‘NFT in Peace’ WWE Presents The Undertaker NFTs Ahead Of WrestleMania

The World Wrestling Entertainment announced today it will create the corporation’s first-ever non-fungible tokens (NFTs) representing legendary moments from the career of one of the most iconic fighters – The Undertaker. The four-tier drop will be launched ahead of the company’s biggest event this Saturday, April 10th – WrestleMania.

The Deadman as an NFT

WWE announced it will release non-fungible tokens featuring Mark William Calaway, better know by his ring name, The Undertaker. The legendary ex-superstar NFTs, who retired from professional wrestling last year, will be one of the spotlights of this year’s Wrestlemania.

The auction will open this Saturday at 10:30 AM ET. The drop is supposed to be met with significant interest and will last for 37 hours. The end will be on Sunday, April 11th, at 11:30 PM ET.

The Undertaker NFTs will be offered in four tiers – Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze. The Platinum and Gold will have minimum open bids of respectively $10,000 and $5,000, while the other two will have fixed prices – $1,000 for the Silver and $100 for the Bronze.

The top option would also provide VIP access, hotel accommodations, a personalized video message from the superstar, as well as a unique WWE Championship Title Belt.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Gold one – would get the winner two front-row-seat tickets at a Monday Night Raw or Friday Night SmackDown of their choice in 2021 or 2022, a personalized video message, and a signed Title Belt.

The Silver and Bronze tiers would provide more limited benefits to the winners.

World Wrestling Entertainment has partnered with Bitski for the project. With this being announced, it means participants will need to have a Bitski account, and winners will receive NFTs in their wallets.

The Undertaker. Source: BBC
The Undertaker. Source: BBC

The Expansion of NFT

Non-fungible tokens have been a hot topic recently as they have enjoyed mass acceptance and adoption from various celebrities and industries.

As CryptoPotato recently reported, the US Major League Baseball team Toronto Blue Jays explored options to take advantage of non-fungible tokens. The team’s President and CEO confirmed the move by indicating that it should enhance fan interest in the sport.

Another fresh example of the increased popularity of NFT is Lindsay Lohan’s plan to release an exclusive NFT collection. The famous American actress reaffirmed her support for non-fungible tokens by partnering with TRON to launch personalized digital art products.

In his turn, the founder of TRON and the CEO of BitTorrent, Justin Sun, went even further. Recently, he bought a painting by Picasso for $20 million, and he intended to tokenize it through the JUST NFT Fund.

Featured Image Courtesy of Wrestling Edge

SPECIAL OFFER (Sponsored)
Binance Futures 50 USDT FREE Voucher: Use this link to register & get 10% off fees and 50 USDT when trading 500 USDT (limited offer).

PrimeXBT Special Offer: Use this link to register & enter POTATO50 code to get 50% free bonus on any deposit up to 1 BTC.

SnackMagic picks up $15M to expand from build-your-own snack boxes into a wider gifting marketplace

The office shut-down at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic last year spurred huge investment in digital transformation and a wave of tech companies helping with that, but there were some distinct losers in the shift, too — specifically those whose business models were predicated on serving the very offices that disappeared overnight. Today, one of the companies that had to make an immediate pivot to keep itself afloat is announcing a round of funding, after finding itself not just growing at a clip, but making a profit, as well.

SnackMagic, a build-your-own snack box service, has raised $15 million in a Series A round of funding led by Craft Ventures, with Luxor Capital also participating.

(Both investors have an interesting track record in the food-on-demand space: Most recently, Luxor co-led a $528 million round in Glovo in Spain, while Craft backs/has backed the likes of Cloud Kitchens, Postmates and many more).

The funding comes on the back of a strong year for the company, which hit a $20 million revenue run rate in eight months and turned profitable in December 2020.

Founder and CEO Shaunak Amin said in an interview that the plan will be to use the funding both to continue growing SnackMagic’s existing business, as well as extend into other kinds of gifting categories. Currently, you can ship snacks anywhere in the world, but the customizable boxes — recipients are gifted an amount that they can spend, and they choose what they want in the box themselves from SnackMagic’s menu, or one that a business has created and branded as a subset of that — are only available in locations in North America, serviced by SnackMagic’s primary warehouse. Other locations are given options of pre-packed boxes of snacks right now, but the plan is to slowly extend its pick-and-mix model to more geographies, starting with the U.K.

