• Wildchain allows smartphone users to support real-life conservation projects across the world by digitally adopting rare animals.
  • Players nurture an endangered animal that is matched to a real-life counterpart.
  • If a player plants a tree in the game, the non-profit organization plants one in the real world.
  • Wildchain is one of a number of conservation projects crowdsourced through the World Economic Forum’s UpLink platform.

More than 35,500 species are threatened with extinction, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List. Now a new smartphone game enables players to support conservation efforts from the comfort of their sofa.

Wildchain lets users adopt animals, plant trees and support real-life conservation projects by creating what the non-profit organization calls a “digital sanctuary”.

an animated image showing how the app works
Wildchain lets users adopt animals, plant trees and support real-life conservation projects.
Image: Wildchain

Hatch an endangered animal

Players start with a magical egg that can hatch into one of the world’s most endangered animals, such as a cheetah or elephant.

These are matched to a real-life counterpart based on animal population numbers. For example, IUCN estimates there are 6,674 cheetahs left in the world – so there are the same number in the game.

Once their digital animal is hatched, players need to create its ideal habitat. This can involve anything from planting trees or grass, to keeping it safe from poachers and natural disasters.

Blockchain-based Wildchain works by gamifying giving in a similar way to popular games like Tamagotchi and Pokémon Go.

Players are rewarded for their care with ‘Seeds’, the in-game currency that can be used to purchase items and improve the animal’s sanctuary.

a picture of a dugong swimming underwater
The dugong, a cousin of the manatee and similarly vulnerable.
Image: REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

Money spent funds conservation schemes

Wildchain’s concept, which is currently at the funding stage, will use money spent in the game (from selling eggs, optional ads and in-game items) to fund wildlife protection projects.

If a player plants a tree in the game, the non-profit organization plants one in the real world to help offset their carbon footprint.

The game is part of Wildchain’s overall aim to build a global movement that inspires and empowers individuals and organizations to support conservation efforts.

How UpLink is helping to find innovations to solve challenges like this

UpLink is a digital platform to crowdsource innovations in an effort to address the world’s most pressing challenges.

It is an open platform designed to engage anyone who wants to offer a contribution for the global public good. The core objective is to link up the best innovators to networks of decision-makers, who can implement the change needed for the next decade. As a global platform, UpLink serves to aggregate and guide ideas and impactful activities, and make connections to scale-up impact.

Hosted by the World Economic Forum, UpLink is being designed and developed in collaboration with Salesforce, Deloitte and LinkedIn.

The wildlife data behind the game is sourced from the IUCN, while the environmental information comes from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and UN Environment.

With a million species of animal and plant species threatened with extinction, Wildchain hopes actions in the game can trigger real-world impact.

The organization is one of a number of conservation projects crowdsourced through the World Economic Forum’s UpLink platform.

UpLink aims to connect innovators and decision-makers with the ultimate goal of accelerating delivery of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.