23. Charity Tokens with Jan from cleanocean

Crypto goes eco.

Pristine Ocean

You might have heard about some amazing stories about crypto currencies in the last few months. Stories about a currency shooting up to the moon and then falling back to Earth.

Criminals using cryptocurrencies for their payments and maybe most disturbing of all, the environmental footprint associated with cryptocurrency mining, and then came their tweet from Elon Musk causing the market to drop dramatically.

I can imagine that you’re thinking that the whole market is bad, but there are some good people looking for applications that will have a positive impact.

That’s why when I heard about a cryptocurrency that are being created to fund ocean preservation projects, I wanted to know more.

The term they use is charity token. It’s a cryptocurrency, but it’s got charity baked into it. The idea with charity tokens is that part of the transaction fees associated with trading are donated to ocean preservation projects like Sea Shepherd or Ocean cleanup. These are famous ocean preservation projects that constantly need donations to keep their operations running.

I decided to contact the founder of the company that had launched this charity token.

But transparency is not something associated with the crypto world. I was wondering which part of the darknet I would have to access to get in contact with this crypto king.

As it turns out, it was pretty easy. There’s a picture of him and his contact details on the website clean Ocean Dot IO Jan, the founder of Clean Ocean was interested in talking, but he was busy.

He and his team were out in the field cleaning up after the recent German floods.

I thought this is not your typical cryptocurrency operation.

When he got back to the office, I sat down with him and asked him about whether or not clean ocean is an environmental organisation with a crypto side, or it’s a crypto operation with an environmental side. Have a listen to the interview and decide for yourself.

Pristine Ocean

I understand that it’s quite an exciting project, but I’d be really interested to know while you got into it or you are you more of an environmentalist? Or are you more of a crypto techie?

Jan from CleanOcean

That’s actually, for me, pretty much 50/50, and I know that other team members are more into crypto and others are completely out of it. We have team members who told me like after like a week being in clean ocean, “Hey, I want to do the environmental side, but I don’t want anything like with the crypto”. Not because they don’t like crypto per se.

They just don’t feel comfortable in this space because they don’t know much about it. That’s fine. We need both of these people in the company, and that’s why it’s my job kind of to bring these people together in cleanocean.

And we also see this new community even amongst our top holders. We have people who are really completely into the environmental concept and others are here because they’re like, hey, the concept sounds cool, but to be honest I’m here to make money.

And that’s where it becomes really interesting, because you really combine both parts together, which was like something I’ve never seen before.

You never got like, really to a point where you combine people will like a mix of activists and the mix of like investors in like one group. Like that never was really fitting together.

Pristine Ocean

This idea with charity tokens where you’re actually earning an giving at the same time. It’s quite a novel concept to me. Is there anything else in the financial world that is comparable?

Jan from CleanOcean

Yeah, that’s actually what it makes it really interesting. Maybe something you could kind of compares like investing in the stock market in companies that are going in this direction, but they’re also really hard to find there because usually you don’t see Sea Shepherd on the stock market for example, like right? And with this charity token projects like that for example.

You can directly invest into giving funds providing more funds to these projects and that’s really hard to to compare. That’s why we’re like, hey, this is such a completely new space. But exactly what we wanted to do.

Pristine Ocean

Maybe there is a comparison out there. Maybe there is an example, but I can’t think of one. So the question is, is there a sort of credibility gap there that you have to get over? And how are you going to do that?

Jan from CleanOcean

That was the biggest thing. When you start in crypto trust is not something that is going to be given to you. 

You really new need to earn every little bit of trust, like especially coming from crypto because like there’s like to trust issues in the crypto scene, there are trust issues from people coming new to crypto seed and hearing just from outside. 

So not just because it’s something that has not really existed before, but also because we’re starting in a space where like trust is really rare. 

Um, that’s why we that everything that is for us possible to give the most safety and legitimacy to the project. 

Also being transparent from from like day 1. 

We as soon as we could, we like talked to attorneys and lawyers about how we can do it in the best way, and how we can do it with the doxing of showing our faces etc which is obviously not a not a problem anymore but in the beginning when you start something like this and it becomes so big, so fast, it’s a big scary so. 

But yeah, we wanted to as soon as possible show all faces show who we are. So everyone also knows who’s behind the project.

It’s also like you said, getting credibility. 

That’s why we also tried our best of work from the beginning with projects that already have credibility and collaborate with them, like many really amazing German projects, international projects.

 There we found like we had like this really great collaborations like the Sea Shepherd where they came in our stream and we had an amazing talk with them and some great interviews. 

So one of the most biggest memories, probably for my whole life, just having the CEO of SeaSheperd, Germany joining our live stream and we can talk to him. 