Alongside this, the company plans to continue widening the categories of items that people can gift each other beyond chocolates, chips, hot sauces and other fun food items, into areas like alcohol, meal kits, and non-food items. There’s also scope for expanding to more use cases into areas like corporate gifting, marketing and consumer services, and analytics coming out of its sales.

Amin calls the data that SnackMagic is amassing about customer interest in different brands and products “the hidden gem” of the platform.

“It’s one of the most interesting things,” he said. Brands that want to add their items to the wider pool of products — which today numbers between 700 and 800 items — also get access to a dashboard where they monitor what’s selling, how much stock is left of their own items, and so on. “One thing that is very opaque [in the CPG world] is good data.”

For many of the bigger companies that lack their own direct sales channels, it’s a significantly richer data set than what they typically get from selling items in the average brick and mortar store, or from a bigger online retailer like Amazon. “All these bigger brands like Pepsi and Kellogg not only want to know this about their own products more but also about the brands they are trying to buy,” Amin said. Several of them, he added, have approached his company to partner and invest, so I guess we should watch this space.

SnackMagic’s success comes from a somewhat unintended, unlikely beginning, and it’s a testament to the power of compelling, yet extensible technology that can be scaled and repurposed if necessary. In its case, there is personalization technology, logistics management, product inventory and accounting, and lots of data analytics involved.

The company started out as Stadium, a lunch delivery service in New York City that was leveraging the fact that when co-workers ordered lunch or dinner together for the office — say around a team-building event or a late-night working session, or just for a regular work day — oftentimes they found that people all hankered for different things to eat.

In many cases, people typically make separate orders for the different items, but that also means if you are ordering to all eat together, things would not arrive at the same time; if it’s being expensed, it’s more complicated on that front too; and if you’re thinking about carbon footprints, it might also mean a lot less efficiency on that front too.

Stadium’s solution was a platform that provided access to multiple restaurants’ menus, and people could pick from all of them for a single order. The business had been operating for six years and was really starting to take off.

“We were quite well known in the city, and we had plans to expand, and we were on track for March 2020 being our best month ever,” Amin said. Then, Covid-19 hit. “There was no one left in the office,” he said. Revenue disappeared overnight, since the idea of delivering many items to one place instantly stopped being a need.

Amin said that they took a look at the platform they had built to pick many options (and many different costs, and the accounting that came with that) and thought about how to use that for a different end. It turned out that even with people working remotely, companies wanted to give props to their workers, either just to say hello and thanks, or around a specific team event, in the form of food and treats — all the more so since the supply of snacks you typically come across in so many office canteens and kitchens were no longer there for workers to tap.

It’s interesting, but perhaps also unsurprising, that one of the by-products of our new way of working has been the rise of more services that cater (no pun intended) to people working in more decentralised ways, and that companies exploring how to improve rewarding people in those environments are also seeing a bump.

Just yesterday, we wrote about a company called Alyce raising $30 million for its corporate gifting platform that is also based on personalization — using AI to help understand the interests of the recipient to make better choices of items that a person might want to receive.

Alyce is taking a somewhat different approach to SnackMagic: it’s not holding any products itself, and there is no warehouse but rather a platform that links up buyers with those providing products. And Alyce’s initial audience is different, too: instead of internal employees (the first, but not final, focus for SnackMagic) it is targeting corporate gifting, or presents that sales and marketing people might send to prospects or current clients as a please and thank you gesture.

But you can also see how and where the two might meet in the middle — and compete not just with each other, but the many other online retailers, Amazon and otherwise, plus the consumer goods companies themselves looking for ways of diversifying business by extending beyond the B2C channel.

“We don’t worry about Amazon. We just get better,” Amin said when I asked him about whether he worried that SnackMagic was too easy to replicate. “It might be tough anyway,” he added, since “others might have the snacks but picking and packing and doing individual customization is very different from regular e-commerce. It’s really more like scalable gifting.”

Investors are impressed with the quick turnaround and identification of a market opportunity, and how it quickly retooled its tech to make it fit for purpose.

“SnackMagic’s immediate success was due to an excellent combination of timing, innovative thinking and world-class execution,” said Bryan Rosenblatt, principal investor at Craft Ventures, in a statement. “As companies embrace the future of a flexible workplace, SnackMagic is not just a snack box delivery platform but a company culture builder.”

