UAE based Fils, an enterprise-grade digital infrastructure provider enabling companies to embed sustainability and climate action into their business models, has featured in a new PWC Middle East report on Carbon credit tokenization: Pioneering a sustainable future

It has been estimated that the carbon credits market will expand to US$100 billion by 2030, by Morgan Stanley, a global leader in financial services. The PwC Middle East report examines the tokenization of carbon credits and how financial institutions can become game-changing players in leveraging this process to combat climate change.  

The report emphasizes the practical deployment of carbon credit tokenization- as demonstrated by Fils – showcasing how the fintech’s technology is being used by several of its banking clientele.

Since its launch ahead of COP28 last year, Fils has embedded digital tools to businesses across various sectors, enabling them to integrate climate initiatives into their workflows.

A case study featuring in the report reveals that their innovative software has enabled major fintechs, such as Magnati in the UAE and Geidea in the KSA, and banks such as Mashreq, to process payments that automatically offset carbon emissions, simplifying eco-friendly transactions and ensuring business transparency. Fils also uses advanced analytics for carbon emission calculations in corporate spending, offering a clear view of environmental impact. This approach exemplifies Fils’ efficient method to incorporate climate action into business models, contributing to a sustainable future in finance and positioning Fils as a foundational force in building a global community of sustainability-minded businesses.

“We are incredibly proud that Fils’ efforts and achievements in integrating climate action into business models have been recognized and used as a case study in this report.” said Nameer Khan, CEO of Fils. “Since our inception, we have been instrumental in assisting financial institutions to effectively incorporate climate action into their operations. This report not only showcases our technology through our real world case studies but also amplifies our reach, giving us a larger platform to inform others about what we do and expand into new regions. It’s a testament to our continued commitment to sustainability and the growing impact of our solutions on a global scale,” he added.

PwC Middle East’s report talks about the emergence of tokenization, its role in enhancing financial services, how tokenized carbon credits are creating game changing opportunities by building a more transparent, efficient and accessible market for carbon credits, in turn driving growth and therefore supporting the goals of the Paris Agreement to drop emissions by 45% by 2030.

Commenting on the report, Serena Sebastiani, Virtual Assets Consulting Leader at PwC Middle East said, “This report underscores the critical role of informed partnerships in advancing climate action.”

She added, “By merging insights from Fils’ application of technology with our strategic overview, the report aims to educate financial institutions about the benefits of tokenisation applied to carbon credits, driving a shift towards how the world of finance can play a big role in saving our planet, one token at a time. “

Fils has established strategic partnerships with significant financial institutions in the region, including Magnati in the UAE, Geidea in KSA, and Mashreq Bank, enabling millions of merchants worldwide to reduce their environmental impact. 

The research team at the American University of Sharjah has filed a provisional patent for a blockchain system to improve the carbon credits trading market. The patent was filed with the United States Patent and Trademark office.

The Carbon Credits Trade (CCT) market uses a marketplace to buy and sell credits that allow companies or other parties to emit a certain amount of carbon dioxide. Governments set limits on emissions, and companies that emit less than their limit can sell their excess credits to those that exceed their limit.

CCT encourages companies to reduce their carbon emissions and invest in cleaner technologies, ultimately helping to combat climate change.

The AUS team’s new blockchain system aims to address the inefficiencies and challenges associated with current CCT platforms by automating a number of the components, including registering participants, generating credits, tracking, and trading as well as measuring carbon emissions.

These improvements will help ensure transparency, immutability and credibility of operations and data records.

“This innovation streamlines the carbon credit trading process and offers significant benefits such as reducing operational costs, processing time and mitigating risks associated with double-spending and lack of transparency, which current CCT systems face,” said Dr. Malick Ndiaye, Professor in Industrial Engineering and research lead.

“It also aligns with the United Nations’ goal of combating climate change by enabling governments to leverage CCT effectively. It empowers countries and organisations to track and monitor greenhouse gas emissions, facilitating carbon credit trading while also aiding in the development of strategies to control and reduce emissions.”

