Vegans want to abstain from industries that exploit animals, even tangentially. But in a traditional economy, that can be difficult, because somewhere along the line, a product or service may be linked to animal exploitation.

A new online community wants to help vegans see exactly what they’re buying, and then buy it with what it terms “cruelty-free” currency. Entrepreneurs in Tel Aviv will soon launch VeganNation, which combines a sharing economy, blockchain contract system, cryptocurrency and social network for vegans. The company plans to hold its ICO later this month. VeganNation didn’t say how much it expected to raise, but said that it would provide additional information in a white paper.

 A Cruelty-Free Economy

VeganNation co-founder and chief executive officer Isaac Thomas says that the community could offer many of the benefits of a literal nation.

“Our mission is to create a vegan ecosystem, assisting vegans with every aspect of their lives every single day,” Thomas says. “Bottom line: Vegans will be able to fulfill most of their everyday needs through the platform, as well as work, volunteer, be active in social and political causes, meet others and much more, staying active citizens and playing a role in the economy fueled by VeganCoin.”

VeganCoin is one of two parts of the project that will be blockchain-powered. It’s a cryptocurrency that would be used in transactions on the platform’s e-commerce side.

Thomas says that he hopes VeganCoin will be used widely. “We will provide a comprehensive infrastructure for that to happen,” he says, but “it’s important to note that we aren’t looking to replace the use of fiat currencies within our communities.”

Blockchain will also document the supply chain for products sold to vegans on the platform. Users will be able to trace the components of a product from the origin to their doorsteps, verifying every step of the way that it contains only ethical, cruelty-free ingredients.

Plans for the platform include a meal-sharing service, where users can host meals for each other, and a vegan tech incubator to fund new vegan-focused innovations. The social network side of VeganNation will share news, recipes and activism events in the physical world. The company sees vegan content websites, marketplaces and vegan product and service discount platforms among its main competitors.

A Blockchain-Powered Community

Supporting so many different community functions with a blockchain is ambitious, but Larisa Yarovaya, lecturer in accounting and finance at Anglia Ruskin University  in the U.K.,  says it’s possible. The back-end code of the different applications, she says, would just tap into the decentralized blockchain, rather than data held on a centralized server.

She adds that VeganCoin isn’t the first cryptocurrency to cater to an ideological or identity group. “There are already examples of ‘national’ cryptocurrencies, such as the Venezuelan Petro and the Russian CryptoRuble,” Yarovaya says. “There are also cryptocurrencies used by groups of people in specific areas such as Liberland in the middle of the Danube river and Sol, a ‘crypto utopia being established in Puerto Rico.”

Thomas is undaunted by the project’s multiple services and its novelty in the universe of blockchain technology. The integration of so many concepts in one, says Thomas, is VeganNation’s strength.

“Contrary to a common perception, veganism is not a dietary choice—it’s a lifestyle spanning food, fashion, content, relationships, and much more,” he says. “How do we focus on one aspect when veganism is about life overall? And so we decided to focus on that—life!”

 

 

Erin Richey
Erin Richey is an award-winning investigative reporter who covers a range of technology and other topics. Her work has appeared in Forbes and other regional and national publications.