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PotatoCoin Expands Charitable Algorand Project Into The Tezos Ecosystem
PotatoCoin has expanded its charitable Algorand project to also utilize the Tezos blockchain. In this written interview piece, Barry O’Hearn digs deeper into the project and its significance.
By: Lee Evans
10 June 2021
An Introduction To The PotatoCoin Interview
Many of us were drawn to cryptocurrency with a desire for profit. This desire for profit is a healthy part of the free-market system and has been a driving force for innovation throughout history.
Fortunately, the quest for profit does not exclude kind intent. As Tezos DeFi takes off, opportunities for charitable giving will become more apparent. Non-profit ventures will naturally follow the expansion of the Tezos infrastructure and adoption as they search for ways to alleviate the suffering of our fellow earth-bound beings.
Potatocoin is one of the first Tezos token projects that I have encountered that is strictly focused on charitable giving. The folks behind Potatocoin decided to expand their efforts to Tezos after they successfully established their mission on the Algorand blockchain. Their mission is plain, simple, and powerful: giving potatoes to the hungry.
We met up with the founder of Potatocoin to discuss their plans, to explore the rationale for creating a token on Tezos, and to dig deeper into the significance of the project.
We are always happy to see selfless giving efforts rising up in the cryptocurrency community and especially in the Tezos ecosystem.
It’s somewhat shocking to hear about so much need for food in Utah considering that it is often consistently ranks among the wealthiest states in the US. Please tell us about Potatocoin. Why did you launch this project? What do you hope to accomplish? What are some of your long-term goals?
Ever since I can remember, I absolutely loved potatoes as a kid. My Irish grandmother would make them for me, always boiled, whenever I’d visit. Some of my fondest memories are of sitting around the dinner table with my grandparents eating shepherd’s pie with buttered up boiled potatoes. Now, as an adult, potatoes are a staple of my diet and my life. They provide sustenance and are a great source of nutrition. That’s why I chose potatoes when I created PotatoCoin.
To your point, it’s an unfortunate dichotomy that Utah ranks in the top 5 of many of the ‘Richest States’ lists while also having over 10% of that same state’s population facing hunger. PotatoCoin aims to help reduce the food insecurity faced by thousands in our area and across the world!
PotatoCoin started out as an online, one time food drive to donate potatoes to a food bank of our choice. We created the Algorand Standard Asset, dubbed it ‘PotatoCoin’ and air dropped them to hundreds to raise awareness about what we were doing.
Ultimately, we chose for our tater donation to go to The Utah Food bank. It’s a massive operation which distributes tens of millions of meals per year here in Utah. With the first round of donations, we were able to raise enough money to donate nearly one thousand pounds of Idaho cooking potatoes to the food bank!
Since that first donation we’ve been able to consistently contribute to solving the problem of hunger by donating nearly a half a ton of potatoes every single week. Our ultimate goal is to have ambassadors and volunteers from across the globe dedicated to helping fight hunger by donating, volunteering, and organizing events to benefit local food banks. So far we’ve had people help with potato donations in Austin, Texas, Nashville, Tennessee, even all the way in Lehore, Pakistan. We won’t stop until we’re in as many cities and countries as possible.
Your roots are in Algorand. Why did you decide to bring Potatocoin to Tezos as well? Do you foresee additional cooperation with other ventures that utilize both blockchains in the future? Is anyone working on ways that these blockchains can formally interact?
In your opinion, how are these blockchains similar and different?
We started off taking funding solely from Algorand because of a small community of individuals that introduced me to the cryptocurrency world and supported our efforts. I immediately recognized the importance of the Algorand blockchain which was created by Silvio Micali and his brilliant team at MIT. The low fees and speed of transactions really helped us propel at a great speed, increasing efficiency and awareness. Slowly but surely, we gained the support of not only the Algorand community but also Algorand as an ecosystem, which verified us as one of the few official Algorand Standard Assets.
We got involved with Tezos to expand our reach and to be able to work on new applications for PotatoCoin. Tez also has the most diverse and entertaining crypto communities I’ve encountered. I really love the meme humor within the Tez world and enjoy the contests, giveaways and games. It’s just such a fun crypto. PotatoCoin is such a good fit for Tez because we both have a strong and important mission that’s delivered in a fun way.
Equally as impressive, Algorand is known for its fantastic relationships with large institutions and countries. It has led to projects like COVID vaccine passports, music rights via NFT, even becoming the National Digital Currency of the Marshall Islands. Algorand has legitimacy to it which I think contributes to its overall reputation for being stable and trustworthy among its holders. However, they both have their own uses and strengths which aid in helping our operations.
I’m currently working with Teztools (@teztools on Twitter), the creator of teztools.io. We are exploring some options that would allow the Algorand and Tezos blockchains to interact. It’s still really early though and our priorities are centered on fully establishing PotatoCoin and making a functional on-chain application.
It seems like blockchain technology has a lot to offer to the not-for-profit community. For example, direct donations that eliminate the middleman and access to fully verifiable transactions on the public ledger. How do you envision some of the ways that blockchain technology can positively impact charitable giving?
I see a lot of ways in which blockchain technology can positively impact charitable giving. With blockchain you know where your money is going because it’s all public and transparent. You can tell if it’s going to feed families or line the pockets of the CEOs. Not to mention the secure and fast transactions. Ultimately, it’s about we the people being in control of their donations, not slow governments or money machine corporations. We want to feed the people and the community supports our mission.
What is the total supply of PotatoCoin?
How will it be distributed?
It’ll be distributed multiple ways over an extended period of time, air drops and prizes. We’d like to make the distribution somewhat organic so we’re going to try and distribute it randomly with random methods until it’s gone.
Will there be some effort to maintain or derive value?
The value of PotatoCoin will be determined by the market, if the market decides to give it a value. At this point the primary goal is to get the distribution to be as wide as possible. Once the distribution is complete, the plans for the use of PotatoCoin will be announced. I can say that what we plan may have the community assign a value to the token, but I would not expect it to be high or have a lot of liquidity.
How will the token be used to support your goals?
PotatoCoin is an awareness token with a future “mystery” utility that will align with PotatoCoin’s mission to get more people directly involved with charity work in their communities. The token itself is made to be the entry into a small network of games and tools with the main goal of launching a DAO directed charity organization that encourages direct action.
What type of results have you had so far with Potatocoin?
The results have been tremendous thus far. It’s not necessarily about how much each person contributes, it’s about how MANY people have contributed or shown love to us. It tells me that there’s still a glimmer of hope that people aren’t so bad after all. We want the hungry to be fed. With the financial contributions of so many, we’ve been able to continually donate a thousand or more pounds every single week. And we will continue to, until we can’t anymore.
Of course, we encourage members in the Tezos community to support your efforts with their donations. Is there anything that the greater Tezos community can do to help with your efforts?
The Tezos community has been amazing thus far. If I had any requests, it would be to continue to spread awareness and support the mission. Every tez helps. The other thing I always tell people is to consider donating to their local food pantry. FeedingAmerica.org is a great resource for finding local food pantries and services in your home area.
Tell the community that we just love giving potatoes. It’s what we do.
Thank you so much for taking the time to discuss Potatocoin with us. I’m really looking forward to participating, supporting and following your efforts. I have no doubt that the Tezos community will also rise to support your quest to “help end hunger, one tater at a time”.
You can also donate XTZ directly to Potatocoin via their Tezos address PotatoCoin.Tez .
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