Top 7 small cap altcoins with huge potential, says analyst George Tung

In the recent video, crypto KOL George Tung from CryptosRUs discussed 7 altcoins under $150M in market cap that he believes are poised to explode.

top-7-small-cap-altcoins-with-huge-potential-says-analyst-george-tung

Rally (RLY)

Rally (RLY) is the first altcoin on the list, a decentralized network for creators to monetize and align themselves with their community. As a community-owned network, the community is in charge of making the decisions for how the network evolves, not the Rally team itself.

“This is a brilliant idea! It’s a very easy way for creators to basically launch a token and interact and engage with their fans”, the trader says.

Moreover, excitingly, Rally recently launched a cryptocurrency dubbed Creator Coin that will help influencers, content creators, and streamers run their own virtual economies. The analyst also cites the news that Grammy-winning artist Portugal.The Man has also joined as a coin partner.

“All these entities have big followings and they’re adopting Rally”.

Terra Virtua (TVK)

Next on the list is Terra Virtua (TVK). Terra Virtua is a cross-platform non-fungible token (NFT) ecosystem that offers a curated marketplace for NFT creators and collectors to interact. The Terra Virtua Kolect platform spans web, PC, and mobile AR/VR environments.

“Terra Virtua has launched a line of Godzilla vs. Kong NFT collectibles created in collaboration with film production giant Warner Bros. — among the first-ever NFT drops to coincide with the release of a major film”, Tung says.

He further adds that if there is anything more than places Terra Virtua uniquely in the NFT and blockchain space, it is the partnerships the project has bagged over the last 3 years, including Paramount Pictures, Legendary Entertainment, and more in the space.

Revv (REVV)

Next on Tung’s radar is Revv (REVV). REVV is designed to leverage the blockchain assets concept of interoperability, wherein a token can be utilised across multiple connected products.

“Revv is specifically created for games. Having one utility token for multiple game titles offers various benefits to players and game publishers and will encourage players to explore the other games that are part of this connected ecosystem, and has the additional potential benefit that any content or tokens could increase in utility as the larger token ecosystem expands”.

Tung also shares his bullish view on the coin that given the current strong fundamental grounds, the coin will pump to the moon really soon.

Nuls (NULS)

Nuls (NULS) is the next potential low market cap altcoin on the video.

NULS is an open-source, enterprise-grade, adaptive blockchain platform that offers fast-track business solutions for developers. Featuring microservices, smart contracts, cross-chain interoperability, and instant chain-building, NULS sets a new industry standard in streamlining blockchain adoption.

“The coin has been finally climbing, crawling up and they’re finally above 100 million, 127 million to be exact, and you know what, hopefully, they could continue to momentum and gain and go back to their previous highs”, Tung says.

Frontier (FRONT)

Next on the list is Frontier (FRONT), a chain-agnostic DeFi aggregation layer.

“To date, the coin has added support for DeFi on Ethereum, Binance Chain, BandChain, Kava, and Harmony. Via StaFi Protocol, they also enter into the Polkadot ecosystem, and will put vigorous efforts towards Serum”, he says.

EasyFi (EASY)

The sixth altcoin is EasyFi (EASY), a universal layer 2 lending protocol built for DeFi focused on scalability, composability, and adoption.

Tung points out that the one of the most interesting features is that the network design is ethereum compatible and blockchain agnostic that facilitates the expeditious settlement of assets over different blockchain networks while retaining custody with the asset owner’s network.

Bepro (BEPRO)

Lastly, the crypto KOL lists out Bepro (BEPRO), a utility token that enables token holders to setup applications on BEPRO, participate in the network, and earn token rewards by providing value.

The trader says that BEPRO Network Staking on Kucoin has been increased recently as the previous hardcap of 330M BEPRO has been increased to 430M BEPRO.

He also comments that although this is still an early coin, looking at the technology, communities and its partnerships, he believes that this coin would soon begin its rally.

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has expanded the trials of their CBDC to the Hainan Province from April 12 to April 25
the-peoples-bank-of-china-pboc-has-expanded-the-trials-of-their-cbdc-to-the-hainan-province-from-april-12-to-april-25

It is reported that from April 12 to April 25, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) will expand the CBDC trial to Hainan province. This was the first event in an attempt to normalize cryptocurrencies across China. Now the People’s Bank of China has also conducted the test in other provinces.

