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.

Saudi based SABIC, one of the world’s largest petrochemicals manufacturers has launched a blockchain pilot project to trace the carbon footprint of specific material streams from end to end. SABIC will work with Circularise, a blockchain software provider.

According to SABIC release, blockchain technology has emerged as a potentially efficient solution to improve the process that can bolster transparency and accountability while minimizing risk across supply chains.

SABIC’s project will employ Circularise’s technology to capture emissions across the value chain by deploying a consistent methodological and reporting framework accepted by the industry. Scope 1 and Scope 2 data captured at the material level can be used to generate Scope 3 CO2 emissions for the full value chain of targeted industries.

In addition to increased transparency, the use of Circularise’s Smart Questioning technology will benefit SABIC’s entire value chain by reducing the administrative efforts associated with the data collection and providing access to upstream and downstream data provided by value chain participants, from recyclers to converters to original equipment manufacturers, among others. 

“This blockchain pilot project reaffirms SABIC’s dedication to accelerating the sustainable transformation of our industry through strategic partnerships and innovative new technologies,” said Waleed Al-Shalfan, Vice President of Polymers Technology & Innovation at SABIC. “Accurately mapping emissions, especially Scope 3 emissions, will allow SABIC and others to identify and minimize hot spots along the value chain, a critical tool in our pathways to decarbonization. We encourage other upstream and downstream partners to join and consider how this technology can unlock sustainable growth at every level moving forward.”

“We’re proud to collaborate with SABIC in tackling the pivotal challenges of Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions accounting, which encompass issues like information accessibility, confidentiality, and scalability of data sharing among suppliers,” said Mesbah Sabur, Founder of Circularise. “As part of this project, Circularise aims to pilot blockchain-powered digital product passports and help businesses to track product emissions on a large scale and over time, generating comprehensive product life cycle emission reports.” 

This project marks another way in which SABIC is leveraging innovative partnerships to reduce emissions and help meet its commitment of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Earlier this year, SABIC joined Together for Sustainability (TfS), a procurement-driven initiative created by chemical companies with the goal of assessing, auditing, and improving sustainability practices within their supply chains. As a member of TfS, SABIC will foster collaboration around increasing transparency in upstream value chains to support further reductions in Scope 3 greenhouse emissions. 

This collaboration with Circularise also marks SABIC’s second blockchain application project. Last year, SABIC launched a pilot project with Finboot, Plastic Energy, and Intraplás to evaluate the use of blockchain technology in supporting end-to-end digital traceability of circular feedstock in customer products.

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.

Crypto Oasis launched its crypto Oasis report for Q2 of 2023 announcing the Green Block initiative as part of its commitment to the UAE’s Environmentally Sustainable goals. This comes as the UAE hosts the COP28 in December 2023.

Crypto Oasis, a blockchain ecosystem fostering innovation in the UAE, has witnessed a significant growth in the blockchain crypto ecosystem in the UAE.

In its second edition of the Crypto Oasis Ecosystem report for Q2 2023, it noted that there were now over 1,800 organizations in the blockchain and crypto industry within the country with over 8,650 employees working in crypto blockchain, metaverse, and Web3 ecosystem.

The numbers are up from the ones shared in Crypto Oasis’s annual report of 2022 published in October. At that time there were 1,400 blockchain and crypto entities in the country employing 7000 people. This shows that 400 new entities registered their companies in the UAE over the past 8 months employing an extra 1,650 people in the sector.

In Crypto Oasis Q2 2023 report, native organizations made up 70.5% of total blockchain crypto entities, while in October 2022 report they stood at 66%. There has been an increase of 4.5% of native entities in just 8 months. Dubai’s DMCC is still home to the majority of blockchain and crypto entities with 600 registered companies, followed by Dubai Economic Department with 420 plus, and IFZA freezone with 200 and DIFC with 110. 

The Crypto Oasis report was published in partnership with DLT Science Foundation and Roland Berger.

To build on the successes of the past years, Crypto Oasis announced in their report the launch of a new initiative, the “Green Block”, an ecosystem for the ESG (Economic Sustainable Goals) part of Web3 to foster a sustainable future by bringing together innovators and entrepreneurs to develop and implement solutions that promote environmental sustainability and social responsibility.

The Green Block focuses on promoting, leading, and connecting this part of the industry to align with the goals of the UAE.

Saqr Ereiqat, Co-Founder of Crypto Oasis told LaraontheBlock, “We will be launching the Green Block initiative formally during the Future Blockchain Summit in Dubai being held in October. Since this is a UAE centric report and one of the primary themes of the country this year is ESG we follow suit in our report and are currently working on the Green Block initiative in Web3 for COP28.”

Blockchain technology holds particular promise in the fight against climate change for three key reasons: it can amplify voluntary carbon markets to channel billions of dollars towards green investments, facilitate the widespread adoption of parametric insurance for climate events and accelerate development of open data infrastructure necessary to help coordinate global actors.