Make money now and impact later? Or put the planet first, as money will no longer matter when we can’t breath fresh air anymore? These are the two most common takes that separate people when it comes to doing the right thing for the planet.
We trust that we can do better in Web3. At Project Ark, our feeling is that the moral question being posed is a fundamentally flawed one. Drawing hard, dualistic ideological lines between members of a society, or between societies themselves, will always yield a separation that pits people on either side of the argument against each other. It’s a classic story.
With the Arkanauts, we are offering you a membership ticket to a community for both profit and purpose. By being profitable, we build a fund that makes positive impact possible. By making positive impact possible, we establish trust within the community that we’ll all show up and contribute to curating impact together. You cannot build a community. It evolves, out of individual actions. We create an opportunity to redefine what value means. This is an invitation to a club that can forever blur the lines between money and purpose.
It is possible. We are inspired in our collaborative communities model, by nature. Birds manage to travel thousands of kilometers without perpetual leaders who unilaterally determine and enforce the priorities of the entire flock. Birds move in the same direction, not because a few birds that hold most of the money tell them to do so, but because they take turns leading. They do this through collective decision making and some defined social interaction rules. It turns out that only three simple rules suffice to form tightly cohesive groups. Each animal needs to avoid colliding with its immediate neighbours, to be generally attracted to others of its kind, and to move in the same direction as the rest of the group. And a flock of 400 birds needs just about half a second to turn. Simple, right?
So, inspired by nature, we have come up with 3 guiding principles:
1. Impact precedes form:
Most of the support systems right now are funding forms and structures: non-profits, B-Corps, NGOs, etc. We believe that positive impact is a matter of actionable passion, science and ability. It might be that you are a large NGO that has no budget to experiment with a new solution. Or a community in the heart of the Carpathian Mountains — the green heart of Europe — that wants to remove a dam blocking fish from traveling downstream. Or a hybrid company for both profit and purpose that needs funding. Or a group of volunteers that wants to test a machine learning solution to count and catalog wild species.
Eligibility criteria for payments for impact should not depend on existing structure. It currently does and is limitative. Let’s build this differently. We fund even what is not considered “structurally eligible for funding” in legacy markets. Or we do impact investing in startups just the same. The form no longer matters as much. Challenging traditional ideas about form means considering impact as the primary drive and partner projects will follow.
2. Decentralised and collaborative, keeping it open
Yes, we will continuously be on the look out for partner projects to bring to the table. But there are so many people out there in this amazing world; they can all participate in making positive impact possible. Our community will be responsible for making suggestions and proposals and will invite all members to make collaborative decisions on the impact projects that we fund. We want to foster an open and collaborative community. Individuals educated and involved in the making decisions for the impact that we fund and make happen for Life on land and Life below water (SDG14 and SDG15). We follow and fund the projects that promise solutions that implement positive impact in one of the two SDGs.
We will be experimenting with different forms of decision making and governance, even considering creating a DAO specifically for this. We believe that the way we approach this subject now is still in the testing stages. Lots of things can still happen based on how the community grows and wants to get involved.
3. Unrestricted funding and trust
The speed at which we see our world degrading has made us question what’s really important. It asks us to give something up so that we can be more agile and achieve our goals faster. So, we have decided to relinquish control and instead, TRUST the community and the process. We know that most projects follow the funding stream up to how much the dinner of a bear costs. But what if we just trust everybody to do their job? It might be that some projects can easily identify those costs. But it might also be that it will be difficult. And funding will stop, because it is difficult to communicate. We have seen amazing leaders that do not have the time to build the stories because they are on the field, making it happen. As long as we keep transparency and trust that all sides will do their jobs, we will keep funding and investing unrestricted and follow up on results and data.
We will be looking into putting data first in all projects, so that your Arkanaut NFT is relatable to what is happening in real life. We have a common objective and purpose: generating impact at scale for life on land and life under water. But we leave it open as to the HOW we are doing this, as a community of Arkanauts.