VeganCoin Aims to Be Cryptocurrency of the Sprout-eating Set

Israeli-UK company is also launching a vegan platform with social media, e-commerce and food-sharing functions

A woman attends 'Vegan Fest' in Ramat Gan, Israel, October 13, 2014.
JACK GUEZ / AFP

Move over meat eaters, vegans are about to get their very own cryptocurrency: The Israeli-UK. startup VeganNation is planning an initial coin offering on Wednesday for its VeganCoin, in the hope that it will be used for financial transactions among the world’s vegans.

The ICO comes at a hopeful time for virtual currencies. After its price collapsed in 2018 to as low as about $3,600, bitcoin, the queen of the cryptocurrencies, briefly hit $7,500 Sunday before retreating.

VeganNation is marketing VeganCoin “as a clean, cruelty-free, sustainable and kind digital currency, similar to bitcoin but for the vegan community. VeganCoin is the fuel that drives a global vegan ecosystem,” the company says on its website.

“Tens of central banks and governments use animal products to print their money, not to mention all the destructive industries that these moneys are funding. Vegans want a clean currency that is not plagued by animal cruelty and suffering,” the startup explains on its website.

What that practically means is that the cryptocurrency will sit at the center of a blockchain-based global community of vegans, people who shun not only meat but all animal products, including in their shoes and clothing.

Together with the coin, London-based VeganNation is launching an online platform that will provide social media functions for the community. It will also have a “food sharing” function that will match vegans preparing meals at home with diners and a vegan e-commerce site that will not only offer vegan food but products the company says fit into the vegan lifestyle.

“Our vision is to bring to the world the huge economic potential of the vegan market as a consumer force, one that a banker will come to work in the morning and talk about how strong the vegan coin is in the world,” said Isaac Thomas, VeganNation’s CEO and co-founder. “We should have a stable currency like the British pound,” he said.

“The definition of a nation is a group of people united by an ideological environment, values and a shared vision. In that sense, we vegans have more of shared moral and ideology starting point than most nations in the world.”

Thomas is a former Haredi real estate developer, one of 10 siblings in a Jerusalem family. He immigrated to the United States and later returned to Israel. His three partners in VeganNation are Yossi Raybi, Netanel Giat and Shneor Shapira, who have a background in real estate, restaurants and high-tech.

The four say they have lined up a long list of vegan and other relevant partner organizations for their undertaking and have agreed to use VeganCoin in transactions. They include People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society as well as vegan societies in Germany, Britain, Brazil, Spain and South Africa.

Israelis partners include the nonprofit organization Let the Animals Live.

“This is the first time in history that a group of people are joining together under the shared vegan idea,” said Thomas. “I travel around the world — in Dubai, Brazil, South Africa, Shanghai, London and Tel Aviv — and all of us as vegans come into the same room and feel like one community. It’s very natural that part of this will also have a natural currency for the community.”