A Decentralized Autonomous Organization, RedemptionDAO, has bid to become a key player in saving the Yasuní National Park, one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, and the Virunga National Park, the world’s most important gorilla sanctuary, from oil drilling.
The Congolese government has opened tenders for 27 blocks that extend to those parks, but in a first for crypto the government has confirmed they will accept bids from the DAO that aims to take the land off the market, and use it for carbon offset.
“We’re not doing this to destroy the rainforest, we’re doing it for economic gain . . . With or without oil, what’s important is that we earn [money],” said Didier Budimbu, Congo’s hydrocarbons minister.
The DAO has been fighting since last month to gain this right, with it already raising close to $2.6 million USDc on a new crypto platform focused on charitable fundraising.
Flowcarbon, a startup by WeWork’s co-founder Adam Neumann, has contributed staff and resources to RedemptionDAO.
Flowcarbon aims to create a tokenized carbon offset market place, with it raising $75 million in May from a16z crypto and others, including Samsung Ventures.
“There are powerful economic incentives to destroy and degrade critical natural landscapes around the world, but the voluntary carbon market is a brilliant financial mechanism that creates a counterbalancing incentive to reforest, revitalize and protect nature,” said at the time Dana Gibber, CEO of Flowcarbon.
These startups aim to effectively take the tenders off the market by utilizing the land that would have been used for oil and gas drilling, that would destroy much of the forest, for carbon credits.
The DAO aims to raise $50 million to buy at least one block of land, and so far it hasn’t yet quite reached even 10%.
But it launched only two weeks ago, with the earliest tender for gas to end in October, while the oil tenders end in January.
Now that the government has opened the bidding to the DAO, an historic first, there might be more interest in the project especially from entities that spend significantly on carbon credits.
That includes many stock traded crypto miners who are keen to come across as green, especially to institutional investors and lawmakers.
A successful bid here may also increase the credibility of carbon offsets, which sometime are criticized as ‘not counting’ towards green energy usage.
The vivid example where a forest and Harambes are saved through carbon credits and crypto crowdfunding, would go some way towards making carbon offsetting feel a bit real while in effect proving that this sort of market can work.
In addition it may also do wonders for crypto as it moves towards the forefront of saving this forest. Showing that just like many industries, cryptos too have to use energy, but the ecosystem is very environmentally conscious and is working towards reducing any air pollution.
Whether the bid will succeed however remains to be seen as Congo eyes an increase in oil production from 25,000 barrels to one million barrels a day, potentially doubling its GDP.
But at a significant cost to the environment as if the drilling goes ahead, a year’s worth of global carbon emission will be unleashed. Something that “could be a type of tipping point for global climate” according to Susan Page, a physical geography professor at UK’s University of Leicester.
The new invention of DAO platforms, that facilitate the coordination of the general public, may prevent such event, with this DAO also having the potential of a business model in carbon credits, making it a charitable ‘hard’ investment.