Linnaeus

Linnaeus is a prototype interspecies money transfer service. Our mission is to make it possible for humans to send money to non-human life forms.

Linnaeus

Linnaeus is a prototype interspecies money transfer service. Our mission is to make it possible for humans to send money to non-human life forms.

“Yes, the planet is warming and antibiotic resistance is spreading. But the solution to such problems calls for the deployment of more technology, not less.” – The Economist, January 3rd, 2020

Opportunity

There is no digital platform for other species. There is no way for us to share with them online. By building a secure global interspecies money transfer service, we can give rare life forms the power to receive cash and spend it on the services they need for their survival.

Interspecies money will be extended to wild animals, trees, and eventually to plants, pollinating insects, and microbial colonies.

Opportunity

There is no digital platform for other species. There is no way for us to share with them online. By building a secure global interspecies money transfer service, we can give rare life forms the power to receive cash and spend it on the services they need for their survival.

Interspecies money will be extended to wild animals, trees, and eventually to plants, pollinating insects, and microbial colonies.

Why now?

There is not enough money, or innovation, in existing conservation models to save rare life forms outside of protected areas.

We are experiencing the sixth mass extinction event in the last 500 million years. In the next decades, one million species of fauna and flora are at risk of disappearing.

Many of these species suffer because they have no independent financial means to change their value. The only value they have is that of their processed body parts. By making rare life forms worth many times more alive than dead, Linnaeus can make a positive difference in many ecosystems at a difficult time.

Why now?

There is not enough money, or innovation, in existing conservation models to save rare life forms outside of protected areas.

We are experiencing the sixth mass extinction event in the last 500 million years. In the next decades, one million species of fauna and flora are at risk of disappearing.

Many of these species suffer because they have no independent financial means to change their value. The only value they have is that of their processed body parts. By making rare life forms worth many times more alive than dead, Linnaeus can make a positive difference in many ecosystems at a difficult time.

Where?

Linnaeus has the potential to work anywhere, but the greatest need is in the biodiverse tropics.

The world will add 2 billion more people before 2050, most of them in Africa and Asia. The poorest communities in the tropics living closest to the greatest biodiversity presently receive very little reward for better stewardship of their surroundings. Under Linnaeus, the cash they earn for the services they provide to rare life forms can significantly improve their lives.

In order to achieve this, Linnaeus will also be a digital financial solution for the unbanked. It will be designed to be used easily and profitably on the cheapest mobile phones by the 1.7 billion people who do not have a bank account.

Where?

Linnaeus has the potential to work anywhere, but the greatest need is in the biodiverse tropics.

The world will add 2 billion more people before 2050, most of them in Africa and Asia. The poorest communities in the tropics living closest to the greatest biodiversity presently receive very little reward for better stewardship of their surroundings. Under Linnaeus, the cash they earn for the services they provide to rare life forms can significantly improve their lives.

In order to achieve this, Linnaeus will also be a digital financial solution for the unbanked. It will be designed to be used easily and profitably on the cheapest mobile phones by the 1.7 billion people who do not have a bank account.

Who pays?

Biophilia needs a direct payment scheme.

Proven and trusted, with proper administration, Linnaeus can support transfers from tens of millions of caring citizens across the world. Through real time interactions, the will know that they are making a positive difference. An active user may push pennies on a cup of coffee to another species, spending the equivalent of a digital streaming service subscription each month.

Much larger sums will be routed to nature through interspecies money by companies and governments required to invest in biodiversity to offset their pollution.

Linnaeus will earn money in transaction fees and from its banking and insurance facilities (where rare life forms offer loans or insure at preferential rates). The datasets Linnaeus generates will help direct investments including in tree planting, bush management, renewable energy, and production of nuts, honey, and botanics.

Who pays?

Biophilia needs a direct payment scheme.

Proven and trusted, with proper administration, Linnaeus can support transfers from tens of millions of caring citizens across the world. Through real time interactions, the will know that they are making a positive difference. An active user may push pennies on a cup of coffee to another species, spending the equivalent of a digital streaming service subscription each month.

Much larger sums will be routed to nature through interspecies money by companies and governments required to invest in biodiversity to offset their pollution.

