While the world might have gone Bitcoin crazy last year, in 2018 it seems that the humble penguin might also be getting involved in the digital currency revolution. Emile Dunn and Quintin White from Penguin Coin met with Carol Walton, owner of the Seabird and Penguin Rehabilitation Center (SAPREC) in Mossel Bay, Cape Town to donate 15,000,000 Penguin Coins to the sanctuary. While the currency name might seem silly, the donation is no laughing matter; approximately 7,000 ZAR and the first of its kind.
The amusingly named Penguin Coin is a crypto-currency much like Bitcoin. This means that Penguin Coins cannot be copied (despite being digital), much like how physical bank-notes deploy anti-counterfeiting technology. This fundamental property of scarcity allows Penguin Coin to be used as a currency. When you send Penguin Coin anywhere in the world from one address to another, a network of thousands of virtual ledgers agree on and record the transaction in a “block”, which is then added to a list of every transaction ever made (the “blockchain”). This decentralisation makes the network very resilient to attack. You might be able to change the transactions in one ledger, but you could never change the information in enough ledgers to make the change permanent.
Penguin Coin is unique among crypto-currencies as it was designed from the ground up with charity in mind. Every minute, Penguin Coin automatically sends a small number of coins to be stored away safely in a secure but publically visible wallet. Periodically, the contents of this wallet are then donated to partner charities who then locally convert the coins into fiat currencies such as Rand or US Dollars. Since Penguin Coin is a crypto-currency, these donations occur and are received immediately, regardless of where the charities are located. So, while the novelty sized cheque makes for a good photo-op, the coins themselves were received before the ink had even had time to dry.
This inaugural donation potentially marks an important first step in how charities operate in the digital age. Crypto-currencies like Penguin Coin have the potential to make charitable donations easier, faster and safer. SAPREC are very much at the forefront in embracing these new age currencies to the benefit of penguins in Mossel Bay. The team at Penguin Coin are working hard to partner with many more charities to help all animals (even us humans) the world over.