He added that the new technology could contribute to a reduction in air pollution, resulting in a healthier environment for people with improved air quality, reducing the risk of respiratory illnesses and other health issues associated with air pollution.

The technology’s ability to reduce operational costs and processing time in carbon credit trading can create economic opportunities for businesses and investors, leading to job creation, increased investment in sustainable technologies and overall economic growth.

“Our technology offers transparent and access to carbon credit trading, which promotes social equity by ensuring that all stakeholders, including marginalised communities, have equal access to environmental resources and opportunities,” said Ndiaye.

However, by incentivising companies to reduce emissions through the trading of carbon credits, the AUS innovation offers a practical solution to mitigate the environmental impact of thermal power generation.

With the blockchain system automating and enhancing the efficiency of CCT processes, power generating companies operating thermal plants can more effectively manage and offset their carbon emissions.

By participating in the carbon credit market facilitated by the AUS innovation, these companies can demonstrate their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint while also accessing economic benefits through efficient trading and reduced operational costs.

Despite potential challenges such as regulatory hurdles, scalability, and security concerns, the AUS blockchain system offers a practical solution to mitigate the environmental impact of thermal power generation, positioning GCC companies as leaders in transitioning towards a sustainable energy landscape.

Four years in the making, the technology was exclusively developed within the College of Engineering (CEN) at AUS, with full support from full-time PhD student Dr. Alia Al Sadawi and an AUS Faculty Research Grant. Currently, a portion of the research is undergoing implementation in a prototyping phase at AUS to complete a case study on real time carbon emission measurement and monitoring. This new development phase is also supported by the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre.

Geidea, recognized as one of the 25 top Fintech companies by Forbes Middle East, has partnered with UAE based Fils a force in simplified climate action, empowering businesses of all sizes to embed climate positivity into transactions using their API.

Geidea’s collaboration with Fils not only underlines its commitment to reshaping the digital payments landscape but also signifies a pioneering step towards a sustainable future, aligning seamlessly with Fils’ mission to transform industries, including banking, travel, eCommerce, and fintech, towards environmental consciousness and carbon neutrality. This exclusive partnership is set to make a lasting impact on the UAE’s digital payments sector and beyond.

Fresh from being the official payment and POS provider for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28), Geidea demonstrates its commitment to sustainability through this collaboration with Fils.

Geidea and Fils are set to embed sustainability into every aspect of their activities. Merchants will now have the capability to empower customers by providing estimates of carbon emissions for specific transactions using Geidea’s payment gateways. Whether it’s flights, rides, products, or shipping, customers can gain valuable insights into the carbon intensity of their actions. This not only fosters a culture of sustainability but also enables informed decision-making.

After being given an estimate of their carbon footprint, the collaboration with Fils allows customers to seamlessly contribute to trusted carbon credit projects directly from any product interface. This streamlined process empowers users to actively support a greener future and reduce their carbon footprint effortlessly with every digital payments transaction. Fils is utilizing blockchain technology in its offering.

Commenting on this transformative partnership, Sailesh Malhotra, General Manager Geidea GCC stated, “At Geidea, we are thrilled to continue leveraging our technology to contribute to impactful and tangible solutions. This partnership with Fils aligns with our mission to go beyond conventional payment services, introducing a new era where sustainability is integrated into the very fabric of digital transactions.”

Nameer Khan, founder and CEO of Fils, stated, “Our collaboration with Geidea is a significant step in Fils’ journey towards leading sustainable innovation in the global fintech landscape. Starting from UAE this partnership will extend regionally, reinforcing our commitment to ESG values across key regions. Working with Geidea is not just about fulfilling our environmental mission; it’s a testament to Fils’ visionary technology and dedication to making every transaction a positive force for our planet. Together, we are setting new standards in sustainable finance, demonstrating that progress and environmental stewardship can go hand in hand.”

Prior to this Fils signed an MOU with Mashreq Bank, a financial institution in MENA. The partnership will develop a corporate carbon offsetting offering that helps corporate and institutional clients to integrate carbon offsetting directly from their Mashreq corporate accounts.

