ICO projects surprise us with innovative developments, brilliant ideas, but there are those that combine blockchain and global sustainable development goals. For example, increasing transparency and accountability in global seafood and agricultural supply chains. During the Blockchain Summit conference that was held in Singapore on August 28, we gladly talked with the speaker Jayson Berryhill, the co-creator of the Fishcoin project, and discovered a new vision of ICO startups.
1. Jayson, you are an expert in the problem solver with 10+ years of experience in technology companies leading digital product, you worked on 4 continents. How did you come up with the idea of creating Fishcoin project?
Prior to working in the seafood industry I lived and worked in Indonesia for almost 6 years working for a large mobile network operator, and prior to that for a mobile payments provider. Most of my experience in mobile is in developed markets with users who are primarily on pre-paid mobile plans. I had explored the idea of using pre-paid top-ups as an incentive several times during that time. Then I came to work on the mFish project (https://eachmile.co/mfish/), which was originally launched by then Secretary of State John Kerry at the first Our Ocean conference (https://youtu.be/fMbuNDWD3jk). This was all about capturing more data from the masses of small-scale fishers around the world starting in Indonesia. Ultimately we made this an incredibly accessible platform (available on 2G, even on feature phones, and free of data charges through Facebook’s Free Basics), but we discovered that without an actual incentive for users to share data about their catch accessibility is not enough. This is where the idea of Fishcoin was ultimately born… out of the need to have a measure of value pass through the supply chain that can ultimately be used for mobile top-ups. The idea is to build a rewards system similar to airline points where fishers and fish farmers can be directly incentivized to capture and communicate much needed data about their harvest.
2. What major problems does your project solve?
The seafood industry is about to make the leap into being data driven, but is not there yet. Markets such as the United States are beginning to require traceability back to the farm or boat prior to import with regulations such as the Seafood Import Monitoring Program which started in 2018. This is a massive problem because in fragmented seafood supply chains incentive structures for data sharing are misaligned and trust is abysmal. The industry needs a common protocol for sharing data, along with a scalable and borderless incentive structure that is meaningful to the masses of fishers and fish farmers primarily located in developing nations from which the majority of the world’s seafood is sourced. Fishcoin combines the mechanism for data sharing, using blockchain, with a scalable incentive (pre-paid mobile top-ups) that is meaningful to the millions of fishers and fish farmers around the globe.
3. What is different about Fishcoin from other blockchain-based projects?
Fishcoin is unique among most blockchain projects for several reasons. First, it is an industry focused project that is being developed by actual industry insiders — not just technology experts trying to break into a specific industry vertical. This is essential because you must have deep industry expertise in order to fully understand how to address the issues, and along with that in order to get scale in the industry you must have partnerships with the large-scale industry players. An example of such a partnership for Fishcoin would be our work with Thai Union, one of the largest seafood companies on the planet. Secondly, Fishcoin is unique because it is focused less on the mechanism for data sharing (blockchain) and more on the incentive, which is ultimately the core of the problem that needs to be solved. If you look throughout history you will find the most successful companies and initiatives applying new technologies tend to define themselves less by the technology itself, and more by the problem to be solved. Finally, Fishcoin is unique because it is not based on the work of a single company, but an ecosystem or partners who are ready to bring this to scale (see Fishcoin.co for the most recent list of partners)
4. What results do you think will Fishcoin’s global goals (tracking the delivery of goods in the seafood industry based on blockchain) bring?
Beyond helping to provide market access to seafood companies who are now required to have have traceability for their products, our goal for Fishcoin is to help the seafood industry become more sustainable and efficient. According to the UN FAO, upwards of 90% of fisheries are either at capacity or in decline. In the midst of that, as much as 50% of the seafood we harvest around the world is discarded, lost or thrown away, and more than 700 kilograms per second are stolen through illegal, unreported and unregulated activity. This is not a Fishcoin problem, but everyone’s problem. Our vision is to enable the industry to transform itself into being much more efficient and profitable by being more data informed.
5. Can commercial organizations be wary of Fishcoin entering the market?
There is no doubt that more data will shine a light on certain bad actors in the seafood industry, but in the aggregate it will be a significant positive for those who embrace the changes that are coming and for the industry as a whole. Most don’t want to be illegal if they don’t have to be.
6. Tell us how token purchasors can join your project and help the seafood industry become more sustainable and responsible?
Those who participate in the token sale can join in promoting the project online and within their networks. For developers and innovators who want to build onto the Fishcoin network layer, we will be managing the 5th Annual Fishackathon next summer, which is focused on data sharing (blockchain/Fishcoin) and data capture (IoT) within the seafood industry and/or for the purpose of ocean conservation. With more than 3,500 participants across more than 30 countries worldwide at the 2018 event, Fishackathon is one of the largest environmental hackathons on the planet. Fishackathon was originally launched by the US Department of State and our team members have been involved each year up to the present where we are now leading the initiative.
7. Your token sale will last only two weeks. Why did you decide on such a timeframe?
We have received an incredible amount of interest in our token sale and we are already taking in participants in the private sale so we are confident that given all of the press and partnerships around Fishcoin, two weeks will be sufficient.
8. How much will your token cost and what is the minimum entry threshold for contributors?
Fishcoin tokens are pegged at 34,500/ETH and the minimum during the upcoming pre-sale will be starting at 50 ETH allocations. We are also taking in private sale contributions now and interested participants can register their interest on the website.
9. How soon will the project implements its idea after the ICO?
As I am responding to these questions I am sitting in Southern Thailand having just visited a shrimp farm where we are in the process of deploying our MVP. We are not waiting for after the ICO to do anything… we have already started implementing now. Our initial MVP demo will be on Google Play in the coming weeks and we already have pilot demonstrations with large industry stakeholders planned in Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, Malaysia and the US (Alaska). We also have a strong pipeline of partners who are waiting to use Fishcoin in their supply chains.
10. Imagine that your project has been successfully implemented, what would you like to say to your contributors?
Fishcoin has always been envisioned as an ecosystem approach that is not centered around any single actor, including our team at Eachmile. With all of our stakeholders we want this to be about shared success both individually and collectively. Our hope is that Fishcoin’s stakeholders will always keep this in mind as well. Success for Fishcoin is about making one of the world’s largest industries that employs 1 in every 10 people on the planet, to be more efficient and sustainable, and for us as a global society to better utilize and conserve this precious resource (the ocean) that comprises more than 70% of our planet.
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