Linnaeus will earn money in transaction fees and from its banking and insurance facilities (where rare life forms offer loans or insure at preferential rates). The datasets Linnaeus generates will help direct investments including in tree planting, bush management, renewable energy, and production of nuts, honey, and botanics.

Is it suitable?

Linnaeus will earn money in transaction fees and from a banking and insurance facility. Linnaeus datasets will be applied to make safe investments in biodiverse areas. Other species and local communities may earn money in wind power, or the production of nuts, honey, and botanics.

Is it suitable?

Linnaeus will earn money in transaction fees and from a banking and insurance facility. Linnaeus datasets will be applied to make safe investments in biodiverse areas. Other species and local communities may earn money in wind power, or the production of nuts, honey, and botanics.

How does it work?

Linnaeus aims to build the artificial intelligence backend and the biometric “wallets” necessary for interspecies money transfers.

Linnaeus will be organised to acquire large amounts of data in the wild. Verification requires it to show, in a timely fashion, where a rare life form is, what condition it is in, and whether it is receiving the services it paid for. In order to do this,Linnaeus will use an array of AI, sensing, mobile telephony, and fintech to build datasets that are accurate, high-resolution, and persistent.

Community rangers will record video and track the location of the recipient species on basic mobile phones. Camera traps will be deployed at water holes and along paths. Payments will be made for observation of spoor, prints, hair, and sometimes genetic sampling. Drone and satellite imagery will be gathered from above, for instance to periodically detect slash and burn farming, tree cutting, and the presence of cattle. Further layers of information such as weather, economic data, security and political volatility will be added. Data on recipient species will be made available for those paying into the service. Some data will be repackaged into compelling stories for meaningful engagement. Over time, this may evolve into new forms of sharing beyond just money transfer.

Linnaeus benefits from breakthroughs in AI pattern recognition technology. One early study using camera traps in the Serengeti in Tanzania, an AI identified 48 species from 3.2 million images with 94% accuracy. Other examples include a solution for detecting emotion in sheep from their facial expressions, detecting when a sow is pregnant in an industrial pig farm, and counting marine mammals from drone footage.

The bigger ambition for Linnaeus is in computational game theory. Game theory is used in antagonistic situations such as stopping malicious behaviour on a computer network or predicting pirate attacks on shipping lanes. Linnaeus will turn interspecies money into a game by laying a meta layer on the world which can be tweaked and improved. The game tells humans that certain nearby species have money and want to spend it on services they can provide. Services and incentives can be adjusted towards an equilibrium that benefits both animals and community. The game will be played for as long as the extinction threat exists, or until interspecies money is no longer a relevant or welcome intervention in nature.

The use of scalable algorithms will likely make Linnaeus more nimble and affordable than traditional conservation. However, interspecies money is an approximation and subject to bad actors. It will not work where communities are insecure from natural disasters, or where they are powerless to stop armed gunmen from killing animals or cutting down trees for charcoal. Linnaeus is intended for targeted conservation, where a particular species needs a greater chance of survival. Where it does work, Linnaeus will be characterised by an ability to shift strategy on a weekly basis.

How does it work?

Linnaeus aims to build the artificial intelligence backend and the biometric “wallets” necessary for interspecies money transfers.

Linnaeus will be organised to acquire large amounts of data in the wild. Verification requires it to show, in a timely fashion, where a rare life form is, what condition it is in, and whether it is receiving the services it paid for. In order to do this,Linnaeus will use an array of AI, sensing, mobile telephony, and fintech to build datasets that are accurate, high-resolution, and persistent.

Community rangers will record video and track the location of the recipient species on basic mobile phones. Camera traps will be deployed at water holes and along paths. Payments will be made for observation of spoor, prints, hair, and sometimes genetic sampling. Drone and satellite imagery will be gathered from above, for instance to periodically detect slash and burn farming, tree cutting, and the presence of cattle. Further layers of information such as weather, economic data, security and political volatility will be added. Data on recipient species will be made available for those paying into the service. Some data will be repackaged into compelling stories for meaningful engagement. Over time, this may evolve into new forms of sharing beyond just money transfer.

