Cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies are quickly emerging as a potent weapon in the war against climate change – in 2018, technology giant IBM announced it was issuing its first token, in partnership with Stellar.
Such a well-established name adopting the blockchain technology will have a considerable impact bringing it ‘mainstream’, however, this partnership was designed to have a much broader impact, namely, on the environment.
Can cryptocurrency offset a company’s carbon footprint? The answer to this may lie with Veridium Labs, a recent partner of IBM. Veridium and IBM have worked together to issue a virtual token using the Stellar blockchain. They’ve named these tokens Verde- Spanish for ‘Green’.
The Stellar blockchain acts as a digital ledger for these green tokens. Each token is designed as a permit to produce a one-ton mass of carbon dioxide. Should a company buy too many tokens, or reduce their CO2 emissions so they no longer need the tokens, they are able to sell them.
The idea for a permit to pollute isn’t new, but the difficulty has always been in monitoring the greenhouse gas output of companies. Records of how much CO2 was being produced, and also where any money was going to offset this, were vague at best. With the ‘green’ tokens, it’s clear how much money has been paid and the movement of these tokens is simple to track. The bonus is, any collected funds from Verde will be used to reforest a huge area of Borneo rainforest.
Stellar appears to be the blockchain technology of choice when it comes to helping the environment. Liverpool, a city in the UK, has partnered with the Poseidon Foundation in a bid to become one of the world’s first ‘climate positive’ cities.
The Poseidon Foundation is a non-profit carbon credit NGO built on the Stellar blockchain. By the end of 2020, Liverpool City Council hopes to have become a positive influence on the climate. Poseidon will begin with a 12 month trial in the city, becoming a key partner in Liverpool’s climate strategy. This announcement came on the back of other climate positive partnerships with BAC Mono and Ben & Jerry’s, companies also working towards a lower carbon footprint.
Poseidon’s mission statement promises to develop climate change solutions with immediate impact, because the planet “cannot wait on long-term solutions.” Recent projects include using technology to create sustainable livelihoods for the locals of Cordillera Azul in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest. By supporting agroforestry and sustainable crop production, they hope to prevent people from turning to illegal activities to make money, whilst supporting the local and wider environment.
Poseidon’s work in Peru was recently recognized by the IUCN (International Union for the Protection of Nature) Green List, indicating that the work being done here hits a global standard for best practice in area-based conservation.
The combination of blockchain technology and artificial intelligence has allowed Poseidon’s team to record and process all contributions towards reducing climate change- no matter how small. This in-depth analysis of carbon footprints and carbon offsetting is a vital step forward in dealing with the serious ramifications of climate change.
The partnership with Stellar highlights how useful blockchain technology could be as we move into the future, not just for ease of transactions and transparency of records, but for real-life, major positive changes to the planet.