Twitter Discussion - Q & A
Roderick D. M. Page recently posted a blog called "Toward a Biodiversity Token," in which he discusses what he "thinks is a 'radical' idea for a GBIF Challenge." You can see the post here:
It's an interesting idea. I posted a comment that the idea is similar to something that's already in development - BioCoin.Life.
This set off a small flurry of twitter discussion, and one of the participants, Timothée Poisot, contacted me directly with some questions that I'll list here, so the discussion is open and others can weigh in:
1) how is the mining of crypto currency reconcilable with conservation?
2) what are the guarantees that this will not end up monetizing biodiversity data?
3) what are the ethics of using existing data, whose authors may disagree with the project?
1. How is the mining of crypto currency reconciliable with conservation?
Are you referring to bitcoin mining? There are all sorts of 'mining' methods. BioCoin 'mining' is human generated, as opposed to machine generated (like bitcoin). As a expertise-generated currency - what might be called a "skill-based" currency - as opposed to electricity-guzzling, brute-processing, machine grunt-work currency, the mining is certainly more aligned with conservation. But perhaps you can clarify the question? It's a bit like asking how is baseball reconcilable with entertainment.
2. What are the guarantees that this will not end up monetizing biodiversity data?
The questions seems to imply that all biodiversity data should be free. Is that correct? Perhaps you can explain your position on this? Would you say that biodiversity data is free now? If not, why not? If so, has that benefitted conservation?
3. What are the ethics of using existing data, whose authors may disagree with the project?
It's entirely opt-in. We don't plan to use existing data from individual authors unless they want to opt into BioCoin. As far as ethics are concerned, I think there's an ethical responsibility for people to be able to own and control their individual data. This is something my own company, QuestaGame, has been concerned about right from the beginning. You can read through QuestaGame's terms and conditions here: https://questagame.com/terms-conditions/
Please feel free to comment below.