Linnaeus benefits from breakthroughs in AI pattern recognition technology. One early study using camera traps in the Serengeti in Tanzania, an AI identified 48 species from 3.2 million images with 94% accuracy. Other examples include a solution for detecting emotion in sheep from their facial expressions, detecting when a sow is pregnant in an industrial pig farm, and counting marine mammals from drone footage.

The bigger ambition for Linnaeus is in computational game theory. Game theory is used in antagonistic situations such as stopping malicious behaviour on a computer network or predicting pirate attacks on shipping lanes. Linnaeus will turn interspecies money into a game by laying a meta layer on the world which can be tweaked and improved. The game tells humans that certain nearby species have money and want to spend it on services they can provide. Services and incentives can be adjusted towards an equilibrium that benefits both animals and community. The game will be played for as long as the extinction threat exists, or until interspecies money is no longer a relevant or welcome intervention in nature.

The use of scalable algorithms will likely make Linnaeus more nimble and affordable than traditional conservation. However, interspecies money is an approximation and subject to bad actors. It will not work where communities are insecure from natural disasters, or where they are powerless to stop armed gunmen from killing animals or cutting down trees for charcoal. Linnaeus is intended for targeted conservation, where a particular species needs a greater chance of survival. Where it does work, Linnaeus will be characterised by an ability to shift strategy on a weekly basis.

Which life forms?

Initially, Linnaeus will transfer money to “charismatic” wild animals whose numbers are small and whose ranges are well-defined. The purpose will be to robustly test and vividly demonstrate interspecies money transfer to a large audience. The lasting application of Linnaeus will be towards lesser known and never remembered species at the edge of villages. Not just animals, but also “static” life forms such as baobabs and bees which are easy to monitor. At maturity, Linnaeus may be applied to strange rare life forms such as fungi and microbial life.

Simple case studies under consideration are orang-utans and and giraffes:

The orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus)

Orangutan is critically endangered outside of a few protected areas in Borneo and Sumatra. It is the most intelligent primate and the most arboreal, spending most of its life in the tree canopy. Orang-utans are soulful and receive considerable attention and financing: a captive orang-utan in Argentina was recently granted landmark legal status of “non-human personhood”. 

Total annual spending on orang-utan protection in Borneo is some $20 million, or $200 per orang-utan at the estimated population of 100,000. But this funding has not stopped a decline in orang-utan numbers as many more humans seek to exploit the rainforest for palm oil, timber, and farms.

 Linnaeus will transfer money to the 75% of orang-utans who live outside protected areas on Borneo. Orang-utans will receive money simply by being an orang-utan. They will be identified individually by face recognition on mobile phones. Farmers are often in conflict with orang-utans because of crop raiding. Using interspecies money, orang-utans will be able to pay farmers to be tolerant of it, to put up protection for their crops, and for any damage they do. Communities will earn extra money by uploading data on orang-utans. Testing will determine whether interspecies money increases orang-utan numbers and quality of life.

The orang-utan (Pongo pygmaeus)

is critically endangered outside of a few protected areas in Borneo and Sumatra. It is the most intelligent primate and the most arboreal, spending most of its life in the tree canopy. Orang-utans are soulful and receive considerable attention and financing: a captive orang-utan in Argentina was recently granted landmark legal status of “non-human personhood”.

Total annual spending on orang-utan protection in Borneo is some $20 million, or $200 per orang-utan at the estimated population of 100,000. But this funding has not stopped a decline in orang-utan numbers as many more humans seek to exploit the rainforest for palm oil, timber, and farms.

Linnaeus will transfer money to the 75% of orang-utans who live outside protected areas on Borneo. Orang-utans will receive money simply by being an orang-utan. They will be identified individually by face recognition on mobile phones. Farmers are often in conflict with orang-utans because of crop raiding. Using interspecies money, orang-utans will be able to pay farmers to be tolerant of it, to put up protection for their crops, and for any damage they do. Communities will earn extra money by uploading data on orang-utans. Testing will determine whether interspecies money increases orang-utan numbers and quality of life.

