Shipwreck artifacts become real use case for non-fungible tokens

February 11, 2019 //By Rich Pell
Shipwreck artifacts become real use case for non-fungible tokens
Marine archaeology technology startup PO8 (Grand Bahama, Bahamas) has announced that it is using non-fungible tokens (NFTs) - a special type of non-interchangeable cryptographic token that represents something unique - to catalog recovered shipwreck artifacts on the blockchain.

The company uses blockchain technology to excavate underutilized sunken treasures and artifacts from shipwreck sites in The Bahamas - a market sized at an estimated $100 billion. By using NFTs, says the company, it is restoring trust to the marine salvage industry, an industry known for bad actors pillaging shipwreck sites or defrauding investors, and resulting in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas having held a moratorium over its territorial waters preventing underwater expeditions for the last 18 years.

"Through NFTs we are setting a new standard for artifact recovery," says Matthew Arnett, CEO of PO8. "NFTs will be that necessary bridge between the archaeology community and the commercial side. This not only allows us to recover artifacts for preservation purposes, but it also lets us embrace the economic side of it in a responsible way."

NFTs, says the company, make it possible for the physical artifacts to remain in the possession of the PO8 Museum Foundation ensuring preservation and access to recovered artifacts via exhibitions and educational programs, while the ownership can be sold in the form of an NFT to collectors and investors worldwide. The end result is a new asset class and store of value for the owners, and new sources of revenues for The Bahamas.

For example, if a user purchases Artifact X from PO8 for $25,000, Artifact X will continue to remain under the custody of PO8 to be used for educational programs or loaned to museums, while the user holds the digital token in their possession confirming they are the rightful owner of Artifact X, with a stored value of $25,000. The user can now store their token in their crypto wallet or upload to the PO8 NFT marketplace to sell their position in Artifact X.

The company says NFTs offer several benefits:

  • Provenance - Establishes provenance via smart contracts allowing for tracking and verification of ownership in artifacts and bringing back trust and transparency

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