There is more at stake with crypto technology than merely new forms of currency. The technology behind Bitcoin, blockchain, could provide the digital secure infrastructure necessary to innovate natural resource markets and management. Research is already underway to address current concerns in water rights and carbon credits trading. With global climate conditions projected to destabilize further, how we manage our natural resources has ample room for innovation.
In North Queensland, Australia they have begun designing a water trading platform powered by blockchain that uses a public register for water trading data generated. The current partners include the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia, Queensland Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy, SunWater, and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Blockchain Innovation Hub. The Water Ledger platform aims to revolutionize the way that irrigators trade short-term water allocations in the region, removing previous inefficiencies.
Another project has been launched by the Gordon Foundation in cooperation with the Atlantic Water Network in Canada to create the Atlantic DataStream, an open-access platform for data sharing built on the Ethereum network. This provided needed digital infrastructure for data that was already available from community monitoring initiatives over decades and vastly improves their water management potential there. Details on both projects available through Aquatech.
Carbon offset markets have also faced challenges that crypto seems uniquely positioned to solve. This fall, Nori, a startup based in Seattle is proposing to use blockchain to address the “double counting” problem that currently plagues this market. Double counting means that each carbon offsetting project that goes into the market is counted twice, once by the originator and once by the buyer. It’s a simple problem that they believe can be addressed by token creation and instigating more carbon sequestration projects based primarily on farmland. They are collaborating with Comet Farm, a reporting system from the U.S.D.A. for emissions accounting that is now helping them craft their emissions reductions accounting framework. While these projects remain in the development or early deployment phase, crypto technology is already broadening horizons for better natural resource management globally.