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By Luis Felipe Adaime, CEO, MOSS

The current system for the issuance of environmental assets, like carbon credits, is excessively slow and
expensive: blockchain could bring the efficiency we urgently need to save our planet.

In a recent statement, Greenpeace               requirements) based on scientific work, and     we stop burning our forests, we will cut the
announced that “bitcoin is fuelling the         charge a fee per carbon credit generated so     world’s emissions by one fifth. If people are
climate crisis” and suggesting that a change    as to finance its operations.                   paid via the sale of carbon credits, they will
in its code would solve the problem. That                                                       make money from conservation and will be
might be a bit extreme: Bitcoin mining emits    Forest owners or conservation project           aligned with saving the worlds forests.
114 million tons per year, or 0.15% of global   proponents hire a consulting firm, called
emissions (in comparison with 1.4 billion for   a certification company, that will assist in    THE WORLD’S LARGEST COTTAGE
our annual use of the Internet). Emissions for  the preparation of a document called the        INDUSTRY?
Bitcoin mining are arguably minimal on a per    “PDD” (project design document). The PDD        The challenge is that the bulk of the analysis
asset basis, and offsetting them is a minimal   must include several analyses on the area’s     is still done by hand on worksheets. The
cost of 0.05% per asset. Furthermore, “Proof    characteristics, like biodiversity and water    establishment of the baseline, or the
of stake” blockchain systems, like Celo and     fall, but most importantly it includes the      benchmark for comparison of the forest’s
Polygon, emit 99% less than Ethereum.           projections for the avoided emissions that are  protection work, is often subjective and
                                                generated from protecting that specific area.   varies widely from case to case. In many
So, having established that the emissions                                                       cases, forest engineers visit the project many
or environmental impact of blockchain are       The concept is based on the fact that           times prior to finishing their analysis. They
minimal, let’s discuss why its use is instead   half of a tree is made of carbon atoms,         often measure tree trunks with metric tape.
key for saving the planet.                      thus, when one protects a forest, one is
                                                protecting a huge inventory of carbon and       Once the PDD is finished, it is audited
THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICE                avoiding emissions. When one burns a tree,      (manually) by a previously authorized
SYSTEM IS STILL ARCHAIC, ANALOGUE,              the carbon atoms in that tree’s cellulose       auditing company, and then finally, the
MANUAL AND INEFFICIENT                          molecules are released to the atmosphere        document is, once again, submitted for
The environmental services sector is one        as CO2, CH4 (methane) and other pollutant       (manual) verification by the registry. All this
of the very few that has not yet been           gas. This protection work is a relevant         manual work leads to a slow process and
disrupted by technology. Let’s look at          solution to the world’s Greenhouse gas          very high costs: it takes 3 years and more
the issuance and verification of avoided        emissions: experts estimate that 20% of         than US$ 700 thousand to certify an area,
deforestation carbon credits, for example.      the world’s emissions comes from us             independently of the area’s size (it costs the
Global registries define a protocol (a list of  slashing and burning our forests. So, if        same for 1 hectare or for 1 million hectares.)

                                                                                                Now, this process has not changed much
                                                                                                in the past 20 years. And the efficiency
                                                                                                that blockchain brings to this procedure
                                                                                                described above is monumental. For
                                                                                                starters, the global registries have 3
                                                                                                functions: (1) they establish the protocol (2)
                                                                                                they verify the data and certify the carbon
                                                                                                credit process (3) they manage the database
                                                                                                and charge a (hefty) fee for registration of the

                                                                                                                                   For starters, the last part is completely
                                                                                                                                   replaceable by blockchain. That is one
                                                                                                                                   of the main reasons for the creation of
                                                                                                                                   blockchain: registering transactions in a
                                                                                                                                   secure, transparent, cheap way. There is
                                                                                                                                   absolutely no reason for established registries
                                                                                                                                   to be wearing that hat of running an off-chain
                                                                                                                                   database. Currently, the system is based on

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