Hainan Province announces its first-ever CBDC event in an attempt to normalize the digital currency across China

The Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DC/EP) is a fiat currency designed to replace a system of reserve money. Currently in the testing process, but CBDC is still gradually being adopted in China.

Members of the Sanya municipal government, including their employees, businesses, and permanent residents, will be the main participants of this trial. The trial will raise awareness for the digital yuan, foster secure transactions with wide accessibility. Additionally, participants in this trial will receive a 15% discount for every 100 yuan spent on the island.

While CBDC trials continued across China, cities like Chengdu and Beijing have shown promising success. The second batch of trials was announced in Shanghai, Trường Sa, Qingdao, Xi’an, and Dalian.

Currently, the digital yuan is in beta in China. It is being piloted as a retail CBDC. In the future, though, the central bank aims to be able to interact with other countries. The PBOC and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority are currently testing the digital yuan for cross-border use.

Besides, PBOC has included the affiliated banks of digital payments giants, AliPay and WePay, in their trials to increase adoption. Due to this partnership, users with WeBank and MyBank accounts can now access their money using PBOC apps running CBDC. AliPay and WePay together dominate more than 93% of the digital payments market in China.

There are currently 573.6 million users for digital payment platforms in China. This number is expected to increase to 618 million by 2025 showing huge potential for a shopping mall in this market.

Bitcoin Miners Hit Jackpot as Hash Rate Peaks Again

Data from on-chain analytics provider Glassnode has reported that Bitcoin’s average hash rate hit a new all-time high this week, crossing a daily average of 178 exahashes per second for the first time in history.

Bitinfocharts confirms the record high, reporting the current hash rate at 176 EH/s. It topped 150 EH/s twice in February and has remained at these high levels for the past two months, steadily increasing.

Hashrate is often considered as computing ‘horsepower’ for the Bitcoin network and a strong sign of its security. The higher the hashrate, the harder it is to attack the network.

The bullish on-chain metrics were observed by data scientist Rafael Schultze-Kraft [@n3ocortex], who added that mining difficulty has also hit a new all-time high.

1/ A thread on #Bitcoin miner metrics.

First, some fundamentals.

Bitcoin’s average hash rate hit a new ATH yesterday – crossing a daily average of 178 exahash / sec for the first time in history.

Miners keep spinning up machines – hash rate is up only.https://t.co/SEdtQGNsT7pic.twitter.com/vIjVGyH8QC

— Rafael Schultze-Kraft (@n3ocortex) April 6, 2021

Mining Never More Profitable

The analyst noted that Bitcoin miners have been making more than $50 million per day for the past month. He put this into perspective by pointing out that a year ago, this number was around $12 million – so current earnings are a fourfold increase despite the block subsidy being cut in half in May 2020’s halving.

Miners are also now holding on to the new coins they’re minting as the net position has flipped back to green, according to Glassnode. In the run-up to the $40K price level, miners were aggressively selling off to cover their costs, but they’ve now switched back into accumulation mode.

“In fact, the Bitcoin unspent supply (BTC that has never left the original mining addresses), has started to increase again after a quick and sharp drop of around 15k BTC at the beginning of the year. More hodling than spending.”

He added that direct BTC transfers from miner to exchange wallets have been going back down significantly, and even USD-dominated miner to exchange volume has decreased despite a stable price. However, miner activity represents a tiny fraction of BTC trading volumes as a whole.

The analyst concluded that these metrics are very bullish, and miners have little incentive to cash out now or capitulate as many predicted after the halving.

Bitcoin Price Update

At the time of press, Bitcoin was trading down 1% on the day at $56,700, according to Coingecko. It is down at the same time last week by 3.4% but remains within the month-long range bound channel it has formed.

Bitcoin has not dropped below $50K for over a month, which is also a bullish sign that support is holding strong.

The Central Bank of Sweden Released First Study of Digital Currency

Sweden’s plans to create a central bank digital currency might be more complicated than initially thought according to a new study published by the nation’s central bank. It estimated that the Scandinavian country could delay the release of the e-krona until 2026.

How Does a Cashless Future Look Like?

The Riksbank published the results of the first phase of a pilot project exploring an eventual post-cash era and its consequences. The simulation showed that the rapid speed at which cash is disappearing presents ”potential problems.” However, a digital currency under the control of a central bank has the ability to address them.

