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Rhino Coin, the digital currency to save rhinos. Or to speculate on their horns?

In South Africa, a particular digital currency named Rhino Coin has been launched, anchored to the value of the precious horn.

The stated objective would be to use the money collected to safeguard this rare mammal from extinction, but the operation requires a thorough examination.

A large quantity of rhino horns is stored in an underground vault in South Africa, each of which has been weighed, photographed, microchipped and from which DNA samples have been taken. In all, 108 kg of horns have been legally collected on private land, and their theoretical value, on the Asian black market, would be equal to 125 dollars per gram.

The trading of horns is legally prohibited by international conventions for the protection of animals. The Director of this large warehouse, Alexander Wilcocks, would like to tokenize this great value and sell it with coins with a value of $4 per gram.

In South Africa there is the world’s largest population of rhinos, estimated at between 15 and 20 thousand, of which one thousand are killed each year by poachers, and about 50% live in 330 private reserves where they are protected, but with heavy costs for owners who would like to make up for it economically by selling legally collected horns and thus better support the protection of the fauna.

The horns in the private reserves are cut with veterinary methods, under anaesthesia, every two or three years, to make the animals less attractive to poachers. The Rhino Coin is a sort of bet that these horns, collected in the Rhino Vault, will sooner or later come out of the ban provided by the CITES treaty (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) concluded in 1977 and can then be marketed.

Whoever buys Rhino Coins finances the owners of private reserves with 56% and the charitable foundations and storage with the remaining 46%.

But there’s an issue: the fear is that a possible deregulation could push to a growth in the demand for horns which would push to a way of collecting these horns that goes well beyond the safe one practised by the owners of the reserves.

Fabio Lugano
Fabio Lugano
Graduated with honors from Bocconi University, Fabio is a consultant for companies and wounded shareholders of the Banche Venete. He is also the author of "Scenari Economici", and lecturer and analyst of cryptocurrencies since 2016.