Paid To Poop: A Korean Professor’s Bizarre But Brilliant Cryptocurrency Invention

This is the kind of “movement” the environment needs.

In recent years, many forms of digital currencies have been under fire for the environmental impacts that their creation has. According to Business Insider, Bitcoin mining, or the creation of Bitcoin, creates an estimated 40 billion pounds of carbon emissions in the United States alone each year.

But what if there was a way to turn something that everyone produces into cryptocurrency available for use while having a positive impact on the environment?

This is exactly what a professor in South Korea did by creating the BeeVi, a toilet that turns poop into a digital currency for use.

Professor Cho Jae Weon | REUTERS

Cho Jae Weon, an urban and environmental engineering professor at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) sought to design a way to create energy using feces while rewarding those who contribute at the same time. This led to the creation of the BeeVi toilet.

The toilet uses a vacuum pump to send excrement into an underground tank, reducing water usage. From there microorganisms break down the waste into methane which turns into a source of energy in the building, powering a gas stove, hot-water boiler, and a solid oxide fuel cell.

If we think out of the box, feces has precious value to make energy and manure. I have put this value into ecological circulation.

— Cho Jae Weon

Professor Cho beside the feces conversion tank. | REUTERS/Daewoung Kim

Each person that used the toilet earned 10 Ggools a day and was able to use the digital currency to buy goods on the college campus, including coffee, instant cup noodles, fruits, and books. The students scan a QR code to pay with Ggool.

Students shopping at the Ggool currency market on the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology campus. | REUTERS/Daewoung Kim

The project was also designed to serve as a social good: those with coins have to use them regularly to avoid them decreasing in value and 30% of coins earned are distributed to others as a way of avoiding wealth accumulation.

The project was active until February 2022 when the project’s funding ended, but according to Cho, this will not hopefully mark the end of the project that he still sees as a success.

“My project, Science Walden, unfortunately, came to an end in February this year, with FSM (Feces Standard Money) and BeeVi […] I think they thought they supported it enough and believe  Science Walden should stand on its own feet to be independent.

— Cho Jae Weon

A student paying for coffee with Ggools earned by using the BeeVi toilet. | South China Morning Post/YouTube

There are still some of the BeeVi toilets on the school’s campus and as researchers look for more ecologically friendly methods of digital coin creation, the project will hopefully find more funding!

Check out more about the project below:

Source: Reuters