IBM to Turn Carbon Footprints into Tokens Using Stellar Blockchain

Verde will be IBM's first cryptocurrency.

IBM is going to launch its first crypto-token.

The tokens will be called ‘verde’ and will be created on the Stellar blockchain in partnership with a Hong Kong-based fintech company called Veridium Labs.

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The aim of the token is to help companies to mitigate their impact on the environment by tracking carbon credits with blockchain technology.

Carbon credits are permits to pollute. One credit equals the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gas. The system was formalised in the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, in which states committed to reducing their carbon emissions. It came into effect in 2005, and 192 countries are currently participants.

What is new here is the concept of turning these credits into tokens on a blockchain. For context – a recent survey found that 63.4 million tons of carbon dioxide equals $191.3 million in carbon credits.

The verde tokens will be backed by a company called InfiniteEarth. This is a sister company of Veridium Labs which counts PwC and Microsoft among its customers.

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Interestingly, Veridium Labs had originally intended to launch this project with Ethereum. The company ha snot explained why it switched over, although the faster transaction times and lower transaction costs of the Stellar network are likely factors.

Jared Klee, IBM Blockchain Offering Manager, said: “We’re creating a fungible digital asset, a token which part of the goal is to create a market where people can buy, sell, trade and then redeem it for the underlying credits. By having a liquid market, you open up a world of possibilities.”

“Our engagement with Veridium will mark the first public IBM involvement in a token issuance on a public network,” he added.

Todd Lemons, founder of Veridium Labs, said: “We’ve taken not only this environmental asset, the credit, which is difficult to quantify and classify on the balance sheet but then we’ve also fully automated the process of measuring, selecting and then offsetting just by virtue of integrating the token into the transaction.”

IBM, or International Business Machines, is a multinational technology company from New York. Founded in 1911 as a manufacturer of various types of machinery, it released its first commerical computer in 1964 and by the 1970s had a near-total monopoly on the market. It sold its personal computing business to Chinese company Lenovo in 2005.

In March, the company revealed a computer the size of a grain of rock salt that it plans to use to spread blockchain technology to more people. Called the ‘cryptographic anchor,’ it could be “embedded into products, or parts of products, and linked to the blockchain.” It runs on light and costs less than ten cents to manufacture.

Stellar Lumens is an open-source blockchain network created by Jed McCaleb, who also created Mt Gox and co-created Ripple. Stellar is similar to Ripple in that it uses blockchain technology to facilitate quick, cheap cross-border payments, but it differs because it is a non-profit organisation that promotes financial access and inclusion whereas Ripple is a for-profit entity that works with financial institutions. Ripple is also far more centralised than Stellar.

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