The UAE Central Bank announced the result of the Cop28 UAE Techsprint, where UK Blockchain solution provider ZERO13, was recognized in the category of “Innovative blockchain solutions in sustainable finance to scale up climate action. ZERO13 blockchain driven platform facilitates issuance, trading, clearing and settlements of carbon credits linked to tangible ESG (Environmental Sustainable Goals) using interoperable blockchains and APIs.

As per ZERO13 website, ZERO13 is helping to achieve Net Zero by combining AI and blockchain to restore trust in carbon credit markets, addressing green washing, double counting, price transparency, vertical silos and market fragmentation.

UAE TechSprint launched by The UAE Central Bank, COP28 presidency, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), and the Emirates Institute of Finance (EIF); is a global initiative that promotes  technology innovation in scaling sustainable finance, aligned with the CBUAE’s goals to drive digitalization, advanced technologies, and sustainability in the financial sector.

COP28 UAE TechSprint attracted 126 proposals from across 31 countries, engaging participation of financial innovators and developers from around the world. Following the submissions of proposals, 15 finalist teams were shortlisted and presented their prototypes to an independent panel of judges who selected the best solution in each of the three categories below.

Other winners included Intensel, from Hong Kong,  which was recognized in the category of “Innovative artificial intelligence solution to scale up sustainable finance and climate action” with their climate analytics platform that leverages artificial intelligence, satellite imagery and climate and financial models to measure and translate climate hazards into financial risk at the asset level.

In addition to  Evercomm, from Singapore, which was recognized in the category of “Innovative IoT and sensor technology solutions in sustainable finance to scale up climate action” with their IoT-powered digital emission disclosures and verification for industrial emission reduction strategies supporting compliance and sustainability-linked financing.

The teams behind these solutions along with the shortlisted participants will each be eligible to receiving an award to help them fund further development.

His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and COP28 President, said: “Effectively managing climate change demands finance that is both easily attainable, accessible, and economically feasible. I congratulate the teams behind these technological solutions aimed at fostering sustainable finance standards and instruments. These innovations have the capacity to enhance investor trust and more effectively channel capital to those most in need. COP28 remains steadfast in collaborating with its partners to implement tangible solutions, accelerating the expansion of climate action and expediting global initiatives for sustainable finance.”

His Excellency Khaled Mohamed Balama, Governor of CBUAE and Chairman of EIF, said: “The COP28 UAE TechSprint highlighted the crucial role of advanced technology innovations in sustainable finance to contribute to a more sustainable future. The initiative has brought to the fore innovative solutions from around the world that can be deployed to drive progress in scaling sustainable finance in line with CBUAE’s strategy with an emphasis on advancing digitalization, innovations, and sustainability in the financial sector. On behalf of the CBUAE, I am pleased to congratulate the participants for their innovative solutions and look forward to the impact of pioneering technological solutions to scale up sustainable finance.”

UAE Homegrown Fils fintech platform which employs blockchain launched prior to Cop28 to integrate sustainable values into the core of digital payments.

Fils aims to bring together buyers with capital and suppliers with high integrity carbon credits.

Nameer Khan, the founder of Fils and chairman of the Mena Fintech Association (MFTA), has designed along with his team a holistic, enterprise-grade B2B2C product offering, Fils leverages the power of leading technologies including Blockchain for its end-to-end infrastructure to transform various industries, including financial services, hospitality, and e-commerce.

This makes it easier for businesses to act on the core values of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG), said Khan, adding that major partnerships with some of the leading names in the industry would be announced soon.

Khan said Fils is poised to transform the world of ESG, through an API-first digital payment infrastructure that makes sustainability a lifestyle and can be easily embedded into platforms across sectors. He stated, “Fils is a catalyst for the evolution of ESG enforcement and has the right team, technology, experience and expertise to lead the market. With our robust infrastructure, it spells the end of greenwashing and clears a path towards greater accountability and implementation of actionable outcomes that can improve the sustainability of the world we live in.”

Prior to this UAE Ghad Capital partners celebrated the launch of Fils which they stated employed blockchain and AI for a transparent secure payment infrastructure, supporting 17 UN SDGs.

