The ambitious Newton Project was conceived in January 2018. The project now targets the use of blockchain technology for wildlife protection with the aid of specialized tracking drones.
The Losing Fight Against Rampant Animal Poaching
There was a time when nature and mankind lived in perfect harmony. But as industrialization and technological developments rose to exponential levels, many of the earth’s natural environment either got destroyed or became unsustainable in the process.
Fueled by the lucrative black market trade of animal parts, wildlife poaching also became increasingly rampant. As a result, the once-thriving wildlife has now come under serious threat of extinction.
Despite the involvement of government agencies, animal rights groups, and environmental groups, wildlife protection authorities find it quite challenging to bring poaching under control due to their limited resources.
The high costs, manpower, the risk of corruption, and huge park areas makes it a daunting task to keep off the creative and inventive poachers.
However, with the help of the revolutionary blockchain technology, the fight may still be won, as it offers a practical, yet a lower-cost solution.
The Ambitious Newton Project
The Newton Project is unique for its community economy infrastructure built on blockchain.
According to the whitepaper, “Newton, as the infrastructure of the community economy, provides complete governance, collaboration, incentives for establishing a community economy.”
This is done through the Newton Project’s technical framework that includes the application layer, the protocol layer and the foundational technology layer.
The architecture of the Newton Project is not just blockchain, but rather a combination of several technologies. The project is a public chain, digital wallet, IoT, distributed storage, as well as a digital economy. These are based on the five basic technologies of the project: NewChain, NewNet, NewIoT, NewAI and Atom Hashing.
Newchain focuses on and enhances the project;s blockchain’s scalability, performance and privacy controls and support flexible data structures, transaction processing mechanisms, and improved access authority control.
NewNet is an open network that provides secure and reliable storage services and supports databases and multiple common programming languages.
Atom Hashing uses techniques such as machine vision, and deep learning technology to quickly extract multiple characteristics of non-digital assets.
NewIoT includes blockchain gateways, communication protocols between IoT devices and gateways, design specifications, etc.
NewAI is a distributed artificial intelligence engine that integrates distributed data sources,, algorithm models, and computing resources to complete a given task.
The Newton Project’s Blockchain-based Monitoring Devices
With the aid of drones and sensors, the Newton Project plans to track endangered animals with better efficiency and accuracy, and alert authorities about possible poaching.
“Newton’s NewSensor technology consists of small IoT devices for monitoring location, temperature, air quality, humidity, etc, and uploads that data to NewChain, Newton’s blockchain. By inserting a NewSensor under the skin of an endangered mammal, for example, a rhino or elephant, we can track the location and basic behavior of that animal. Many animals are social and follow a leader, so instead of tagging every individual, we can just tag notable individuals.”
This part of the plan is anticipated to solve the challenge of tracking and monitoring of the wild animal herds.
For identifying possible poaching, the Newton Project plans to use fleets of NewDrones that are fitted with cameras and microphones. This data would then be uploaded to the NewChain, the hack-proof blockchain of Newton Project. The analysis of this uploaded data would be done using NewAI. In the case any suspicious activities are spotted during this analysis, the local authorities are planned to be alerted immediately.
Implementation: Still a Long Way To Go?
This ambitious project looks quite promising on the paper. However, it is yet to be determined how the project intends to plant the proposed sensors on a meaningful scale on the animal skin.
There is no indication that the technologies mentioned in the plan are yet at the prototype level, nor is it clear on how much would it cost for the successful implementation of the system.
As of now, we may have to just take their word for it. “Our solution reduces costs and manpower, making policing cheaper, easier, and more transparent.”
Blockchain May Be The Way Forward
With rapid deforestation, unchecked poaching, and technologically advanced poachers who are quick to ferret out the loopholes, the Red List of endangered species is continuing to grow longer. Guarding the rapidly declining wildlife is now becoming a highly challenging task.
To counter all this, the world needs innovative solutions, and so far, the Newton Project looks very promising. Maybe it is now time to save the wildlife the blockchain way – and one drone at a time.