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Climate change, carbon credits, and blockchains are serious topics in their own right. Between our beginners’ introductions and in-depth papers, Poseidon can make sense to anyone.

Blockchain
101

A blockchain can be understood as a series of data snapshots over time. At predefined intervals, let us say every ten seconds, a snapshot of data is taken. This is added to a chain of all previous snapshots, ordered chronologically. Ten seconds later, another is taken, and is added to the end of the chain again. And so on.

We call these snapshots blocks. And, of course, we call the chain a blockchain. Each block contains the state of the data stored in it at that particular time – including details of any changes. Every block gives access to this data, which is stored immutably.

Changes that happen to data in a block (in the blockchain world we call these state changes) must go through a validation process according to rules defined by its consensus mechanism.

Once consensus is reached, the blockchain’s data is shared and stored on many computers around the world. Because there is no single storage point, no single server which needs to be accessed or password which might be cracked, a blockchain cannot be hacked. And because there is no one authority that governs changes to the data, inaccuracy or carelessness cannot compromise it either. You might have seen a blockchain described as a distributed ledger – this is what it means.

Our blockchain technology on the Stellar network completes transactions in a flash and incurs only a negligible cost. What is most important is its efficiency – compared to most blockchain solutions, Stellar uses by far and away less electricity.

When we apply blockchain to carbon markets, we get a system that allows us to store carbon credit details, from creation to offset, like never before. It introduces a level of transparency and traceability that allows anyone to look at the detailed history of each individual gram of carbon credit transacted. It means we can bring carbon markets to the retail level, and empower everyone to offset their purchases instantly.

About
climate change

Earth’s temperature is maintained by a process called the greenhouse effect. Certain greenhouse gases (such as carbon dioxide) naturally trap heat in the atmosphere, stopping it from radiating back into space.

Ordinarily, enough heat is trapped to keep the planet at a steady, habitable temperature. But human activity is releasing high quantities of greenhouse gases into the skies. This traps more heat than necessary, which in turn warms the planet, disturbing the balance of nature and threatening life.

Burning fossil fuels is one such act. Deforestation is another. Deforestation also destroys one of our planet’s natural carbon sinks, as trees absorb harmful carbon through photosynthesis.

There will be a point at which the damage – from burning carbon, felling trees, and more – will be irreversible. Consensus has been reached: Climate change is real. Greenhouse gas emission levels are rising rapidly. So too are global average temperatures, and humanity’s actions are at the heart of it.

The consequences are extreme weather events, forest fires, spread of diseases, flooding, and mass migrations, the impacts of which place huge strains on global economies. Climate change is a global phenomenon that affects everyone, no matter who or what is causing it.

The Situation

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provided data which shows that we need to keep the global temperature rise within a ‘safe’ limit of below 2°C. Any higher and we won’t be able to adapt. Their findings influenced the 2015 Paris Agreement, the most significant international treaty on climate change. Its aim is to keep this average rise below 2°C, while aiming for 1.5°C.

195 countries committed to reduce their emissions. However, even if they stick to the plan, a gap of up to 19 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent still remains between what’s needed to hit the 1.5°C target and what’s pledged to be emitted in 2030. This huge gap is equivalent to taking all US homes off the electric grid, all the world’s cars off the road, and removing all global food waste for a year.

With the historic Paris Agreement in place, we are entering a world with a finite ‘budget’ of carbon that can be emitted. A market now exists for carbon-positive ventures which can offset the gases released by outdated industries and harmful enterprises.

Forests alone can contribute to a third of the emission cuts needed by 2030, but we need to protect them. Ecosphere+ recognise how essential forests are, and develop natural solutions that guard and value their pivotal yet underappreciated resource. Their emission reduction projects grant them access to high-quality carbon credits, rooted in the conservation of forests.

What are
carbon credits?

A carbon credit is a permit which allows the holder to emit one ton of carbon dioxide. If an emitter doesn’t exhaust its carbon allowance, it may sell its remaining credits. If an emitter exceeds its allowance, it must purchase more to compensate.

