Insect taxonomists around the world, or bug classifiers to the layman, face a common problem. That is, how to obtain a holotype, the single most important specimen for a species to be named and described. The answer to this dilemma, however, may lie in the humble NFT.
The master specimen of any given insect is generally in dusty cabinets in museums around the world. This severely hinders the classification of any new organism. Often, taxonomists in the field need to have access to the big bug when dealing with a potential new species. And in reality, they are housed thousands of miles away and scattered around the globe.
Now imagine all these holotype digital 3D renderings in a secure repository, where people studying the insect world could get any high-resolution sample from anywhere in the world. The team behind this idea believes that some of these samples will become collectors’ items due to the inherent rarity of the natural world. Thus funding the conservation and documentation of more species.
Taxonomist Samuel Bolton envisions a future where whole samples of each insect will be scanned using a high-powered microscope and rendered in three dimensions. These VEROs (virtual equivalents of real objects), will then form the backbone of insect research data, providing a very flexible and valuable ecosystem for these three-dimensional insects.
In a world where insects are going extinct faster than we can record them, NFT VERO will provide a useful tool to protect the co-inhabitants of our tiny planet.