The project is colossal, and Sweden’s central bank, which is the oldest one in the world, keeps delaying the timeframe for completing it. Initially, the institution announced it will be ready with the task and move ahead with the e-krona by 2018.

The Riksbank now indicated the current pilot project won’t see the light of day before next year. Some more pessimistic projections, though, stretched the timeframe until the end of 2026.

Mithra Sundberg, who leads the Riksbank project in Stockholm, said that it’s vital to avoid settling on the technology before realizing precisely what the digital currency needs to do. The bank indicated it’s not replacing cash and moving forward with the task will most likely require a new legal framework before releasing it.

In the meantime, the largest economy on the Scandinavian peninsula is proud to be one of the smallest users of cash in the world. During the pandemic, cash usage in the country was at its lowest level ever. According to Riksbank’s research, less than one-tenth of all payments in the county are made in cash.

The Controversy From Other Countries

Norway, Sweden’s neighboring country and another mainly cashless nation, also weighed in on the CBDC topic. However, its central bank said there’s ”no acute need” to introduce digital currency yet.

Other countries also spoke about being a first-mover in the field of digital currency. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell recently opined that there is no need to force the process. He noted that the US would ”rather be right than first”.

Sundberg noted that Sweden’s e-krona project still needs to explore the monetary policy consequence of such a transformation. But her team had ”looked at the technical possibilities of being able to charge interest.”

Meanwhile, the Riksbank has focused on a so-called two-tier model. This system will be responsible for the circulation and redemption of CBDC. Michael Lindgren, the technical project manager at the entity, mentioned that this model will allow direct contact between the so-called participants, such as banks or payment firms, and the end-users.

Atari Ventures Into NFTs, Blockchain To Boost Its Revenues
Atari Ventures Into NFTs, Blockchain To Boost Its Revenues 101
Source: A screenshot, Instagram/atari

Legendary video game maker Atari has announced it is launching a blockchain division and exploring new opportunities in non-fungible tokens (NFTs), among others. The company plans to use blockchain technology to develop games and a cryptocurrency that players could spend on virtual items.

Most recently, Atari made ETH 47.582 (USD 95,000) through an auction of NFTs that are 3D models of the Centipede game cartridge once offered for the company’s Atari 2600 console. The Atari Capsule Collection was created in partnership with blockchain gaming business Animoca Brands and its digital collectibles offshoot Quidd.

Atari said in a statement it has seen “a tremendous amount of success in licensing the Atari-related brands for the use in NFTs” and it anticipates the trend will play an increasing role in its licensing strategy in the upcoming years.

With this in mind, all Atari products and services related to the blockchain business will be grouped into the division “to focus on the immense possibilities of crypto and blockchain-enabled games,” the company said. The company is also opening a second division, Atari Gaming.

Atari rose to prominence on the turn of the 1970s and 1980s, securing popularity among gamers with titles such as Space Invaders, Pac-Man, Asteroids, and Missile Command, among others. The so-called video game crash of 1983 triggered the sale of the company’s home console and computer divisions. However, after years of financial woes, the last years have allowed Atari to benefit from the video game nostalgia which brought some of its retro properties back into the spotlight.

“The Atari brand is alive, more than ever, and this organization in two divisions will help us adapt to the changes in our business line,” said Frédéric Chesnais, CEO and a major shareholder in Atari.

Is Regulation the Silver Bullet for Financial Malpractice? / What is Financial Regulation and Does it Matter to DeFi?

The text below is an advertorial article that was not written by Cryptonews.com journalists.

cryptonews

In traditional finance, financial regulation is intended to provide protection, safety and stability for institutions and consumers alike. Organisations such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK are tasked with policing the conduct of banks, asset managers and other financial organizations to ensure that strict rules are followed and punishments applied when those rules are broken.

DeFi and cryptocurrency more widely has fallen outside the remit of regulation since Bitcoin was first launched in 2009. For more than a decade digital asset holders and service providers have largely been able to go about their business unfettered by the same rules and regulations that fall on the shoulders of JP Morgan Chase, for example; not least because the rules that are set for traditional financial institutions are extremely difficult to apply to digital assets.