Pristine Ocean

I’d like to stay with the credibility aspect because this seems like a quite a challenge. You’ve approached it with transparency. 

You put your names and the teams on the on the website. You’ve made the outreach fairly easy. 

How’s that worked out for you has there? Are there any downsides to that or has it been positive? 

Jan from CleanOcean

Actually, it has been completely positive. There’s never been any downside to us. I heard like, of course, always you hear horror stories from when you have 

so many people following you and every step, because especially the sensitive because they actually have money invested in you. 

You hear like many stories of like people getting death threats or something like this, you hear us a lot over the Internet, even for like normal influencers where people are not having the money invested.

So I was really scared about especially that. 

But to be honest, like I have never gotten anything like this like people in this space, and that’s why I’m really happy to have the community that we have. 

They are really supportive. 

And since the day that we showed us and made us self like vulnerable in the sense it made a really good impression on everyone and they they saw that there really like human beings behind us trying their absolute best to make this to one of the greatest projects and to make our or like common goal work of building the bridge between investing and doing. 

Pristine Ocean

Let’s continue with the cryptocurrency aspect. You’ve got Elon Musk on the news about the environmental impact of Bitcoin. How does the cleanocean deal with the with people who say cryptocurrencies are in total environmentally destructive? 

Jan from CleanOcean

So actually, like I’m going to go to over the how cleanocean specifically is tackling this problem in in a minute, but just about the premise:

No one really in the crypto space who is really informed of and learned a lot about crypto,  doesn’t matter what your opinion specifically is on it but. 

But everyone who really knows something about it doesn’t really understand why Elon was talking like this about crypto becausr he itself like founded Tesla, a company that is right now environmentally destructive because, like all the new cars and batteries have been built, but in the long term will most likely benefit the planet. If we make a successful transition to electronic cars. 

And for crypto, it’s kind of the same. It’s right now ’cause like especially outdated technology like Bitcoin is there that is has many negative aspects about the mining etc that has that needs so much energy and the energy comes not really from sustainable resources. 

But that’s like a snapshot of right now, and even that is changing so fast in new blockchains and new crypto technology and decentralised technology in general that’s getting developed is getting so extremely fast and more sustainable and environmentally friendly that this take on like Bitcoin specifically was a bit odd. It’s like saying cars are like why transportation in general is horrible for the planet because like and then using as an example like a car from like the 1900s or something. 

You cannot just look at Bitcoin, and even if you do it, I would say what you could compare to is like the centralised financial system and that is just even more environmental harming because like all the banks you have everywhere and just what they consume of energy I think can never be compared of what they use for mining for Bitcoin. 

But that’s a discussion of itself. We never wanted to enter this discussion. So the blockchain we chose is Binance Smart Chain. And that is one that is extremely environmentally friendly because

there’s no mining in the blockchain involved whatsoever. All the tokens and all the crypto currencies on there, they do not need to be mined.

They are already existing, not like Bitcoin where like big computers and server rooms need to do, like basically useless mathematical problems all day to mine these bitcoins and that is not something that has to be done with clean.

So because all the tokens already exist, there is no mining, and that means there’s no high energy consumption or something like this as well. This project is far beyond environmental positive. 

Pristine Ocean

OK, got it. Yeah, thank you. 

How do you go about choosing projects? Why Sea Shepherd? Why Ocean Cleanup? 

Jan from CleanOcean

We think it’s really important to listen to the community there and choose organisations together with them, but also we wanted to make sure that we partner organisations who are like collaborate or partner organisations who have the focus on raising awareness. 

For example, sees Seaspiracy from Netflix, played a huge part in there of raising a lot of awareness for this topic, and there was just fascinating to see what raising awareness alone can do. So we believe that this is the most important step at this moment to do this and then, like it’s better to always prevent something and always just clean up. 

So that’s also very important aspect, so we basically had like the community helping us out there, finding amazing organisations also talking to them personally before we like put them on stream and before we donate there. I always love to talk to someone personally before that. 

Pristine Ocean

It sounds like Sea Shepherd has played a central role in the your outreach programme. You donated to them. You’ve had them in a live stream. Why is Sea Shepherd so special to cleanocean? 

Jan from CleanOcean

We always like had since the beginning of the project we had a dream like we want to have like some collaboration with Sea Shepherd because we’re just all like everyone project is just to be honest with massive fan of Sea Shepherd . 

Pristine Ocean


Jan from CleanOcean

They’re like, kinda like Greenpeace was They really taking action directly and that they’re going out there. 

That’s what the aspect that we love so much that they really like they’re just doing it. And we loved this hands-on approach so. 

Um, of course, it’s not always just black or white, so it’s also. 

