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Bahamian start-up using blockchain to tokenize precious underwater artifacts

David Gallo, one of the most respected Oceanographers in the world has joined PO8, a marine archaeology start-up company in The Bahamas utilizing blockchain technology to unearth billions-worth of sunken artifacts and treasures from Bahamian waters dating back to the Spanish Galleon treasure ships of the Spanish Empire.

With the use of blockchain, PO8 will bring full transparency to all stakeholders including the government of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, which for the last 18 years has held a moratorium over its territorial waters preventing underwater expeditions due to years of looting, corruption, and lack of oversight.

Gallo, a 30-year veteran in Oceanography and formerly the Director of Special Projects at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, will take on the role of Vice President for Exploration at PO8. His illustrious career includes serving as the co-expedition leader to create the first detailed and comprehensive map of the RMS Titanic and the successful international effort to locate the wreck site of Air France flight 447.

For Gallo, the idea of using blockchain for ocean exploration and re-defining ownership of recovered artifacts is a turning point for the industry. “To me, PO8 is the most exciting project to come along in decades,” says Gallo. “It encourages the development of new technologies and techniques for undersea exploration and visualization. In doing so PO8 will accelerate the ability to locate, document, and protect the precious artifacts of Bahamian undersea cultural resources. The waters surrounding the islands of The Bahamas are not only rich with shipwrecks but also with unlimited treasures of the mind.”

Divisions between the marine archeology community and commercial salvage companies often hinder new exploration attempts, which can result in the loss of the artifacts to slow deterioration. For this reason, PO8’s Co-founder and CEO, Matthew Arnett believes bringing on industry veterans like Gallo, who recognizes the importance of artifact recovery without affecting the archeological composition of shipwreck sites is paramount.

“We’re thrilled to have Gallo join the core team. Gallo is an authority in the Oceanography field. He understands the importance of blockchain and the critical role it plays in innovation for our industry. It brings all stakeholders together. Whether it’s transparent record keeping or changing the way artifacts are owned, blockchain provides tremendous benefits to our industry,” says Arnett.

One unique product PO8 is introducing is the Non-Fungible Token or NFT and it’s PAZAR Marketplace. NFTs are created by using ERC-721 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain and represent digital ownership of physical assets like the underwater artifacts PO8 will be recovering.

Each distinguishable NFT has a smart contract containing unique asset data cryptographically certified, confirming ownership of the physical asset. NFTs will allow for the majority of PO8 artifacts to live on the blockchain and physically remain in the custody of the PO8 Foundation for continued studies by the archaeology community and to be exhibited in various museums worldwide, while the ownership of the asset can be from anyone around the world.

NFTs will be tradable on the PAZAR marketplace rolling out later in the year. PAZAR users will be able to buy, sell, auction, lease, trade, and leverage their NFTs on the marketplace platform. For the first exploratory mission, Gallo and the PO8 team has its eyes on a couple of target sites in The Bahamas. Without giving specific coordinates for security reasons, Arnett confirmed: “We’ve already identified a couple of locations with cargo manifest records indicating the loads are significant in value.”

PO8 is currently in the middle of a token sale, which is a form of crowdfunding for future expeditions by selling tokens. The practice is also commonly referred to as an Initial Coin Offering or ICO. PO8 is raising funds by selling utility tokens for future use of the PAZAR Marketplace.

PO8 will be holding a Bahamas Independence Day special pre-sale promotion for it’s massive 100,000 plus community worldwide.

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