Blockchain tokenization platform ACX (AirCarbon Exchange) is now live with key trades executed and settled on the platform with First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and Helix Climate conduct first trade on the exchange and South Pole executes first over-the-counter transaction on Carbon Market Board

ACX established its regional base in ADGM in August 2021 with the support of Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem. Hub71 is powered by Mubadala Investment Company PJSC (Mubadala), an Abu Dhabi sovereign investor. Mubadala invested in ACX in September 2022 as a strategic step in line with its economic diversification mandate and commitment to responsible investing.

In September 2022, ADGM, the international financial center of the UAE’s capital that is established as a financial free zone, became the first jurisdiction to regulate voluntary carbon credits as financial instruments through the introduction of an Environmental Instrument classification, a regulatory framework to license exchanges and clearing houses for both spot and derivatives markets for these products.

In November 2022, ACX Abu Dhabi became the first entity to be licensed under this framework, being the world’s first regulated Recognized Investment Exchange and Recognized Clearing House offering Environmental Instruments in the form of carbon credits.

The inaugural carbon credits trade on the fully regulated exchange was executed between First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and specialist carbon trading company Helix Climate.

Sameh Al Qubaisi, Group Head of Global Markets at First Abu Dhabi Bank, said, “We are delighted to execute the first trade on ACX Abu Dhabi. As the UAE’s largest bank, we are keen to support the expansion and potential of carbon markets to provide price signals that can help companies reduce or remove their greenhouse gas emissions in the most efficient way.”

Simon Harman, Founding Partner of Helix Climate, said, “Helix Climate are proud to have transacted the first trade on ACX Abu Dhabi, the first fully regulated carbon exchange. We share ACX’s vision to grow liquidity, transparency and confidence in the voluntary carbon markets and look forward to transacting more volume on the exchange.”

Arvind Ramamurthy, Chief of Market Development at ADGM , said, “Last year, ADGM welcomed the introduction of ACX, the first regulated carbon credit trading exchange and clearing house in the world and today we are more than thrilled to witness its live launch. As we find ourselves in a critical time with the development of global carbon markets, this step marks a momentous milestone in the journey towards a thriving market for voluntary carbon markets. We look forward to seeing ACX take on a pivotal role in not just environmental instruments but also in other markets and financial instruments, including virtual asset markets.”

“This marks another important step in bringing carbon credits closer to the world of regulated commodities,” said ACX’s Co-Founder and Co-CEO William Pazos. “ACX is proud to be the world’s first fully regulated spot carbon environmental exchange and clearing house. We are equally honored to be recognized for our ability to innovate and trigger positive change in this critically important sector.”

Further enhancing its portfolio, ACX Abu Dhabi is also pleased to announce the first trade on its Carbon Market Board (CMB) – an electronic trading facility that allows participants to execute and settle over-the-counter transactions. The trade was concluded with South Pole, the world’s leading climate project developer and solutions provider.

“By providing a regulated environment for carbon credit trades, ACX is helping to build higher integrity carbon markets: both buyers and sellers have more certainty thanks to the regulatory wrapper around the traded carbon credits and a marketplace that is scrutinized by an independent financial services authority. Trust will result in scale of climate action and impact, which is essential today,” said Abderrahman Kasmi, Executive Director for Procurement & Trading at South Pole.

UAE Mubadala Investment Company PJSC (Mubadala) acquired a majority stake in blockchain enabled AirCarbon Exchange (ACX), this came after Mubadala Capital led Series B funding round of $70 million for Ramp Network, whose mission is to make Web3 a reality by enabling mainstream adoption of products and services offered by pioneering blockchain ventures.

UK based  BeZero Carbon partnered with UAE Blockchain security token platform for carbon credits ACX (formerly known as AirCarbon Exchange) to host its carbon credit ratings on ACX’s Abu Dhabi exchange – bringing transparent carbon ratings to a new audience in the Gulf States.

UAE based Venom Blockchain has signed an MOU ( Memorandum of Understanding) with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and environment to launch the first blockchain enabled national system for carbon credits.

