NASSAU, The Bahamas, Friday January 25, 2019 – Bahamian tech company PO8, which is leveraging blockchain technology to recover and reshape ownership of sunken artifacts from the ocean floors, has won the Creative Business Cup Award at Demand Solutions 2018 in Santiago, Chile – a first for the Caribbean.
PO8 was selected from a pool of over 250 tech companies from 23 countries competing at Demand Solutions, an annual event which brings together exciting minds in the creative and cultural industries to discuss, inspire, and shape innovative solutions.
“This achievement demonstrates the significant potential of the innovation ecosystem in The Bahamas and highlights the creativity of Bahamian entrepreneurs,” said Mikia Carter with the IDB Lab in The Bahamas.
Led by Bahamian tech visionary and CEO Matthew Arnett and co-founder and COO Raul Vasquez, the team has found a way to improve the lives of fellow Bahamians by using blockchain technology and cryptographic tokens known as Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) to recover and reshape the ownership of US$100 billion in sunken treasures and artifacts, while driving sustained and inclusive growth to the region. NFTs convert ownership rights of recovered artifacts with economic value into a digital title, while staying in the custody of the PO8 Museum Foundation to be preserved and exhibited. With a stored value derived from its underlying asset, NFTs can be sold to anyone around the world.
“NFTs are a new store of value and commodity class,” said Arnett after leading his team to victory in Santiago. “We are shifting The Bahamas from tourism to new third pillar, which is tech, giving young people a new dream to create in new industries like blockchain, A.I. and fintech; resulting in social and economic impact to The Bahamas by simply using something rotting away in our waters.”
The idea caught the attention of many, especially after world renowned oceanographer and Titanic expeditioner David Gallo joined the team last year.
“This is indeed a great way to inspire other entrepreneurs in the Caribbean to follow PO8. They are an amazing solution for a unique and relevant issue, and I’m certain PO8 will have an outstanding future ahead,” said the IBD’s Luis Alejandro Simón, who worked with all the startup finalists at Demand Solutions.