For many businesses, sustainability is a side project, but for Oceans and Us, a Dubai-based firm founded by serial entrepreneur Joel Michael, it is the primary emphasis.
But this green business isn’t simply concerned with the future health of our world. Oceans and Us intends to generate funds by selling 10,000 non-fungible tokens that cannot be traded for cash, as well as by creating a new cryptocurrency.
NFT is a kind of digital asset that represents online treasures like as art, music, and video games. It features a blockchain-based certificate of authenticity, which is the same technology that allows cryptocurrencies to exist.
Seas and Us is collaborating with NFT artist Vesa Kivinen, widely known in the crypto art community as VESA, to raise $1.2 million to help clean up the world’s oceans.
VESA is a well-known digital artist who has amassed a following over the previous 10 years.
“He is a very passionate artist about climate change and does a lot of work with marine corals,” Joel Michael, the creator of Oceans and Us, said in an exclusive interview with Arab News. The goal of this collaboration is to bring the community together and utilize art as a means of communication.”
“Buying an NFT gives consumers a hands-on method to invest and participate.”
The idea is that people who acquire an NFT will be able to take advantage of the additional perks. Oceans and Us intends to collaborate with 100 firms in the UAE and the Middle East that produce or sell environmentally friendly products. Anyone who purchased or owned an NFT would get discounts or other perks from these firms.
“Sustainability is an ecosystem, and NFTs are like a gateway,” Michael said. “Everything will be on the blockchain, which is open to the public, so that anybody investing money can see where it goes.”
The negotiations between Oceans and the United States and the persons in charge of the Qatar World Cup have progressed. It’s also in early discussions with Landmark Group, a leading retailer in the United Arab Emirates. It intends to collaborate with Landmark Group on a sustainable clothes initiative for Splash, its leading fashion brand.
The new firm is also partnering with coffee manufacturers that are already committed to sustainability, from the cups they use to the beans they purchase, in order to provide savings to NFT owners. He also speaks with solar home solution providers and sustainable fashion designers.
The green business also intends to launch its token as a means of financing. The objective is to generate funds and awareness so that a boat may be constructed to clean the seas.
The company is collaborating with Marakeb Technologies on a self-driving AI-powered boat that can sweep up garbage in rivers and seas.
Marakeb Technologies is a Sharjah-based corporation. Abu Dhabi’s government controls 30 percent of the corporation. The boat’s maiden cruise is scheduled for July 2022.
“Marakeb has the ability to build boats that can put out fires in UAE seas if that ever occurs, and we’re working with them to build a boat that can do all it needs to do without a human on board,” she says. “This way, no one’s life aboard a boat is jeopardized,” Michael said.
“We’re looking for someone to assist us come up with new ideas, such as running the whole business on wind, solar, or kinetic energy.” The most pressing issue we need to address is how to bring the plastic we gather back to land so that it may be reused.”
Just stepped off the ship
The project’s next objective is to generate funds for a cash award as part of the Global Innovation Challenge, an eight-month program that involves events, seminars, and partnerships with incubators and universities in order to submit boat ideas.
The competition will begin in August 2022, with the winners being announced 60 days later. The objective is to make the boat official before the UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai in 2023.
“The Middle East is pushing so much in the area of climate change, and we are seeing beneficial results in the strongest manner,” Michael, who has worked in the sustainability sector for over a decade, said. “For the previous ten years, Europe has been in command, but now everything is moving toward the Middle East.”
Sustainability is a significant focus in the Gulf area. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the Middle East Green Initiative late last year with the goal of raising $10,4 billion for a fund and renewable energy projects to cut carbon emissions.
Michael also discussed the positive outcomes of COP 27, which took place in Egypt, and COP 28, which will take place in Dubai shortly.
“Things are coming together in the private sector because the government is backing these initiatives,” he added. “The UAE has been really helpful, and we believe it is the region’s sustainability hub.”
The Green Tech Alliance, a group of 350 CEOs who wish to conduct things in a more ecologically sustainable manner, has Michael in charge of the area. The entrepreneur has spent the past ten years working in the startup and venture capital arena, focused on sustainability.
“No one company can make a significant influence.” We don’t want to compete with firms who clean up the ocean or set the pace in their industry. Our objective is to assist investors and contributors put their money in the correct locations, from the innovation challenge to the token. “We regard ourselves as nothing more than a network organizer,” he said.
Oceans and Us is hard at work on a self-driving boat that will make its debut this summer. They have a global staff of ten employees operating from various locations.