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Archive for May 15th, 2018

IBM To Use Stellar For Its First Crypto-Token On A Public Blockchain

, I cover enterprise adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrency.

(Photo by Joan Cros Garcia/Corbis via Getty Images)

The International Business Machines Corporation is issuing its first token using a public blockchain

Developed in partnership with carbon credits startup Veridium Labs Ltd., the “verde” tokens will be issued on the Stellar blockchain, and are designed to give enterprises that pollute the environment a way to offset that damage by supporting a patch of Indonesian rainforest.

While carbon credits in their own right are not new, the process of tracking the full extent of one’s pollution, then providing assurance that the money was actually used to replenish the environment is both time-consuming and opaque.

By moving this process to an easily auditable blockchain, and tokenizing the credits in a similar way that a bitcoin tokenizes monetary value, IBM’s newly appointed blockchain offering manager, Jared Klee, believes a vibrant market could eventually be opened up to a much larger audience.

“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,” said Klee, who was put in charge of IBM’s token initiatives earlier this year. “By having a liquid market you open up a world of possibilities.”

The verde carbon credit tokens, are built on top of the public Stellar blockchain and via a series of smart contracts follow the entire process of accounting for a company’s carbon emission and offsetting that pollution.

“Our engagement with Veridium will mark the first public IBM involvement in a token issuance on a public network,” said Klee. But in a twist that is finding increasing favor among blockchain developers, there is also a permissioned component via IBM’s own blockchain technology.

Klee says this “public, permissoined” model is what allows IBM and Veridium to create a market for the buying and selling of the tokenized carbon credits that will also be restricted to participants in accordance with regulatory requirements. To facilitate that permissioning while still capitalizing on Stellar’s public blockchain, IBM manages nine nodes on the Stellar blockchain.

“Not only does that help create stability for the Stellar network,” said Klee. “But that allows us to work with Veridium as the issuer and create a point of review in the transaction flow before it gets committed to the ledger.” But going forward that could be further opened up, with Klee adding that he too would like to someday be able to personally offset his own carbon footprint using the exchange.

More than just a proof-of-concept, the Veridium tokens will be backed by Triple Gold REDD+ credits from Veridium’s sister company InfiniteEarth,  founded in 2008 to help companies offset their environmental impact in a number of ways. While Veridium hasn’t revealed the names of its own potential customers, InfiniteEarth counts Big Four accounting firm PwC, and software giants, SAP and Microsoft among its customers, all of which has their own ongoing blockchain projects, making them possibly suitable adopters.

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