The giraffe (Giraffa)

Orangutanis one of the most recognisable animals. The ubiquity of it, in images, from childhood onwards, bears no reflection to its endangered status. There are only 97,000 giraffe left alive in the wild, down from 163,000 in 1985. There are only some 1700 giraffe in captivity. The giraffe is threatened in much of its range; in some areas numbers have collapsed by 95% owing to fragmentation of its habitat, incursion of farmers and cattle herders, bovine tuberculosis, and poaching.

However, conservation initiatives have been successful in Niger and elsewhere. The giraffe is easy to track and is non-threatening to communities. It depends on acacia trees and water which in turn support other life forms. Translocations of giraffes are well established; giraffe herds may in the future pay to be moved to safer habitats.

Particular attention will be given by Linnaeus to the most endangered subspecies of giraffe such as the Kordofan giraffe (2000 individuals), the Nubian or northern giraffe (less than 2200), and the reticulated giraffe (less than 10,000). If testing with giraffe is successful, with local communities benefiting from cohabiting with the animal in new ways, Linnaeus can be applied to critically endangered hoofed animals like the Hirola antelope (less than 1,000), giant elands (less than 12,000), and Heuglin’s gazelle (less than 3000).

The giraffe (Giraffa)

is one of the most recognisable animals. The ubiquity of it, in images, from childhood onwards, bears no reflection to its endangered status. There are only 97,000 giraffe left alive in the wild, down from 163,000 in 1985. There are only some 1700 giraffe in captivity. The giraffe is threatened in much of its range; in some areas numbers have collapsed by 95% owing to fragmentation of its habitat, incursion of farmers and cattle herders, bovine tuberculosis, and poaching.

However, conservation initiatives have been successful in Niger and elsewhere. The giraffe is easy to track and is non-threatening to communities. It depends on acacia trees and water which in turn support other life forms. Translocations of giraffes are well established; giraffe herds may in the future pay to be moved to safer habitats.

Particular attention will be given by Linnaeus to the most endangered subspecies of giraffe such as the Kordofan giraffe (2000 individuals), the Nubian or northern giraffe (less than 2200), and the reticulated giraffe (less than 10,000). If testing with giraffe is successful, with local communities benefiting from cohabiting with the animal in new ways, Linnaeus can be applied to critically endangered hoofed animals like the Hirola antelope (less than 1,000), giant elands (less than 12,000), and Heuglin’s gazelle (less than 3000).

The following simple illustration shows how the money humans are willing to pay to keep another species alive on the planet, so-called existence value, can be applied with precision. In this case, the services a giraffe pays for improves its life and the life of the local community.

Challenge // Giraffe numbers are falling because of human encroachment. Giraffes are killed for their tails, which are used for ceremonial purposes, and for their meat and bone marrow. They are snagged in barbed wire or hit by vehicles when crossing roads. They are pushed out of their range by cattle. Acacia trees are cut for fuel.

Verification // Linnaeus sends money to a biometric “wallet” owned by a giraffe. The giraffe pays the local community to gather detailed information on its condition.

Improvements // The giraffe pays the community to stop poachers and charcoal burners. It pays for tree planting and for the cattle to be moved to different areas. Giraffes and other wild animals have increased range and have freer access to water holes. The giraffe pays for its own veterinary care and it pays the community for improved farming and solar lighting.

What's next?

Linnaeus is one of the first interspecies services. An interspecies service is a technology solution which allows for new ways of sharing between humans and non-human life forms. Some of these services will develop in ways that are beyond our present imagining. But, just like international and internet, interspecies will become commonplace word in the 2020s. Read our Call for Interspecies Services.

What's next?

Linnaeus is one of the first interspecies services. An interspecies service is a technology solution which allows for new ways of sharing between humans and non-human life forms. Some of these services will develop in ways that are beyond our present imagining. But, just like the words international, interstellar, and internet, interspecies will become commonplace word in the 2020s. Read our Call for Interspecies Services.

Download the white paper

Linnaeus is named after the system of taxonomy by which we classify all life on Earth by genus and species, ergo Homo sapiens. We greatly admire, but are not connected to, the Linnean Society.

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general inquiries info@linnaeus.life
scientific and financial inquiries development@linnaeus.life

general inquiries info@linnaeus.life
scientific and financial inquiries development@linnaeus.life