Regulation across TradFi, CeFi and DeFi

As anyone who has ever applied for a credit card, bank loan or mortgage will know, the long-arm of financial regulation places a significant emphasis on data collection and suitability assessment. This requires collecting and storing vaults of customer information, running complex individual credit risk checks and ensuring detailed custody, anti-money laundering and transaction regulations are followed – and while this is achievable for JP Morgan, it is less so for many cryptocurrency organizations.

In the world of CeFi, or centralized finance, we are seeing moves in this direction, with Coinbase – one of the largest CeFi exchanges – in regular discussions with the SEC as it seeks to list on the US stock market. However, in the world of DeFi, regulation is anathema to much of what the ecosystem stands for. Built largely on a decentralized, permissionless system of autonomous smart contracts, many protocols do not have the central management required to carry out regulation. Moreover, many DeFi applications don’t ask users for their information (or “KYC”), which is a key attraction for many DeFi users.

Regulation and the regulated

Governments and public-sector bodies often cite seven specific areas as being major goals of financial regulation: investor protection, consumer protection, financial stability, market efficiency, competition, the prevention of financial crime, and fairness. For end users, investor and consumer protection are the most important and refer to the way in which financial organizations should market investment products and communicate with their customers. Rules in these areas generally call for transparency (especially around potential risks of products and investments) and clear, open communication with customers.

This is, few would dispute, a highly laudable facet of regulation that should protect vulnerable customers. In practice, however, it frequently doesn’t. Aside from the sort of systemic failings the world witnessed in 2008/09, leading to USD 321 billion in fines dished out to major banks such as Barclays for LIBOR rigging, regulation often fails to keep out bad actors. In the UK, the “mini-bond” space has been a hotbed for fraud, with more than 11,000 people losing GBP 236 million in 2019 to a company claiming to offer property-backed savings accounts. These savers – largely inexperienced older people – suffered heavy losses and the scandal led to a widespread overhaul of a space with hundreds of similar cases.

Best practice should span all sectors

Despite its failings, however, regulation is important: many schemes such as the UK’s Financial Compensation Scheme (a fund paid for by banks that will reimburse savers in the event a regulated institution collapses) provide genuine protection for consumers, as do imperatives for clear, transparent disclosure about products and services and treating customers fairly. Most importantly, however, the onorousnes of regulation can also help to keep out some of the worst actors who may not have the conviction or capacity to comply with regulation.

As such, YIELD App seeks to emulate the key tenets of prudential regulation across its entire platform and customer service proposition. We provide clear and consistent public information including a product disclosure statement that details our structure, practices and principles and clearly states the risks associated with digital assets. On our site we also host a comprehensive set of FAQ’s along with a 24-hour customer helpdesk to ensure we can answer any customer queries quickly and accurately. YIELD App also seeks to mirror important system-level financial regulation, including well capitalized treasuries and the prevention of financial crime through level 1 KYC. We have also partnered with Merkle Sciences for chain analysis to ensure we comply with the FATF red flag rules and to adhere to our internal KYC/AML policies.

While DeFi is operating independently today, as one of the fastest growing areas in cryptocurrency DeFi is likely to fall under the scrutiny of regulators in the future: indeed, ita seems impossible that a market of 40 Billion USD that is expanding by the multi-millions every day would not. Therefore, it is essential that any organization truly serious about its long-term future as a DeFi service provider operates under the best practices already established in traditional finance. As highlighted above, regulation itself is no guarantee: it is only as strong as those that implement and comply with it, and you don’t have to be regulated to do so.

Industry Voice: Can palm oil ever be considered sustainable?

It is hard to overstate the importance of forests, both environmentally and otherwise.

Covering over 30% of the world’s land mass[1], forests supply food, medicine, building materials and fuel for more than a billion people. Worldwide, they provide more than 86m green jobs and support the livelihoods of many more. In terms of biodiversity, forests are home to an estimated 80% of the world’s plant and animal life[2].

Forests are clearly a resource but, as history proves, they have also been used as large, undeveloped swaths of land that can be cleared and converted for other purposes. Global deforestation continues to endanger local communities, contribute to global warming and result in the loss of biodiversity.

So, if palm oil causes deforestation, why can’t we just stop using it?

At the heart of palm oil’s success is its versatility. Palm oil is used in 70% of cosmetic products and found in around half of all supermarket products. It is a key ingredient in staple foods such as bread and margarine, as well as chocolate, ice cream, instant noodles, and biscuits. It can also be used in the production of biodiesel and biofuel for cars and power plants.