Carbon credits are also created and awarded to projects which demonstrably reduce or remove emissions. For each ton of carbon dioxide that is offset, the project receives one carbon credit, which it is then free to trade. Ecosphere+ develop vital projects like these.

Putting a price on carbon in this way is the right solution, but it’s not working. The current market is disjointed, unstandardised and relies on outdated technology. Because buyers don’t trust sellers, they repeat their due diligence, adding expense, wasting time and risking double counting. And since everyone is dealing in tons, microtransactions are near impossible.

This means the market is fundamentally disconnected from the real world. When we buy a product, it’s already responsible for an undefined amount of carbon. Whatever the amount, the damage has been done, and we’re not the ones paying the price – pollution doesn’t occur at the point of sale.

Blockchain technology lets us divide carbon credits into grams, track them transparently, and process microtransactions. It’s an opportunity the world can’t afford to miss. For the first time, you’ll know exactly how much carbon your purchases cost, and just one tap can set them right again. The previously impenetrable carbon market is now yours.



Frequently Asked Questions


What is Poseidon?

Poseidon is a non-profit foundation which empowers consumers to rebalance their carbon impact when they buy everyday items. Poseidon does this by using blockchain technology to connect consumers and retailers directly to projects that address carbon impacts by protecting forests.

Why was Poseidon established?

The landmark Paris Agreement in 2015 took a big step forward in the global race to tackle climate change. However, even if every country satisfies their Paris commitments, there's still a big gap and that's where consumers and businesses come in. We wanted to make it easy for anyone to be part of the climate change solution. With our platform, everyone can rebalance their carbon footprints through everyday purchases.

Why is Poseidon being set up as an NGO/Foundation, not a company?

Since Poseidon's inception, the intent has been to create a non-profit entity, focused on having a beneficial social and environmental impact, rather than generating profits for shareholders. All revenues generated will go back into the Foundation, with the majority being used to purchase carbon credits.

What makes Poseidon unique?

Although there are other blockchain solutions working on climate change and we applaud them for doing so, Poseidon is unique thanks to its:

  • Environmentally friendly blockchain on the Stellar network that uses less energy consumption than a VISA transaction,
  • Ability to facilitate micro-transactions on its platform, allowing grams of carbon to be attached to products and 'retired', a term used to describe carbon credits that are taken out of circulation,
  • Full integration with retailers point of sale (POS) through proprietary software, making it easy to address your carbon footprint.

And finally, unlike many blockchain solutions that begin fundraising as a concept, Poseidon has built a fully functioning pilot and Ecosphere+ has a pipeline of customers eager to use it, with the first project going live in April. Sign up here for updates.

Why would customers pay more for 'climate positive' products?

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of their climate impact and are looking for ways to minimize and offset this, paying a little extra for climate positive products will enable the environmentally conscious to rebalance their emission in a quick and easy way. In fact, 72% of people between the ages of 15 and 20 are willing to pay extra for environmentally and socially responsible products and services. A recent study found that "more than 9 in 10 millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause," and that millennials are "prepared to make personal sacrifices to make an impact on issues they care about, whether that's paying more for a product, sharing products rather than buying, or taking a pay cut to work for a responsible company."

Plus, addressing your carbon impact is cheaper than you might think; a cup of coffee costs just $0.01 to offset.

How do you plan to adapt to any upcoming regulation?

Given our position as a charitable foundation, we do not foresee the need to adapt to any upcoming regulations around cryptocurrencies. In case of regulatory changes, Poseidon is working with its legal partner, MME Legal Tax Compliance, which is a specialist in supporting blockchain technology companies as they navigate the regulatory landscape.

In addition, we are working with the government of Malta to ensure that our platform is in line with local as well as international best practices and leads the way in the global blockchain community.

How will Poseidon assess the impact it has and what does it aspire to do?

Our platform will allow for the immutable tracking of carbon credits, ensuring that there is no double counting and that as much funding as possible gets to the projects that need it.