The collaboration aims to reduce emissions and enhance sustainable agriculture, environmental health, and biodiversity in the UAE. This will be achieved by providing the highest levels of transparency, reliability, efficiency, and security in managing the issuance, transfer, calculation, and accurate tracking of carbon credits, as well as facilitating the digitisation process.

The MoU was signed by Mohammed Said Al Nuaimi, Acting Under-Secretary of MoCCAE, Taryam Matar Taryam, CEO of Industrial Innovation Group, and Peter Knez, Chair of the Foundation Council at Venom Foundation, at the Ministry’s office in Dubai.

Almheiri said, “As the UAE prepares to host COP28 in November, the country is striving to double its efforts and showcase its inspiring experience to the world in addressing climate change by reducing carbon emissions across different sectors. The UAE believes in its ability to make a difference in this field and has pledged, through the Third Update of its second Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), to reduce its emissions by 40 percent compared to a business-as-usual scenario, an increase of 9 percent over its previous pledge.”

She added, “This requires working according to a scientific approach based on modern technology and the highest levels of transparency to monitor carbon credits to work according to realistic data, achieve tangible results on the ground, and achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The collaboration with the Industrial Innovation Group and Venom Foundation to establish the national system for carbon credits using blockchain is an important step in this field and reflects our determination to enhance the UAE’s climate action for a more sustainable future for us and future generations.”

Taryam Matar Taryam, CEO of Industrial Innovation Group, said, “We are honoured to contribute to the establishment of the UAE’s first national carbon credits registration system. The Industrial Innovation Group, with more than 30 years of experience, is committed to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and endeavours to reduce the environmental impact through decarbonisation, as global climate change is closely linked to the increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”

He added that the Group has a long history of creating large-scale national records and excels in developing sustainable pathways for different business sectors, conceptualising decarbonisation initiatives, establishing project documents for various carbon stock records, and effectively managing, monitoring, and reporting carbon use projects.

Peter Knez, Chair of the Foundation Council at Venom Foundation, stated, “Venom Foundation has provided an unparalleled solution, acting as a key infrastructure for a global ecosystem for Web3 applications, with superfast transaction speeds and unlimited scalability to meet governments’ needs.” Knez added that the Foundation is “the first company in the UAE to develop and licence its blockchain technology and shape the future of national decentralised systems and digitise operations in corporate and government enterprises”.

The MoU aims to achieve four strategic objectives related to reducing and cutting greenhouse gas emissions to achieve climate neutrality, developing agribusiness, and promoting responsible investment in agriculture and sustainable food systems, enhancing the economic value of the Environmental Health Programme and conserving biodiversity to enhance the use of ecosystem services for sustainable development.

The main areas of cooperation between the three parties are in developing basic approaches and specific technological solutions for the project of a global platform for registering and issuing carbon credits in the UAE, within the regulatory frameworks of government decisions related to the project of the national system for issuing and registering carbon credits, and providing a blockchain-based solution for safe and effective management of the national system for issuing and registering carbon credits, and identifying and selecting projects related to reducing or removing carbon emissions.

The collaboration also aims to develop a legislative and regulatory framework by the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to establish a national system for issuing and registering carbon credits. This includes creating of a licenced platform and leveraging blockchain technology to ensure the safe and efficient production of carbon credit registration system documents. The cooperation also ensures system integration to meet all requirements for establishing and developing business operations and the comprehensive process of issuing and registering carbon credits. Furthermore, it includes evaluating projects to reduce carbon emissions and remove carbon to ensure process transparency and environmental integration. This collaboration ultimately aims to contribute to achieving the UAE’s NDCs.

USA based Meer Energy, Co-Founder Abdullah Han, was one of the speakers in June 2023’s 10th Arab China Business Conference, in Riyadh KSA, under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, where he met with positive feedback for his concept of developing a Blockchain AI Bitcoin and carbon credit mining datacenter in the country.

In an interview with LaraontheBlock, Han explains why he participated at the Arab China Business Conference and how his business model was received.

