BitStarz Exclusive Interview – Cecil Alliance Foundation CEO

  • Cecil Alliance Foundation aims to create digital animal identity solutions to reduce fraud and improve the care of the animals within animal industries, from thoroughbred racehorses to domestic pets
  • Animal profiles will be rewarded with tokens in return for sharing data, but pet owners won’t see “direct benefit” from using application
  • The project is named after the Zimbabwean lion that was killed by an American big game hunter in 2015

Cecil Alliance Foundation (CAF) is an ICO that hopes to revolutionize animal breeding and care by introducing digital animal identity solutions on the blockchain. The internet of animals may sound like a crazy ICO from 2017, but when you realize that most of the multi-billion dollar animal industries still work with paper documentation, equine fraud cases can run into the millions, so you can see why such a remedy is needed. Also, there is a wealth of data created by our pets, as well as commercial animals, which currently goes to waste. CAF wants to pay us for this data. BitStarz writer Mark Hunter spoke to CAF CEO Danny van de Griend to find out more about this exciting new project.

MH: How would you describe CAF?

DvdG: We are the first provider of digital animal identity solutions for all animal-based industries, including pets, livestock, sports, zoos, and wildlife. Each individual animal on the platform has a digital identity, and various stakeholders can write immutable data to that identity.

Let’s say you have a dog. A veterinarian can write medical data, a breeder can write breeding data, a trainer can write training results, and so on, with tokens being paid out for each piece of data added. This data will be linked to a web and mobile portal for the registered owner to have up-to-date, instantly accessible information in one place. This will form the backbone of the internet of animals.

MH: What utility does the token have and what is your vision for it?

DvdG: There should only be a token if it makes sense. It’s all about data sharing. How can you make sure that people have an intrinsic motivation to get data sharing right? We believe that animals should have the tokens, not the humans. For example, I create a digital identity for my cat that costs me 1,000 CAF tokens. The tokens go to the cat, and the amount gets depleted as you add more data to its profile. You go to the veterinarian, the veterinarian writes medical data to the cat which costs 100 tokens, but in return it gets medical data. This medical data can be shared with big data pools or other applications that can make use of it.

MH: How do pet owners benefit from buying CAF tokens if they have to pay them out to add data?

DvdG: This is a very, very good question. People don’t do things without financial incentives, but we don’t have an “if you do ‘A’ you’ll get ‘B’” token. For us as pet owners there’s not a direct benefit of using our application. But, there’s more than direct needs for a solution. With this application you can make appointments directly, later on you’ll be able to order animal foods and animal equipment, but the token for people who just own pets is more about gamification – the more I share, the more tokens my pet gets. This is not the core of our business – this is the future. The pet owners will create the demand and we can create the supply by integrating those pet food, pet equipment suppliers and so on so they can buy their supplies for a better price and get it delivered.

MH: Which markets do you think are in most need of your product?

DvdG: The industry that needs our solutions the most at this time is the equine industry – people in this industry really need our platform in order to reduce fraud and bring trust and transparency. This is where we started with Mustang Chain (the idea from which CAF grew), then we got messages from the industry saying ‘this is a very similar thing that you could leverage to the canine and feline industry, and zoos and wildlife’. We even got many emails from the livestock industry, so then we were re-studying which markets should be the most feasible. We will start with equine, feline, and canine industries.

MH: Are there existing companies who could branch out and do what you’re doing at a fraction of the cost and with an already established name to back them up?

DvdG: I can say with confidence there’s no other solution like ours there. You always have companies that do little bits of what we do and we are also a company that does little bits of what other companies do, but there’s no company out there that offers multiple technologies where companies and customers can choose the use.

We are not delusional to think that all data will go on the blockchain. That’s not up to us to decide, but it’s up to us to make it possible that they decide which data is going on the blockchain, which data is going on a private database, and how can we slowly adapt to these technologies. If you want to have a certain level of adoption at the beginning you have to think what the industry wants and not always what you think they need. But making it possible that they can make use of all? I think we are the only one there.

MH: Your data relies on input from numerous sources to reflect the different people involved in an animal’s life and care. How can you verify the information going on the platform is accurate?

DvdG: You can never guarantee 100% correctness. With current animal passports you can fake stamps, you can fake medical records, you can create it all yourself, along with the breeding data, training results etc. Veterinarians have the option to upload their documents that say, “I’m a veterinarian, here’s my license”. This data is verified. We make manipulation of data so hard it’s almost impossible to do so, and it’s not feasible to do so. As a veterinarian you don’t want to risk being blocked from this platform. The application can say ‘the data written here is not correct’, so a change can be made to the record but the old information remains, along with who wrote it, and what was wrong with it.

MH: How do you see the platform growing?

DvdG: This industry has such a huge scope. The commercial demand is already there for us to get the platform embedded, and with that approach we are solving the problems and creating a user base and adding more value by adding more services for these users. What if I can find cats in my area that I could breed together? What if I can find a local food supplier who sells the food I need and can do a deal with me? These are not problems, these are services you can add once you have the user base.

Facebook makes billions of dollars a year thanks to your human data. They use your data and they sell it to big brand companies that will target advertisements to you. This is quite similar for animals. Pet food manufacturers for example can get access to real-time data and find out which types of animals are eating which food, which breed, which age, which period of the year they’re eating specific foods. This is one of the thousands of examples of what can be done when you have the internet of animals.

There is no global connected animal data platform yet. We are happy and lucky that it wasn’t there and we can be one of the first builders of this great thing. People may not care about it now, but they’ll care about it in a few years.

According to Danny, we only covered 10% of what CAF will be capable of, and what I saw was impressive enough in ambition and scope, and is clearly needed in the field of animal welfare. This is a serious project that the equine industry for one has been calling for, and with clients ready and waiting, CAF could hit the ground running, although the lack of direct benefit to pet owners as it currently stands is a little concerning. Details have not yet been released for the ICO, but you can register your interest now and be informed as soon as they drop.

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