There are many reasons why palm oil is so popular. Firstly, palm trees produce 4-10 times more oil than other crops per unit of cultivated land and consume less water in the process[3]. This makes palm oil the most environmentally friendly vegetable oil in the world.

Second, palm oil’s high yield makes it the cheapest vegetable oil on the market. The fact that palm oil is an ingredient in so many affordable foods is key here, particularly given our ever-increasing global population size and appetite.

Third, thanks to its natural preservative qualities, palm oil extends the shelf life of food products, thus reducing waste.[4]

With this in mind, environmental activists such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) argue that consumers should not boycott products containing palm oil.[5] Avoiding it could, in fact, have far worse environmental and societal consequences.

The winds of change: advocating to increase palm oil yields, sustainably

The Investor Working Group on Sustainable Palm Oil, which is coordinated by the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UN PRI), is backed by over 60 global investment organisations, representing approximately $7.9tn in assets under management. What’s more, we – at the international business of Federated Hermes – have joined forces with other stakeholders to raise concerns and lobby government authorities in Brazil and Indonesia.

Good intentions aside, with the global palm oil market expected to enjoy a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6% over the 7-year period from 2018-2025[6], sustainable palm oil production remains a challenge. How can the industry achieve a greater volume of production ─ by increasing palm trees’ yields ─ and avoid further deforestation?

The certification jungle: reforming standards and encouraging widespread adoption

At the same time, it is important to ensure that existing and additional production is delivered in a sustainable way. Buyers and investors currently use certification to ensure the sustainability of their purchases but navigating this can be tricky, with no uniform set of standards in use. Then, there is the issue of credibility. In obtaining certification, it is not unheard of for producers to cut corners and pay bribes.

Despite this, we would argue that certification is the way forward, provided the underlying standards are strengthened and the process for obtaining certification is made corruption-free.

To this end, we have been working with the UN PRI to strengthen certification standards and pushing to improve the process by which certification is granted and remove the risk of malpractice. Here, modern technology ─ from satellite monitoring to geolocation tracking and blockchain ─ could be used to enforce certification standards. Investigations on the ground might also complement a company’s self-disclosure on ESG matters, as could third-party verification checks.

Sustainable palm oil: a commitment beyond the financial

Palm oil can be grown sustainably. To realise this goal, we will need to engage extensively with companies involved in the palm oil supply chain, but our outlook remains positive. With rates of deforestation declining globally, significant progress being made by leading companies, and mounting pressure from investors and other stakeholders alike, it would seem an end to deforestation may come sooner rather than later.

To access more in-depth analysis, research and commentary on sustainability direct from our investment teams, visit the new Federated Hermes sustainability hub

Disclaimer:

The value of investments and income from them may go down as well as up, and you may not get back the original amount invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

For professional investors only. This is a marketing communication. The views and opinions contained herein are those of Elena Tedesco, CFA, Co-Portfolio Manager – ESG strategies, Global Emerging Markets, and may not necessarily represent views expressed or reflected in other communications, strategies or products. The information herein is believed to be reliable, but Federated Hermes does not warrant its completeness or accuracy. No responsibility can be accepted for errors of fact or opinion. This material is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for accounting, legal or tax advice, or investment recommendations. This document has no regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific recipient. This document is published solely for informational purposes and is not to be construed as a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any securities or related financial instruments. Figures, unless otherwise indicated, are sourced from Federated Hermes. This document is not investment research and is available to any investment firm wishing to receive it. The distribution of the information contained in this document in certain jurisdictions may be restricted and, accordingly, persons into whose possession this document comes are required to make themselves aware of and to observe such restrictions.

Issued and approved by Hermes Investment Management Limited (“HIML”) which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered address: Sixth Floor, 150 Cheapside, London EC2V 6ET. HIML is a registered investment adviser with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”).


[1] According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, State of the World’s Forests 2020 (July 2020), forests cover 31% of the global land area.

[2] Ibid

[3] See the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil Certification (RSPO), About sustainable palm oil, for more detail.

[4]While some researchers are experimenting with alternatives such as algae-based oil, or microbes that convert food waste and industrial by-products into synthetic palm oil, growing these technologies on a scale that could compete with palm oil is difficult.

[6] As per Global Palm Oil Industry (September 2020).

Advertisement