They have many controversies surrounding. They had like this huge documentary which is like directly supporting our belief that raising awareness is like the biggest thing at the moment to do. 

But also there, combining raising awareness with the hands on approach of going out. 

Pristine Ocean

Obviously, you are very involved in getting the word out to buy clean token, but you also need to work together with Sea Shepherd. You also need to know where the money is going.  

So if you give an organisation some money, what does that mean? You know is it are they going to be cleaning plastic or they’re going to be doing awareness and and all those things? Do you have some kind of guiding principles about how you’re going to deal with that?  

Jan from CleanOcean

For us, it’s really important that like not just only for ourselves but also for our Community, it’s really important that they know what is done with the money. And that’s also a huge trend that you see more and more in the whole charity scene not only crypto that people really want the transparency, they want to know exactly what happens with every euro they put in there. 

And again lwhy I like Steve Shepherd. They make clear distinctions if you buy merge this is to support the internal structures and employees etc. 

And if you donate money, that goes directly to the preservation project. We think that makes it so transparent and so simple to understand. 

So the problem was there, obviously not with the Sea Sheperd because they are really amazing, transparent and we talked a lot on this stream about us and where the money exactly will go, but especially with smaller projects, that was something really interesting and we made really sure like that they have a clear target of like when we’re giving them the money. 

For example, like with Segel Expedition, they used the whole money to purchase like new camera setup. Becaused Segel Expedition is a project really much about raising awareness and they’re making also their own documentaries and films about it while also doing like all the beach clean up things on the side or doing a both. But raising awareness is a huge part of them. 

And they use this money to buy like those underwater cameras and stuff like this. So that’s something really interesting for us. 

And it’s always like the third question, kind of we asked, like, hey, OK, after we get to know each other and we see you have a great project. 

But what exactly will you do with

the money.

Pristine Ocean

This is what I actually find most fascinating about this project, is the interface between this high tech and fairly traditional charities really. 

Because on one hand you’ve got people who don’t want to affect their image, their public image by having any kind of crypto in their communications and on the other hand you have this sort of this interface where you can learn from these projects because they have a lot of local knowledge and you have a lot of you know technology that you can, you can offer them.  

Jan from CleanOcean

Exactly, and combining these things, I think it’s going to be super important to really to bring this to the next step.

because what we really can’t afford is to have all these all these people with amazing intentions being like gate kept behind of like behind new technology and not using their full potential just because of that. 

I mean, just what crypto could offer to this whole sector is incredible and not just saying this like as someone who is generally a fan of crypto, but like we did practical applications are crazy.

Bank transfers, for example like it takes time, it doesn’t happen on the weekend. 

It can cost a lot of money to transfer money through banks. 

It’s depends on how much it is. And like I said, it can definitely take some time. So with crypto, for example, you speed up the whole project much faster if you, for example use clean or any other Binance Smart Chain currency. 

If you would restore to support them and they accept it, this money can be sent on anytime of the day on any day, whatever in seconds. 

So you can really directly support a project. So someone says hey, something happened here. We need money right now on this day. 

Like for example, the floods in Germany: you need like money at this moment. Yeah you can do it. 

You can really transfer like millions of dollars like in five seconds, And that’s something that we never had before and I think. 

It’s also really easy to do so. 

Pristine Ocean

Sounds like you’ve been on an incredible ride, starting and then going to 17,000 holders and now coming in contact with people from a really different cultures, their projects and and interacting with them. So what would you say that you know today that you didn’t know when you started?  

Jan from CleanOcean

There’s so many things. 

For sure, I was like we experimented a lot about a marketing in the beginning. We learned we stepped up our game. 

 Maybe almost too much communication, so to the point where we like really, we were more busy with like communicating then we could actually use the time to develop the project even further. 

So we did like voice chat everyday to live streams all the time and just being constantly in the chat. 

And that is like, really something we underestimated and we saw like many parts of the team and many team members like we burning out in like 2 weeks.

Pristine Ocean

The project is absolutely fascinating and I think it’s such a great contrast of tech and marine plastics, and I really wish you and the team all the best. And thanks for taking the time to talk to them. 

Jan from CleanOcean

Thanks for having me. 

Jan from CleanOcean

That was Jan Honeck, the CEO from Clean ocean. You can find out more about clean ocean at cleanocean.io. 

While researching this story, I actually went out and bought some clean ocean tokens. They dropped about 30% and then they went up about 30%. This morning I had to look in there about the level that I bought them for. 

That’s it for this week. Thanks for listening. Please do subscribe to the Pristine Ocean podcast. 

The podcast that speaks to people around the world about ideas and projects, tackling the scourge of marine plastic litter. 



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