SEA / Data Licensing Update

5 min readOct 29, 2022


Following on from our recent update on the SEA NFT & Governance Program, this week I want to talk a bit about our core product — data licensing. Sounds a bit… dry? Sure, talking about data for data’s sake can be somewhat dull; but once you start thinking about the real-world impact of environmental data, things start to get interesting.

But wait, let’s back up a bit — I just said that our “core product” is data licensing. If you’ve read through our learning library and figured out what the SEA project as a whole aims to achieve, this might be confusing. Surely our “core product” is the Nexus? Or the NFT & Governance program, the Marine Protected Areas we will create, our proprietary P2P storage layer, or our support for front line environmental organisations? Well, it depends what you mean by “product”.

By “product”, we’re talking about a marketable output — something that we can package up and sell. Every business needs a product or a service which brings in income. This seems like a no-brainer, but a quick glance around the cryptoscape reveals that, as the song says, it ain’t necessarily so. Crypto Twitter is a veritable compost of shiny new projects and rocketing charts, but it’s relatively rare to find one which actually has a product in the marketplace, or any intention of launching one.

Luckily for us, our efforts to turn the tide on the climate emergency cultivate a very lucrative product — environmental data. The data, supplied by you, that we use to make climate predictions, to draw correlations between environmental variables, and to recognise early signs of emerging crises — that same data is critical to the successful operation of businesses in a wide range of fields. Insurance, agriculture, travel, tourism, engineering, infrastructure and forestry and just a few of the industries which rely heavily on environmental monitoring. The environmental data market will be worth over $43bn annually by 2030. By that time, the SEA Nexus will be the largest, widest, most accurate and detailed environmental data set on Earth.

Let’s get one thing straight: Nexus data will always be free for non-commercial use. This is a core precept of our project, and essential to our impact. We want every researcher, every university, every NGO, every journalist, every activist and every bedroom scientist on the planet to have access to the planet’s deepest data resource. We expect that a whole new ecosystem of revolutionary systems will be built on top of Nexus data — early warning systems, monitoring systems, visualisations, climate modelling environments, and much more — so it’s critical that anyone wishing to create something for the benefit of humanity, using Nexus data, be encouraged to do so.

Bottom line: if you’re making money (or trying to), and you’re using Nexus data, you need a license. Maybe you’re an insurance company, and you need an accurate picture of how climate variables might unfold in a specific location over a specific period of time, in order to calculate premiums. Maybe you’re an arable farmer who needs to know how the climate is changing at your location, what droughts, floods or other extreme weather events might be incoming. Or maybe you’re an engineering firm working on large infrastructure projects such as bridges, tunnels, and road systems — you need to know what’s happening in the environment around your projects. In all of these scenarios, Nexus data gives your company a competitive advantage.

Nexus data licenses are subscription products with no contractual tie-in — subscriptions run from month to month, and subscription plans can be upgraded or downgraded as desired. We offer preset packages with one or more data classes included, or modular functionality whereby users can construct their own package.

Nexus data is organised into data classes. Monsoon activity, coastal erosion, wind speed, sea level, species presence/absence, soil quality, water pollution — these are a few of the (currently more than 60) data classes we will be working with at launch. The most basic subscription product is metered access to a single data class for one month. If a user needs access to more data classes, they can either upgrade to a more inclusive package, or build their own package to suit their needs.

Farming and agriculture is a key target industry for Nexus data

Example: a fruit farmer needs accurate soil quality data to plan their crop, so they sign up for a single data class. After using the data class successfully for a while, they decide that it would also be beneficial to know about water quality in their region, so they add a second data class. The results inform their work further, and they explore what other factors might give them better predictive models — wind speed planning could be very useful, as might monsoon trend data. Species presence/absence might inform them of possible threats to their crop, whilst streamwater base level monitoring could keep them informed of impending water shortages, and allow them to plan their water usage better. After factoring all these data classes in, it makes sense for the farmer to subscribe to an inclusive model — an “all you can eat” subscription.

For their monthly subscription fee, a user gets:

  • Unlimited access to their selected data classes — they can view the data online or export it
  • Unmetered access to the Nexus tools — visualisation, analysis, search, reporting, monitoring and alerts
  • Preferential reward rates if they also supply data, effectively allowing them to reduce their subscription cost by uploading environmental observations

So that’s our core product, in a nutshell. The potential is huge — we’ve conservatively estimated that our income from data licenses will pass $18m per year by 2030. This level of income would be more than enough to support everything else we want to do — ongoing development of the Nexus, the NFT & Governance Program, the MPA creation scheme, our ongoing support of frontline environmental research and activism — but in reality the potential is much bigger. We’re aiming to be one of the biggest players in a fast-growing global industry currently worth $25bn, so the sky’s the limit.

We’ll be posting more soon about how we’ll be bringing data licenses to market, how we’ll attract customers, and other license-related topics. To keep up to date with progress on the Nexus, on the expansion of our data licensing department (we’re hiring!), and everything else going on at SEA, make sure you tune into our Twitter, Discord and Telegram channels.




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