Poseidon will make it easier than ever for consumers to measure their progress towards carbon sustainability thanks to the availability of transparent data. Poseidon can aggregate that data and present it in many ways, including grouping by geography, age and gender, among other demographics.

Our strategic partner, Ecosphere+, is part of an impact fund and as such has extensive impact reporting on the projects supported by Poseidon's platform. This data, along with photos, videos and updates from the ground are all available within Poseidon's app, so you can see your impact right down to the plot of land you've protected trees on.

When is Poseidon launching its blockchain solution?

June 2019 is set to see the full deployment of Poseidon's carbon market solution following the conclusion of fundraising efforts in June 2018. Pilot projects with retail partners, corporates, and governments are currently in development and are on the roadmap leading up to the fundraiser and beyond. We will provide visibility on these projects as soon as they become public, including reports on their impact and performance.

What are tokens? How many tokens will be created? How do I get tokens?

Tokens are a form of digital asset used to facilitate micro-transactions on a blockchain network. Micro-transactions are an inherent capability of blockchain technology, especially using the low-cost and high-speed platform provided by Stellar. Carbon is currently largely sold in tons but thanks to the immutable Stellar ledger, it is possible to split the carbon into far smaller portions. Micro-transactions at the point of sale allow Poseidon to sell grams of carbon associated with the impact of the products being bought. Find our more about how tokens work here.

Poseidon's tokens will be known as Ocean Tokens or OCEAN. 36 billion OCEAN tokens will be issued by our blockchain partner following the fundraiser. This is a fixed supply and the token volume will neither be reduced nor increased over time.

Tokens will be issued, by Stellar, to anyone who takes part in the charitable fundraiser. To join the fundraiser, click here.

Why does Poseidon use Stellar as its blockchain platform and not Ethereum?

Poseidon uses Stellar rather than Ethereum because its consensus mechanism doesn't require mining. This, amongst other reasons, means that it is an environmentally friendly platform. The network also processes transactions far more quickly and efficiently than alternative blockchain platforms, at a fraction of a cost.

You can find out more about the environmental benefits of Stellar here.

What will the retail pilot projects look like?

In our pilot projects, retailers use the Poseidon platform on a trial basis, allowing them to be at the forefront of consumer engagement and blockchain technology. Retail partners in the pilot will integrate Poseidon into their existing point of sale. Transactions at that retailer can then include the price of any product's associated carbon emissions. The consumer can see their positive impact on Poseidon's app and retailers have access to a dashboard adding it up over multiple stores.

Poseidon's first pilot will launch in April, ahead of the fundraiser, to demonstrate that the technology works for real customers. We will undertake several more pilot projects and implement feedback to improve our plaform ahead its full release in June 2019.

What's Poseidon's fundraising approach?

As a charitable foundation, Poseidon will be seeking funds through a fundraiser in which donors make contributions to support Poseidon's goals. Participants will not be investing in Poseidon, rather they are contributing to a platform that will create efficiency and transparency in the carbon credit market. In turn, this will have a positive social and environmental impact, arising from the conservation of the forest areas which generate the credits.

As is typical in the blockchain space, participants will not acquire any equity in Poseidon, instead they will receive tokens from a smart contract as a receipt for their contributions and support a non-profit that will use its revenues to fight climate change.

Poseidon is currently holding private fundraising round, in which private contributors are invited to commit charitable donations to the foundation. In June, we will hold a Token Sale which will be open to the public.

It is important to note that Poseidon will not issue any tokens. Tokens will be distributed by a smart contract and are not given in exchange for contributions. Tokens are generated after the public fundraiser concludes in June 2018 and the smart contract will be responsible for the token distribution; this process is outside of the control of the foundation.

What will these funds be used for?

The bulk of contributions, 80%, will go towards purchasing carbon credits. The remaining 20% will go towards developing the blockchain platform including integrations with retail partners and other customers, operational costs, philanthropic work, as well as research and development.