How the COVID-19 Crisis Inspired a French Startup to Do Something Amazing
Spotlight. - 7 minute read
Spotlight. - 7 minute read
Written by Flying Saucer Studio
If you’re anything like us humble marketing folks, cryptocurrency may be a bit of a mystery to you. You know it’s money, it’s big news, and it’s important, but what is it, and how skeptical do you need to be about it?
Cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency that leverages blockchain technology – a complex sounding name that really indicates that information is being stored in blocks that are linked together (think: daisy chains) and time stamped as they are added so that they can never be altered. It means that no one has to maintain the database, or can edit it, which keeps everything secure, transparent and immune to counterfeit. Experts feel like it’s going to be a game changer due to its portability, transparency, and the fact that it seems to be inflation resistant.
Cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, have gotten a bit of a bad rap in the media and in popular TV shows where it is used in nefarious activities like ransomware scams. What’s more, experts are leery about how cryptocurrencies are being used and the fact that they have extremely variable exchange rates that fluctuate daily.
But not all cryptocurrencies are created equally. We met with Rieki Cordon, Ecosystem Facilitator of Hypha, the entity helping create SEEDS, a burgeoning cryptocurrency and regenerative movement that’s changing public opinion about crypto by encouraging regenerative practices across industries.
About eight years ago, Rieki was travelling the world, learning about cryptocurrency and the impact he and everyone else has on the rest of the world. He saw a lot that could be changed to better our lives, and the planet itself. He really focused on gathering information about the unique struggles of different countries and eventually met his partner Cece in Canada. Together, they began a journey of learning how organizations make decisions and approach sustainability in their quest to make a better world for their future children – and noticed that food was one of the main concerns, so they decided to start there.
“People are getting sick with the way that we consume food, and the planet is getting sick with the way that we grow our food. It’s something we can do something about, but the world seems resistant to change despite all of the science that points to this being a major issue.”
About five years into their exploration for a way to change the world and make a difference, they met a group of people who were trying to create a peer-to-peer food sharing program. This group was running into problems because in order to make the platform sustainable, they needed to charge a fee to use it. This meant that people were essentially paying to buy food from their neighbor!
Eventually, folks just started bypassing the platform to work directly with one another. That’s great from a social perspective, but not for the platform. To keep people using the platform, but still remain sustainable, the eco-passionate team wrestled with an important question: could blockchain technology make these kinds of platforms more sustainable?
Thus, the idea for SEEDS was planted (yes, pun intended).
SEEDS’ currency, aptly named Seeds, is a cryptocurrency, which means that no one owns the platform, no one is managing the currency, and thus no one charges a fee to use the currency. National currencies are managed for their own benefit – often at the expense of the little guy, and the planet. One of the best parts of SEEDS is that they’ve created a new financial system that doesn’t prioritize the needs of the currency over the needs of the people and planet. SEEDS compensates the people working on creating this system through a decentralized governance system.
What does that mean?
“It's open sourced and anyone can apply to help be a part of how it's moving keeping the money that would normally be reserved for the select few C suite positions in banks and national currencies, back to the people to decide what to do with, where to put it and how best to maximize its use in a fair and equitable way,” Rieki said when we asked this exact question.
“SEEDS is essentially a gift to humanity. We wanted to have a way to encourage thinking beyond sustainability and into regeneration with every purchase that you make.”
SEEDS has partnered with over 160 (at time of writing) brands, working with everything from food companies, to energy companies, and even your Internet Service Provider. When you check out at any SEEDS partner, you’ll be prompted to pay with Seeds, and that option will always be cheaper. They want to incentivize you to use the currency, and they’re doing that by making shopping using Seeds more cost effective! When you use the currency, you generate more rewards that go towards healing the planet. Win-win anybody!?
When you head to the check-out, be it in person or online, and you whip out your favorite plastic card, the merchant pays a fee for the convenience of allowing you to pay however you’d like. With VISA and Mastercard that fee is anywhere between 1.55–2.4% and with American Express you’ll see between 2.5–3.3%. Even new Point of Sale (POS) solutions like Square come in at 2.65% per transaction! As a result, merchants are passing that cost along to the customer – that’s you, my friend.
With Seeds, the merchant doesn’t get dinged for every transaction they complete using this currency, so the retailers are happy to pass that cost savings along to you, the customer.
Operating on the same model as Bitcoin when it was introduced, SEEDS has now created their token – brand new as of January 6th – and have set the initial amount that each Seed will be worth. SEEDS expects early adopters of the currency will do well for themselves when the currency takes off, and we say when because, with a mission like sustainable farming and regenerative agriculture practices, how can it not? But they’re not providing tokens to just anyone. They want to make sure that early adopters are people who are the most concerned about the planet. The people who are going to take the wealth they generate through their adoption of the SEEDS cryptocurrency and reinvest it into the platform and renewable energy, regenerative farming projects, and philanthropic programs designed to help others. Basically, they want impact pioneers – whether they’re just regular people, or companies looking to make a difference.
And if that doesn’t say Impact Brand, I don’t know what does.
“Regenerative Agriculture is really where we see the biggest chance for impact, and it’s pretty close to our heart. Cece is a ‘kitchen witch’ – someone who loves to create and love someone through food, so naturally becoming attuned with where our ingredients are coming from and the normalized practices in use today, we looked to how we’re getting our food, where it’s coming from and how it’s grown as an avenue to create change.That was big for both of us in regards to where we wanted to show up with our energy in this movement.”
Wait, what’s wrong with traditional farming, you might ask?
“Traditional farming practices are pretty harmful to the planet. Tilling, the process we use to turn the earth and plant new crops, releases a lot of carbon into the air, as does the use of the machinery that growers use to increase efficiency and maximize their ability to keep their farm afloat. We’re also using primarily annual crops instead of perennial ones – which means we have to do a lot of tilling every season and the crops don’t have the chance to pull that carbon dioxide out of the air and sequester it in the soil below them.”
We dug into the dirty details and found that perennial crops will create one of the biggest impacts in terms of aiding the planet, but it can be tough for farmers to make the switch. They rely on their crops to survive, so the fact that perennial crops tend to have lower yields than annual ones can be a tough pill to swallow. The fact that annual crops currently make up 70% of our food calories—and account for 24% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions—also makes this a delicate problem.
The money that SEEDS is “growing” is going to be used to fund regenerative agriculture projects, and any kind of regenerative project that aims to solve the Earth’s problems. From helping farmers transition to a more sustainable farming practice (which can take a few years), to funding grants for people to take on philanthropic food projects like growing food to feed the less fortunate. If you’ve got a social, or environmental good project on your mind, you’re free to propose it in the forum, and if it passes the vote? Seeds get allotted to the project, and you’re good to go. How cool is that!?
SEEDS will be global, launching on every continent, starting with the SEEDS Global Passport app. The soft launch has just been released, and their hard launch will occur very fortuitously on the summer solstice, June 21st, 2020. Currently (to avoid spam accounts and/or cyborg invasion), The SEEDS Global Passport is available by invite only. If you’d like to receive an invite reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The next decade is about moving away from the systems that we have inherited and build a world that’s regenerative, equal, and inclusive,” says Rieki as we signed off – and those words are so profound that we’re going to let you think about them for a hot minute.
Until next time!
Spotlight. - 7 minute read
Spotlight. - 7 minute read