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Commonwealth Bank is putting biodiversity itself on the blockchain


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The tokens are already there. The goal now is to put them on a blockchain to better trade them.

Commonwealth Bank (CBA) in partnership with BioDiversity Solutions Australia (BDS) has created a scheme to tokenise biodiversity itself on the blockchain.

The nuggets of biodiversity, as it were, are based on the Australian Government Biodiversity Offsets Scheme. It's very similar to the controversial-at-the-time Australian carbon credits scheme, in that it creates incentives to reduce emissions – or protect biodiversity in this case – and creates a framework for trading credits to offset environmentally damaging activities.

The Biodiversity Offsets Scheme simply works by applying a biodiversity credit cost to developers and landholders who develop or clear land, while paying biodiversity credits to other landholders who maintain high levels of biodiversity on their land.

The latter can sell these credits to the former, to fulfil the former's biodiversity credit obligations and offset their activities. What's currently missing from this system is a transparent marketplace for the exchange of these biodiversity credits. That's where CBA's initiative comes in.

"Our vision is that by digitising biodiversity credits and building a marketplace where they can be bought and sold, we can invest in and protect our natural environments," said CBA head of experimentation and commercialisation for blockchain, Sophie Gilder. "The BioTokens can be programmed with complex scheme rules so that compliance and administration is automated, market activity is transparent and real time, and marketplace participants have a simpler, streamlined experience."

"Creating a transparent, accessible, secure and liquid market place for the creation and trading of biocredits, aligns with our strategic focus on sustainability, support for regional economies and exploration of emerging technologies to deliver tangible benefits to our customers. We see future possibilities to extend this concept to the management and allocation of other scarce resources, such as intellectual property or water rights," Gilder said.

"Our vision was to help facilitate the protection of precious environmental ecosystems, while also creating an alternative source of income for landowners and rewarding them for preserving biodiversity on their land," said BDS managing director Rod Barnaby.

"Developing a digital marketplace is part of a broader project we have been working on to help stakeholders participate in the NSW Biodiversity Offset Scheme."

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Disclosure: The author holds BNB, BTC at the time of writing.

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