CommBank Develops Blockchain Market To Boost Biodiversity (#GotBitcoin?)
Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank) has co-developed a blockchain marketplace that it says could support sustainable development and reward landowners for protecting the environment. CommBank Develops Blockchain Market To Boost Biodiversity (#GotBitcoin?)
Created in partnership with BioDiversity Solutions Australia (BDS), the prototype platform uses digital tokens, dubbed BioTokens, to facilitate trading of biodiversity credits for the New South Wales Government’s Biodiversity Offsets Scheme.
The scheme requires developers to obtain the credits to offset the impact of development. Biodiversity credits can be generated by landholders that set up biodiversity-protection schemes on their land on their land “in perpetuity,” according to an announcement from CommBank on Wednesday.
As such, there’s a need for a transparent market for the trading of the biodiversity credits between these parties, while others – such as environmental groups or government agencies – could purchase the credits as an investment, the bank says.
BioTokens can be programmed with complex rules to automate compliance and administration, according to Sophie Gilder, CommBank’s head of experimentation and commercialisation for blockchain, AI and emerging technology. Trades on the marketplace are also “transparent and real time,” she said.
Rod Barnaby, managing director at BioDiversity Solutions Australia, explained:
“Developing a digital marketplace is part of a broader project we have been working on to help stakeholders participate in the NSW Biodiversity Offset Scheme. Our vision was to help facilitate the protection of precious environmental ecosytems, while also creating an alternative source of income for landowners and rewarding them for preserving biodiversity on their land.”
So far, no “transparent” marketplace exists to allow developers and landholders to trade biodiversity credits, according to the announcement.
Barnaby indicated that BDS and CommBank are now seeking partners to take the platform toward a commercial launch, as well as examining other use cases for the tokenized asset technology.
“Our vision is that by digitising biodiversity credits and building a marketplace where they can be bought and sold, we can invest in and protect our natural environments,” Gilder said.
Pay Crypto To Those Removing CO2 From Atmosphere, German Party Says
Germany’s Free Democratic Party (FDP) wants to pay cryptocurrency to anyone who removes carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
Get Paid To Fight Climate Change
According to a report by local news organization Welt on Sept. 2, the FDP recognizes that it is no longer enough to only focus on putting less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
It said that, if the world wants to slow down global warming, it will also need to retrieve greenhouse gases that have already been emitted.
The party in Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, has proposed creating a new digital currency called Arbil, along with the motto: “Put CO2 on the digital chain.”
Marco Buschmann, the first parliamentary director of the FDP parliamentary group, said the project sounds technically complex at first, but is actually quite simple. He explained:
“Anyone who withdraws CO2 from the atmosphere will be paid for it. In this way, we want to reward active climate protection and promote inventiveness and innovation.”
Arbil could be valued at about $30
Arbil will receive its value through a guarantee to exchange Arbil coins for emission certificates. One Arbil coin would correspond to the certificate value for one ton of carbon dioxide, which is currently valued at approximately $30. Frank Sitta, deputy group chairman of the FDP, said:
“We want to give CO2 a price worldwide. With our blockchain concept, the national emissions trading systems can be elegantly combined.”
When read backwards, Arbil — which is based on “arbor,” the Latin word for tree — spells Libra, the name of Facebook’s cryptocurrency.
Crypto-Incentivized Climate Action
In May, the United Nations signed a memorandum of understanding with nonprofit organization W Foundation to promote global climate action projects, including compensating those who take climate action with cryptocurrencies.
Using Digital Currency For Climate Markets
Climate change has created a rapidly growing global market for a digital eco-commodity called carbon credits. Current estimates value these carbon markets at over $100 billion annually. A carbon credit represents one metric ton of CO2 and is connected to efforts to reduce carbon emissions that cause climate change.
Carbon markets are one of the best tools that companies and policy-makers have for reducing carbon emissions, putting a value on a ton of CO2 so that markets can get to work creating price signals for reducing emissions. Various initiatives over the years have created a global patchwork of carbon markets that are now looking to interconnect as part of the UN Paris Agreement.
The UN Paris Agreement to combat climate change was agreed in 2015 and became operational this year. One of the cornerstones of the Paris Agreement is the ongoing creation of carbon markets within and between countries. All of these interconnected systems will need to rely on the transparent and accurate accounting of carbon emissions and carbon removals at the national and regional level. At the subnational level, companies will also need to account for their carbon emissions.
It’s no wonder that blockchain solutions are being heavily discussed to make the Paris Agreement and future carbon markets operational.
Early carbon markets started in 2005, but they have been mainly used by governments and large companies in Europe and the United States, and most of the deals are over the counter or on centralized regional exchanges.
There have been a few groups announcing projects in the past to tokenize carbon credits, but 1PLANET is currently the first to launch with a functioning DApp that allows users to immediately utilize ERC-20 tokens to mitigate or “offset” their carbon emissions.
“Combining a digital commodity with a digital crypto-token makes a lot of sense. We see blockchain and smart contracts as the future of carbon markets and have been preparing for this through the development of our 1PLANET token and marketplace,” stated Jesse Uzzell, CEO of Climate Futures.
But will a tokenized carbon credit find buyers and end users? One fact is that carbon credits were the best-performing commodity in Europe in the last couple of years, and saw a price increase of over 400% from 2018. Currently, a metric ton of CO2 in the EU market costs about $26. While prices vary, economists in the U.S. and elsewhere are calling for CO2 to cost between $40 to $100 per ton in the coming decade.
Besides, in 2021, all international flights will be covered by a new program called the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, which will boost demand for eligible carbon credits. With companies such as Amazon and Microsoft recently announcing big programs to reduce their net carbon emissions, it seems that blockchain has a robust new use case and huge markets to help reduce carbon emissions.
Consider the enormous value and supply chains of companies such as Amazon, Apple, BP, Delta and other whales that have recently committed to going carbon neutral. They cannot reach carbon neutrality without using carbon offsetting (the use case for carbon credits), and most explicitly include carbon offsetting plans in their climate commitments.
They also cannot control all of the suppliers and contractors that are upstream and downstream of their operations, but it is not far-fetched to see these companies developing carbon emission reporting and offsetting tools using blockchain technology such as Hyperledger to track and lower their carbon emissions as part of supply chains.
This is not only for internal compliance with corporate goals but also because these companies and suppliers will operate in more and more countries with carbon markets in the coming decade or even deal with cross-border carbon tariffs. These emerging carbon market developers are all looking to blockchain technology to increase transparency and climate action.
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