Can blockchain catalyze carbon removal?

This article has been adapted from GreenBiz’s newsletter, VERGE Weekly, running Wednesdays. Subscribe here

When online payments entrepreneur Stripe last week declared its intention to achieve negative emissions — by funding carbon removal projects, not just traditional offsets — I could practically hear Nori CEO Paul Gambill cheering from the blockchain startup’s Seattle headquarters.

What Stripe has pledged to do, starting immediately, is relatively unique. It wants to support projects that are explicitly focused on carbon sequestration — via technological or natural means — “at any price.”

The blog announcement by Christian Anderson, head of merchant intelligence at Stripe, acknowledges that the company will have to pay a far higher price per ton for those removal credits, probably more than $100 per metric tonne of carbon dioxide (tCO2) captured, versus the $8 per tCO2 it pays for offsets right now.

“We don’t expect to be able to sequester all of our carbon emissions, both because the relevant technologies are not yet operating at sufficient scale and because it would be financially infeasible for Stripe,” Anderson wrote. “And so we commit to spending at least twice on sequestration as we do on offsets, with a floor of at least $1 million per year.

Given that Stripe is looking for entrepreneurs to help with its quest, I wouldn’t be shocked if it’s already in discussions with Nori, which is creating what it’s billing as the first carbon removal marketplace with blockchain as the transaction verification mechanism.

The startup, which first came to my attention last year, recently was selected for the Techstars’ Sustainability Accelerator run in conjunction with the Nature Conservancy (along with another company I’ve written about, bext360).

Nori wants to…

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