REDD+ Cryptocarbon Blockchain

There seems to be no shortage of applications for blockchain, particularly within the realm of environmental conservation because of its simplicity and near incorruptibility, particularly for financial transactions. Four researchers from the UK and Indonesia decided to discuss the merits of applying blockchain to an existing cryptocurrency/natural asset market mechanism, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), used by non-profits and countries as a land conservation model. REDD+s are essential credits given to a particular individual or corporation in South America seeking to offset their environmental damage in an area by acquiring ownership rights of a parcel of land in tropical forests in order to conserve the land that could otherwise be targeted for logging and other forms of extraction and development. REDD+ struggles with a lack of consumer demand, in part because there are concerns about the surety and safety of property rights hypothetically attained in a REDD+ transaction. By using blockchain to store, and in a way protect, the property rights afforded to the landowner, researchers see blockchain as a potential mechanism to enhance the profile of REDD+s, and indeed other natural assets tokens struggling to pique the interest of consumers. However, researchers are cognizant that blockchain being applied to REDD+ is in no way a guarantee of success, but rather a way to more effectively optimize linking terrestrial conservation into this a natural asset cryptocurrency’s business model. REDD+ also reinforces western notions of property ownership and does nothing to recognize or even acknowledge communities in South America—particularly indigenous communities— who do not value land as a property that can be sold or traded. Time will tell if natural asset cryptocurrencies will actually yield a net positive result for conservation in the case of REDD+ or other schemes, though it is important to keep in mind that arrangements to offset damage are a part of a system of continuously damaging environmental extraction.

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Jun, Zhiqi Shen, Anting Zhang, and Yueting Chai. “Blockchain and IoT based food traceability for smart agriculture.” In Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Crowd Science and Engineering, pp. 1-6. 2018.


Biodiversity, Blockchain, Ecological Modelling, Ecological Monitoring, Regulation