We see great potential in the use of NFTs as a donation and funding mechanism – this is only the start”.

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