In a Q&A with Conviction Luis Felipe Adaime answers our questions for the #CryptoClimate series looking at blockchain and sustainability. Luis is the Founder & CEO of Moss Earth, which closed a $10 million Series A earlier this year after selling-out two rounds of the startup’s flagship tokenised carbon credit, the ‘MCO2’ that protects the Amazon rainforest.  

Check out the full roster of what’s next in the #CryptoClimate series and first Q&A with Conviction where JustCarbon answers our questions about CarbonPlan’s investigation into blockchain and carbon credits, providing an insider’s view of what the critics are saying and why offsetting is critical in the fight against climate change.

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Luis Adaime, Founder & CEO of Moss Earth

What are the most promising uses of blockchain in sustainable development?

Blockchain technology guarantees security, agility and transparency for transactions of all kinds, bringing an important value with it that the market is increasingly looking for - trust. Its emergence happened along with Bitcoin, but its usefulness goes far beyond cryptocurrencies.

For the environment, 4.0 technologies, including blockchain, are seen as important allies to put the planet on a path of sustainable growth. It is able to combine, in a friendly way, business, technology and the environment. Blockchain can improve several existing processes of environmental management, including energy and water management, sources of sustainable resource capture, prevention of natural disasters, health of the oceans and seas, to its own carbon market like Moss Earth.

In the case of the carbon market, the objective is to make it easier for owners of forested areas to monetise their conservation work, by issuing crypto assets, like fungible tokens or NFTs. Carbon credits, being intangible assets, have always suffered from lack of credibility and cases of fraud: the use of blockchain virtually eliminates any bad faith in the registration of transactions and issuance of assets. When one is using blockchain, one cannot sell credits from non-existing projects, or sell the same credit many times.

For society, blockchain enables access to assets that were previously restricted only to large investors - not only does blockchain democratise the market but makes transactions safer, more secure and transparent. Blockchain is also a useful resource for governance, as it facilitates document traceability and the creation of immutable audit trails. One can donate to indigenous communities, for example, and track the funds until they reach the targeted recipients, in a much more efficient way.

“Blockchain technology guarantees security, agility and transparency for transactions of all kinds, bringing an important value with it that the market is increasingly looking for - trust.”

How is a carbon marketplace built on blockchain any better than what’s been around since the 90s?

Blockchain technology brings security, transparency and agility to transactions to a market that has been greatly affected by fraud. But blockchain can guarantee the origin of the credit and also that it is retired, that is, only used once.

In the case of the Moss MCO2 token, buyers, who are mostly polluting companies looking to offset emissions, can verify on public ledgers that they really bought the carbon credit and that the money went to the conservation project because blockchain gives transparency to this data.

“Blockchain is also a useful resource for governance, as it facilitates document traceability and the creation of immutable audit trails. One can donate to indigenous communities, for example, and track the funds until they reach the targeted recipients, in a much more efficient way.”
Image credit: Fazenda Ituxi Project (backed by Moss Earth)

With all the criticism of Bitcoin’s emissions, how do carbon credit startups compare to the conventional markets?

Blockchain generated applications are no more polluting than any other digitisation process, it is just new, misunderstood and therefore attacked by systems that possibly have their very existence highly threatened by this new technology.

People believe that blockchain technology causes huge carbon emissions but, in fact, carbon emissions per blockchain asset are estimated to be 5 to 10 times lower than the traditional financial system.

Even in the case of Bitcoin, it costs 0.05 per cent per year to offset emissions and 99 per cent less for other blockchains that use proof-of-stake, such as Polygon and Celo, for example.

“People believe that blockchain technology causes huge carbon emissions but, in fact, carbon emissions per blockchain asset are estimated to be 5 to 10 times lower than the traditional financial system.”

How many acres of rainforest has Moss Earth protected and, thinking ahead to the UN’s biodiversity convention, how does biodiversity tie into your mission?

Altogether, the offsets made by Moss customers, combined with the sales of tokens from the Amazon NFT project, total an area of ​​758,323.98 hectares of conserved Amazon forest - 10 times the size of New York City.

We strongly believe that people need to make money from protecting forests, and thus biodiversity. That’s why we are firm believers in the carbon offset system: it pays people for their conservation of forests, the more they preserve, the more money they make. As a result, the more animals and plants they are saving.

We have seen dramatic results in terms of saving biodiversity as a result of our Amazon Forest projects. But we are sceptical of political solutions, they haven’t worked for the past 40 years, so why would it now. We, as private citizens, need to take the matter into our own hands and begin buying carbon offsets to finance the conservation of the world’s forests and biodiversity.

“Offsets made by Moss customers, combined with the sales of tokens from the Amazon NFT project, total an area of ​​758,323.98 hectares of conserved Amazon forest - 10 times the size of New York City.”

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