NASSAU, The Bahamas, Thursday February 14, 2019 — By now you may know the name Matt Arnett. As the CEO of PO8, he has been responsible for the rapid tech sector growth developing in The Bahamas. CoinScribble, a platform focused on the cryptocurrency industry, spoke with Arnett regarding PO8, his goals for the organization, and his vision for The Bahamas.
How would you describe PO8 in a nutshell? What is your vision for the project?
PO8 is strategically poised to usher in a new era of marine exploration in The Bahamas. Utilizing A.I., robotics and blockchain technology coupled with the blue economy mindset, PO8 is discovering the answers to questions about our history and the secrets the sea bed holds. PO8’s trajectory will lead to new sectors of tokenized underwater treasure and artifacts, seafloor mineral databasing, underwater virtual reality mapping and a museum with educational components emphasizing historical tourism in The Bahamas. With over three million shipwrecks worldwide, PO8 has the ability to scale up to over 20 countries with a total market size of over a trillion dollars.
The vision for PO8 is to be the fuel that fires the dreams of billions of young people around the world! PO8 will turn disbelief to complete conviction, and ideas to action. The young will understand that they can achieve anything and the old will have a second breath of hope that truly confirms that nothing is impossible.
How big is the market that PO8 is targeting?
We are targeting $100 billion over the next 5 years and $1 trillion with our global expansion. Although a lot of people miss the major point here, PO8’s mission is not just about tangible treasure but more about treasures of the mind which makes our target market 7.5 billion+ minds!
What’s the story behind the PO8 name?
Poetic justice, really. In 1497, after a monetary reform, the Spanish created PO8 which means pieces of eight. These coins had the ability to be broken into eight pieces, whereby anyone could give change while purchasing items or paying for services. If you wanted to buy a loaf of bread or some fresh fish, the merchant would say your total is 3 pieces of eight and you would break three equal pieces to pay. All PO8 coins bear the image of the monarchy or the church, and certain coins like gold minted coins were only for the aristocratic society. Many of the coins that have been found in the Bahamas on shipwrecks are PO8, so we felt that it was only right being named after what was one of the first legal tenders to be redistributed to all mankind defying tradition and custom of class or rank. Now anyone can own the digital cryptocurrency PO8 and by owning PO8 we fulfill the very essence of decentralization.
How do you see PO8 impacting The Bahamas?
We have already seen the tides starting to turn. PO8’s mission is to shift the Bahamas from tourism to a new third pillar – tech –, which means the creation of new economies by using asset-backed non-fungible tokens known as NFTs to jump-start local economies and create sustainable revenue channels that spillover to the Bahamian people. We are building a group of companies that provide a very profitable ecosystem to fuel our global expansion. PO8 now has several new arms like VR data and content creation, seafloor mapping and mining and the first ever reward based digital collectible.
In tandem with the government, we are working to educate young people with a focus on coding and a blockchain curriculum that includes free classes at The University of The Bahamas and Bahamas Technical Institute. Students also stand to benefit from job placement and internships in PO8. We are deeply committed to retooling professionals from down-trending industries like financial services, to refocus their skillset and service new industries and companies in the tech space; especially tech companies that come and set up shop in The Bahamas.
So, this means more local jobs ranging from tech to tourism – from hiring divers during the fishing off-season, to creating The Bahamas Archaeological Treasure and Maritime Museum, resulting in additional economic activity worth $60 million per annum, and at peak some 100+ jobs. This venture will also become an anchor project for the tech hub of The Bahamas in Grand Bahama and establish itself as one of the first historical tourism products for The Bahamas. Essentially, our unique project illustrates sustainability and capacity building through underutilized resources.
What does the roadmap look like? Is there anything big on the horizon?
Well, we’re always moving forward with establishing new global partnerships, so expect to hear more on those soon. We also anticipate making an announcement of the first ship with expected cargo value, but as you can imagine this is quite sensitive information, so it must be managed well and timing is crucial.
But, for now, we’re gearing up for our upcoming security token offering or STO. We’ve been working on it since last year. More and more investors want to invest in the company in the form of equity, so we have been working with a dedicated team of lawyers, accountants, stock transfer agents, and the Securities Commission of The Bahamas to create an attractive offering for our potential investors in the coming weeks. Unlike many of the STOs were seeing in the market these days, we are really trying to differentiate ourselves by providing more due diligence documents to investors. It’s very similar to what you would expect from the IPO world. So, expect to see a full prospectus with financials and equity research reports. Transparency is key to winning our investor’s trust. I think I have yet to see ICOs or STOs show actual financials.
We are also working hard to launch a rewards-based digital collectible game, Skullys. It’s a fun pirate-themed game on the blockchain with the objective “geo-flag” locations around the globe to earn PO8 coins, also known as “booty drops”. So, once players have their Skully, they will then be able to purchase accessories with their earned PO8 coins to unlock more earning powers. Players can also earn PO8 coins by battling other players and taking down their geo-tagged flags. Each time a Skully earns coins, the value of the collectible increases. Players can buy or sell Skullys on our own NFT marketplace and will also be available via third-party sites.
What PO8 milestone are you most proud of?
Receiving the respect and recognition of the international community validates our mission. I would have to say being recognized by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) last month in Santiago, Chile during the Demand Solutions competition was pretty special for all of us. They are like the World Bank of Latin America and the Caribbean, so receiving the Creative Business Cup Award made the entire team feel really proud about the hard work and dedication they’ve been pouring into PO8.
What was your background prior to PO8?
I lived in China for 12 years where I went to university and launched two startups. One was a creative agency focused on live events which was acquired in 2013 and the other a dot.com business which was the first online English ticketing platform in Beijing that was acquired in 2012 just one year after we launched it. After that, I focused on China market entry for Uber, Wework and many other multination firms. I parlayed all of those experiences into a consultancy firm that managed outbound investment from China to Latin America and The Caribbean in the areas of venture capital investments for commercial projects involving hotels, airports, and casinos, managing portfolio in the billions of dollars. By mid-2016 the new government of The Bahamas wanted to make tech a new mandate for the new administration, and I rose to the challenge to build local blockchain solutions with global scalability.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Yes, the Blue Economy is something we feel needs more attention and PO8 is throwing its full support behind it. We have found a way to utilize the oceans’ very own resources like the $100 billion in sunken treasures and artifacts, to create sustainable sources of funding and jobs benefiting the Bahamian people. As an island nation, we have a deep love for the ocean. We aren’t just taking away, but giving back to the ocean, essentially feeding what feeds us. (CoinScribble.com)