According to Han, Meer Energy a US based company for Bitcoin mining which utilizes flared gas to power its datacenters is working to expand its business model which includes Blockchain, AI datacenter as well as Carbon Credit tokenization to the Middle East, African and Asian region.

Han believes that the future of industrialization will be driven by blockchain and AI (Artificial Intelligence) and this requires energy and hashpower, more specifically sustainable hashpower that can support AI and Blockchain development of use cases.  He states, “We are trying to use waste energy from oil and gas, flared energy and renewable energy to create cheap energy that powers AI and Blockchain, Bitcoin mining, and carbon credit tokens. We already have a joint venture with Asian investors to deliver datacenters in the USA.”

Meer Energy’s value proposition is to utilize the flare gas sites in the MENA region, such like those in Iraq, KSA and others to power big datacenters. As he explains, countries such as Iraq have a huge headache in dealing with their flared gas as they are unable to connect it to the electricity grid given their remote location, and the inability to connect pipelines to dry processed gas. So by combining energy from flared gas with AI and Blockchain a lot of projects become viable and economically  attractive.”

For Han, Meer Energy will use 95% of the hashpower of its datacenters to mine Bitcoin, and use the remaining 5% to power high performance blockchain, and AI projects. He gives the example of carbon credits NFTs which will be mined directly from the datacenter. The datacenter will use smart contacts to monetize carbon credits into NFTs creating revenues of $1 million per month.  He explains, “Each Megawatt produced by a datacenter can produce 5000 carbon credits, nearly 1 million dollars in revenue alone , I call it your mining.”

Another example that HAN gives for utilizing datacenters is in the mining of CBDCs. As Han explains, “While countries in developing nations start to issue CBDCs they will face two issues either using private blockchains such as for example Hyperledger or public blockchains such as Ethereum, they will face issues of not holding hashpower of these blockchains, not having a stake in them. By utilizing datacenters on the sovereign ground of a country, central banks can utilize flared gas to power their own CBDC.”

So Han believes that while governments may not want to discuss Bitcoin mining they are interested in discussing how integrated datacenters can support blockchain use cases in combination with AI while affording a sustainable climate program using carbon credits.

According to Han, he is approaching MENA governments and investors with a new concept. While in the USA, Bitcoin is connected to Wall Street, in developing countries the government is behind it. 

As per Han today we are seeing a move towards de-dollarization in KSA, Russia, Iran, and UAE. He explains, “All governments will realize that strong money will drive weak money out of the system. In the 1970s crude oil and dollar were anchored together, but today we can have what I call gas Bitcoin or energy Bitcoin, which could replace the petro dollar.  The new possible global monetary system could be Bitcoin, utilized as a new global reserve system and settlement system. Those leaders with a vision and forward looking approach understand this. They by mining Bitcoin can have a share of a global decentralized banking system. This is one way to understand Bitcoin from a geo-political perspective. So when I speak to MENA policy leaders I don’t invite them to mine Bitcoin, I invite them to subscribe in shares to a decentralized global bank.”

Han believes this could be tested in for example NEOM city which is powered by Blockchain and AI, because in the city of the future there is also need for the governance of the future and this includes circulation of money. This according to Han could be tested in a controlled environment to see what happens.

Meer Energy is seeking to raise $5-6 million at a valuation of $40-50 million. During Han’s trip to KSA there was very positive feedback not only from investors but policy makers. Han states, “The concept was well received.” 

As for the future Han believes that his proposal allows Bitcoin mining datacenters to survive the halving of Bitcoin. He states, “By combining bitcoin mining with carbon credits regardless of what happens to the price of Bitcoin after halving whether it remains the same or goes up to $50,000 we will still be able to make revenues from carbon credits and will survive while other companies go bankrupt.”

He also believes that these datacenters can create smart contracts for Islamic economy whether related to Hajj, Sukuk and others.

According to the data provided by the Hashrate Index, bitcoin miners in the UAE should produce approximately 13 EH/s, which is equivalent to 3.7% of the total Bitcoin hash rate at an assumed average energy efficiency of 30 J/TH. This comes as the UAE becomes an attractive hub for crypto mining. 

