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WWF protects animals with NFTs via the blockchain

The blockchain is not stopping at the WWF. The environmental organization has recently been protecting animals threatened with extinction with “Non-fungible Animals”. These are NFTs of endangered animal species. A good campaign. The token proceeds go to animal protection.

The “World Wide Fund For Nature” (WWF) shows the way: “Non Fungible Tokens” (NFTs) can also be used for animal protection. The nature conservation organization, based in Switzerland, issues its own NFTs, a very limited number of tokens. Ten artists work on the digital artworks, including Eric Peters, Romulo Kuranyi, Lea Fricke, Anna Rupprecht and Gary Lockwood. For this, the organization has developed its own label and unceremoniously renamed the NFTs “NFAs.” NFA stands for “Non Fungible Animals.” Translated, it means something like “irreplaceable animals.”

Endangered species on the Red List

In the“Red List“, the World Conservation Union IUCN records almost 38,500 threatened animal and plant species. As humans continue to spread across the globe, this list continues to grow. In the meantime, species extinction is said to have reached dimensions reminiscent of the end of the dinosaurs. 28 percent of all animal and plant species are threatened with extinction. This includes the mountain gorilla. The remaining monkey is a good illustration of how threatened some animals are:

  • There are now only about 1000 specimens of the mountain gorilla as a primate species.
  • A good half of them are found in the forests of the Virunga volcanoes in the border region between Rwanda, Uganda and the Congo.
  • Above all, the loss of habitat is causing them problems. Due to agriculture, illegal mining and the destruction of the forests, they have less and less space left.
  • The unrest and armed conflicts in this region are doing the rest.

To protect animals like the mountain gorilla and raise money for them, WWF started the crypto-art project. And started issuing the Non Fungible Animals.

NFAs: Non-fungible Animals for animal welfare

Ten animals are offered by WWF as NFAs since November 02, 2021. “Each individual artwork embodies an animal whose threat we draw attention to through NFAs,” explains Eberhard Brandes, Managing Director of WWF Germany. “As WWF, we have a supporting role in the area of social education. We want to show how close we are to the irreversible extinction of various species on this planet.” WWF aims to achieve this goal with its digital NFAs. These are certified digital images. Each animal comes from a different artist.

For example, Lea Fricke, an artist from North Rhine-Westphalia, immortalized 30 vaquita whales as unique digital crypto-art. There are only 30 images because only 30 are currently known to exist in the wild. It’s the same with the remaining nine species. The NFAs are limited to the number of real existing specimens. This is to draw attention to the state of the threat.

Portrait of Eberhard Brandes, Managing Director WWF Germany

We want to use the tokens to show how close we are to the irreversible extinction of various species on this planet.

Eberhard Brandes, Managing Director WWF Germany (Photo: WWF)

Artists create the designs

Also taking part is “Freehand Profit,” whose real name is Gary Lockwood. The artist has already had some experience with NFTs himself. For example, he offers his own digital sneakers in token form as part of shoe tokenization. Outside of blockchain art, he is known for his unique mask designs. Lockwood was allowed to represent the Siberian tiger in a rather idiosyncratic design for the WWF. Since there are only about 600 of these left in the wild, this NFA is limited to 600 pieces.

Portrait of Eberhard Brandes, Managing Director WWF Germany

Image: Artists participating in WWF’s Non Fungible Animals project. (Screenshot: Youtube WWF)

How does the trade with the NFAs work?

The purchase of the “Non Fungible Animals” is open to everyone. Prices vary depending on the digital artwork. The 1000 Persian Leopards by the artist Bosslogic cost 339.00 Euros or 399 USDC each (this is a Stable Coin denominated in US dollars). Some NFAs also have special editions available for purchase.

The NFAs can be purchased directly from the platform. WWF accepts credit card, Apple Pay, or USDC wire transfer. Those who want to purchase a WWF token and do not have crypto experience, usually first deposit money on a token platform using a credit card or bank transfer. The process is therefore very unbureaucratic and simple. When buying, the usual gas fees for Ethereum apply. Registration is not necessary. However, buyers need a suitable wallet in which non-fungible tokens can be stored. The conservation organization recommends the Tor.US wallet. In addition, other options include:

  • Meta Mask
  • Bitski
  • Formatik
  • Coinbase

It is important that the wallet supports the Polygon chain. The sale of NFAs takes place via the Polygon blockchain, i.e. via a side-chain of Ethereum. Polygon was chosen because it handles token trading using the staking method – in other words, in an environmentally friendly way (see box). Polygon does not use proof-of-work, which would cause high electricity costs.

The sale of NFAs on OpenSea

Buyers of the NFAs become the sole owner of the tokens and artwork. They can do whatever they want with them. Among other things, they can also sell the digital creations. For this, WWF refers to the NFT trading platform OpenSea. There is no official cooperation of the nature conservation organization with OpenSea. The art platform is merely the largest and most widely used hub for non-fungible tokens.

Shortly after launch, some animal NFTs sold out. Both the Vaquita whale and the rare Saola are no longer available. Meanwhile, interest for the other animal tokens does not seem to be as high. Whether the Non-fungible Tokens are suitable as an investment is not guaranteed. In any case, it is a creative way to contribute to nature conservation and the preservation of endangered species.

Proceeds for the protection of endangered species

But what happens to the money I pay for a WWF token or one of the NFAs? WWF works with the payment service provider Moonpay. This converts the crypto payments directly into fiat money. According to the conservation organization, the money goes directly to various projects. Their goal is to preserve biodiversity and save endangered species. The goal of the campaign is to use the animal tokens to draw attention to Amur tigers, mountain gorillas and other endangered animals.

WWF earns money from secondary sales

WWF also earns money from secondary sales. Whenever someone resells the NFAs on the secondary market, the conservation organization gets 10 percent of the net purchase price. This is stipulated in the smart contracts of the Polygon Chain. These in turn go to the various WWF project offices. This is to ensure that the NFTs also serve to protect the animals in the long term.

Information about WWF's NFA project

The information about which animals exactly WWF offers as NFAs can be found on the project's main page: There are also instructions and more detailed information about the artists here. Other conservation projects

What is Polygon?

Polygon is a "side-chain", a side blockchain of Ethereum. The Polygon chain runs alongside the Ethereum chain as a layer 2 solution. As a result, Polygon should enable faster transactions without further burdening Ethereum's blockchain. Polygon's cryptocurrency is called MATIC. MATIC can be staked, is used for Polygon's governance, and you need it to pay transaction fees.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I buy Non Fungible Animals from WWF?

Initially, the NFAs will only be available for purchase on the WWF website. This is where the non-fungible tokens will be offered for the first time. Afterwards, owners will be able to offer the digital artworks for sale on other NFT trading platforms.

How did WWF select artists for the NFAs?

As a basic requirement, the artists already had to show an interest in animal welfare. Apart from that, the artist selection consists of a colorful bunch. Some have already dealt with digital art, others are more classical artists.

Is there a donation receipt for Non Fungible Animals?

This is not a proper donation. Instead, it is a purchase. Accordingly, there is no donation receipt. You still have the option to make a regular donation.

Thomas Feldhaus

Economic Journalist | Study of Economics.
Main focus: Change processes | Digitalization | Corporate management | Sustainable development

Thomas Feldhaus

Wirtschaftsjournalist | Studium der Wirtschaftswissenschaften
Schwerpunkte: Change-Prozesse | Digitalisierung | Unternehmensführung | Nachhaltige Entwicklung