How a 14-Year-Old Used Solana NFTs to Raise $100K for Beluga Whale Conservation

Thanks to the success of her Solana collection, 14-year-old Abigail is saving whales and donating another $100K for a children’s hospital program.

Oct 28, 2021 at 8:22 p.m. UTC
Updated Oct 31, 2021 at 2:50 a.m. UTC

Eli is a news reporter for CoinDesk. He holds ETH, SOL and AVAX.

At a time when non-fungible tokens face scrutiny for environmental damage, 14-year-old Abigail is using NFTs for conservation.

Her project, “Belugies,” is a collection of 8,000 cartoon beluga whale NFTs created on the Solana blockchain. Abigail made the artwork for the project by hand, with plans to donate a portion of the profits to beluga conservation efforts and a children’s hospital program.

The high school freshman says she learned about cryptocurrency when she was nine years old during bicycle rides with her older brother Adam. Adam, now 25 years old and heavily into crypto since 2016, said he and his fianceé Briana helped with the tech.

“When we started, we didn’t really think it would work out,” Adam, who declined to provide his last name, told CoinDesk. “I told my sister, ‘Hey, if it doesn’t work at least we tried, at least we had fun. That’s all that matters.’”

Within 10 hours of the project’s Oct. 17 launch, all 8,000 NFTs had been minted, earning the siblings over $1 million in SOL tokens.

Abigail is also set to receive 5% of all future Belugie sales. The current floor price for a Belugie on the resale market is 0.32 SOL, and the project’s total trade volume has exceeded 7,159 SOL, or $1,409,700, at press time.

The inspiration for the artwork came from Abigail’s childhood adoration of beluga whales after she saw them at a Georgia aquarium near where she grew up.

With the global beluga whale population in decline – Alaska’s Cook Inlet subpopulation has crashed 75% since 2008 and now hovers around 280 – she said she wants to raise awareness as well as some cash.

She’s donated $100,000 of the Belugies NFT proceeds to beluga conservation efforts. Half went to the Beluga Whale Alliance, an Alaskan-based group that advocates for and studies the Cook Inlet pod. The other half went to the Ocean Defenders Alliance, which works to remove fishing nets and plastic that threaten underwater habitats.

After getting word of the donation, Beluga Whale Alliance flew Abigail, Adam and Briana out to Alaska to see the belugas up close and personal in their natural habitat.

The project’s emphasis on conservation contrasts with popular criticisms of the NFT industry.

Ethereum, the blockchain underlying the majority of NFT projects, currently uses an energy-intensive proof-of-work consensus mechanism. (When upgraded, Ethereum 2.0 will switch to a proof-of-stake system.) While some blockchains including Solana use the more efficient proof-of-stake, the overall impact NFTs have on the environment remains harmful.

Abigail credits much of the project’s success to the belugas themselves for being so “wholesome and adorable,” which she attempted to convey in her artwork.

In addition, she made a $100,000 donation to Sunshine Kids, an organization that supports children’s hospital programs across the country. Abigail cited a personal connection to her local children’s hospital as the reason for the donation.

The Festival for the Decentralized World
Thursday - Sunday, June 9-12, 2022
Austin, Texas
Save a Seat Now

DISCLOSURE

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Eli is a news reporter for CoinDesk. He holds ETH, SOL and AVAX.

CoinDesk - Unknown

Eli is a news reporter for CoinDesk. He holds ETH, SOL and AVAX.

Trending

1
CoinDesk - Unknown
How the US Can Establish Itself as a Crypto Leader

Regulators have an opportunity to map out thoughtful, strategic policy on stablecoins and beyond.

Regulators have an opportunity to map out thoughtful, strategic policy on stablecoins and beyond.

CoinDesk - Unknown
2
CoinDesk - Unknown
No, the UK Is Not Going to Make USDC and USDT Legal Tender

For “legalize” read “regulate.”

For “legalize” read “regulate.”

CoinDesk - Unknown
3
CoinDesk - Unknown
Thoughts From Davos

The crypto industry showed up in force at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.

The crypto industry showed up in force at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.

CoinDesk - Unknown
4
CoinDesk - Unknown
Bitso, primer unicornio cripto de América Latina, despide a 80 empleados

El exchange, que tenía más de 700 empleados antes de los recortes, cuenta con cuatro millones de usuarios en la región.

El exchange, que tenía más de 700 empleados antes de los recortes, cuenta con cuatro millones de usuarios en la región.

CoinDesk - Unknown