Marathon Digital Holdings confirmed earlier in 2023 that the company along with Abu Dhabi based Zero Two (Registered name FS Innovation), an emerging blockchain and digital assets infrastructure development company, will be launching the two digital asset mining sites with a combined capacity of 250 Megawatts in the sustainability hub of Abu Dhabi Masdar City and the port zone of Mina Zayed by the end of 2023.

UK based  BeZero Carbon has partners  with UAE Blockchain security token platform for carbon credits ACX (formerly known as AirCarbon Exchange) to host its carbon credit ratings on ACX’s Abu Dhabi exchange – bringing transparent carbon ratings to a new audience in the Gulf States.

The ACX Abu Dhabi exchange is the world’s first fully regulated carbon trading exchange built on blockchain. All users of this exchange will now be able to access BeZero’s Carbon’s ratings for carbon offset projects in real time, allowing them to make informed decisions about carbon credit quality before investment.

This new partnership expands on an existing partnership between BeZero and ACX, which saw BeZero’s ratings hosted on other ACX platforms across the world.

BeZero’s risk-based ratings are essential to scale investment in the Voluntary Carbon Market, providing market participants with the information they need to make informed decisions about carbon credit investments.

Tommy Ricketts, CEO and Co-founder of BeZero Carbon stated, “We are pleased to extend our partnership with ACX and bring our expert assessment of carbon credit quality to a new audience in the Gulf. The Voluntary Carbon Market is a critical tool for climate action, and companies need access to risk analytics to help them make informed decisions about how to invest in high quality credits. By offering our carbon ratings on the exchange, we hope to scale investment in the VCM and support the allocation of vital capital towards high quality projects to enable the Net Zero transition.”

William Pazos, Co-CEO and Co-Founder of ACX, added, “Transparency is integral to scaling the Voluntary Carbon Market. We are proud to be building upon our existing partnership with BeZero Carbon to offer their carbon ratings to participants on our Abu Dhabi exchange. The risk-based ratings they provide will help our members better understand their carbon credit investments, and we are pleased to continue our partnership with a knowledgeable business committed to upholding integrity in this rapidly scaling market.”

The engine that will ignite a sustainable future starts with Web3, its associated technologies, and UAE based Enjinstarter. Enjinstarter, launched in 2021 is a Launchpad, incubator, crowd funding, and advisory platform for Web3 metaverse, gaming, entertainment and impact and sustainable projects.

At the beginning of 2023, Enjinstarter appointed Vasseh Ahmed as the new Managing Director to lead the Web3 efforts in the MENA region. Vasseh spoke with LaraontheBlock to discuss Enjinstarter’s plans to help companies reach their Web3 ambitions while positioning Enjinstarter as the go to provider for impact and sustainability projects.

Ahmed, speaking with Lara on the Block, stated, “Before I joined Enjinstarter I was working in the UAE for four years on a digital bank project. I had been in the blockchain and crypto space for over 6 years, so when I met Prakash Somosundram, [Enjinstarter’s] CEO and Co-Founder, and we discussed the launch of an impact and sustainability track, I was all in.”

Enjinstarter in MENA

According to Ahmed, “We have supported 70 projects since inception, helping them raise a total of $10 million. Since the middle of 2022 we have focused on investing in founders who can demonstrate clear utility in their projects. This has worked really well so far, and we continue to onboard more projects each month.”

As for the MENA region, Ahmed believes that UAE has its allure not just because of the investments and capital being deployed in Web3, but also because of its very good regulatory environment and its strategy to build an innovative infrastructure. He explains, “The UAE has become a hotbed for Web3 projects. We are seeing an increasing number of start-ups and companies moving to the region. Enjinstarter is one of them, and we are the first Launchpad globally to apply for the appropriate license in Dubai. We have already received initial approval from Dubai’s Virtual Asset Regulatory Authority (VARA) and are now in the process of obtaining a full license to operate.”

