AFP
Wire Service
2 minute read
15 Nov 2021
4:30 am

SA businessman pays R105 000 for digital rhino horn

AFP

Proceeds will go to the private Black Rock Rhino Conservation, home to 200 rhinoceroses which are able to breed while protected from poachers.

Picture: iStock

A digital replica of a rhino horn was sold at an auction on Thursday, as conservationists tapped into the craze for non-fungible tokens (NFT) to raise money to protect real rhinos.

Cape Town businessman Charl Jacobs paid R105 000 for the digital horn, which he said he plans to place in trust for his children.

“If, worst-case scenario, rhinos go into complete disarray, then I would still own a rhino horn, because the NFT is a token of the physical rhino horn,” he said.

Proceeds will go to the private Black Rock Rhino Conservation, home to 200 rhinoceroses which are able to breed while protected from poachers.

“We are doubling our population every four years. So it’s a really important conservation project,” said conservationist Derek Lewitton. “But it costs a fortune. If you don’t want to get poached, you have to spend a ton in terms of manpower and security infrastructure, and this is a way to help us fund that.”

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NFTs have made a huge splash among art collectors. An NFT’s authenticity is certified by block-chain technology, which is considered immutable, making the digital objects something that can be bought and sold. The technology also allows a beneficiary to receive commissions from future sales, so if Jacobs sells his NFT in the future, Black Rock Rhino would receive a portion of that sale.

It’s legal to trade in real rhino horn within SA, but in this case, the original horn is locked away for safekeeping.

Poachers killed at least 249 rhinos in SA in the first six months of the year – 83 more than in the first half of 2020. They are slaughtered for their horns, which are highly prized in Asia for traditional and medicinal purposes.

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