He explains, “We appreciate VARA’s progressive approach to regulation. It has been instrumental in helping us at every step of the licensing process. We have a few more steps to complete in order to obtain the full license, then we can begin operations. Singapore has not shown the same commitment to virtual asset regulation, whichis one of the reasons we chose to expand to MENA and run Enjinstarter in a regulated manner.”

Enjinstarter and a Sustainable Future

The climate emergency is becoming a pressing issue. Temperatures are expected to rise 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050 which will raise sea levels and lead to huge climate changes and extinctions of many animals, and plants.

Yet to date nothing has seemed to incentivize people to do something about it even with the creation of carbon credits. The challenge with carbon credits is that they are only available to corporations and governments. Individuals don’t have much access other than through carbon offset schemes.

For this reason, Enjinstarter is looking to add more projects that focus on impact and sustainability replicating the success of their existing launchpad while complementing it with UAE’s outlook towards building a sustainable future.

Ahmed states, “Web3 has a major role to play in addressing the climate crisis. Carbon credits, in particular, can benefit from Web3’s underlying technology to increase transparency and accessibility. We want to support projects that are looking for ways to shift incentives away from exploitation and toward preservation and regeneration.”

He adds, “Corporate demand for emission reduction strategies is clear. Microsoft, for example, has taken the lead in offsetting its carbon footprint by buying carbon credits. The UAE government has also signalled its desire to be the first carbon-neutral country in MENA. What we need are more initiatives looking to fulfill this demand. Our climate launchpad is designed to scale these initiatives and, ultimately, climate impact.”

Enjinstarter is already working with large scale projects that will be announced in due time, but also wants to focus on grassroots projects. Ahmed explains, “Major projects aren’t the only way to effectively combat climate change. If there is a project making demonstrable climate impact, we want to incubate, accelerate, and match them with interested investors.” 

Ahmed also believes AI (Artificial Intelligence) will be part of Web3 climate solutions. He explains, “As a scuba diver I have seen firsthand how ocean species are either extinct or very close to extinction. Putting these species in the metaverse and allowing users to interact with them can help us build awareness around the importance of preserving them. We can work directly with marine conservations to build the kind of metaverse experiences that maximize engagement with people. Today’s youth, for example, already spend a lot of time gaming. Why not give them the opportunity to play for a good cause?”

Web3 is changing Business models

Enjinstarter has been working with corporations to help them transition seamlessly from their Web2 past  to a Web3 future. Web3 is changing business models and inevitable outcome of digitization and the metaverse sits at the center of it all.

The company is a strong partner with Web3 giant Animoca Brands, the holding company of The Sandbox metaverse. Enjinstarter and Animoca not only have in common their belief in the metaverse but they also have common investors. True Global Ventures 4 Plus has invested both entities. Enjinstarter raised US$5 million in their Series-A round from True Global Ventures 4 Plus.

According to Ahmed, ”True Global Ventures is a very hands-on VC and we love having them as our only VC investor so far. They were instrumental in developing our UAE expansion strategy.”

Both Enjinstarter and Animoca Brands believe that the future of the metaverse hinges on interoperability. The two partnered together for OMA3™, a collaboration of Web3 metaverse platform creators whose goal is to ensure virtual land, digital assets, ideas, and services are highly interoperable between platforms and transparent to all communities. OMA3™ is open to all Web3 metaverse builders.

With this in mind Enjinstarter has developed its Web3 Innovation consulting practice that works with brands, large corporations, and Web2 companies to help them develop Web3 strategies.

Ahmed explains, “In the UAE and GCC there is a lot of excitement towards and experimentation with Web3.. Part of our mission is to help clients jump into Web3 and the metaverse. We’ve developed a playbook for success comprising 30 core skills and actvities. The most important is to take a community-first approach, meaning that you build your community first, then your product. ”

Utilizing a holistic multi-disciplinary approach and a portfolio of partners, Enjinstarter has been able to help replicate its successes with previous projects and build loyalty based metaverse experiences, NFTs, and more.

This is just the beginning; Ahmed believes that there is a lot happening in the region on a government and corporate level and that the future will see AI and Web3 come together as the masses adopt Web3 and metaverse experiences.