UAE Technology Innovation Institute (TII), a leading global scientific research center and the applied research pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), has launched a blockchain-powered carbon tracking and trading platform, which will facilitate international trade in carbon tokens. Verifiable and trustworthy carbon trading can play a vital role in driving green investment and accelerating the road to net zero emissions.

TII’s Cryptography Research Center (CRC) designed the new platform that aligns with both the UAE Vision 2021’s aim of fast-tracking a sustainable environment and achieving net zero as well as the goal of COP28 to “accelerate a transition that puts our economies on the path toward a new low-carbon, high-growth, sustainable economic model in a way that is both transformational and just. The platform will support the global carbon market and allow better tracking of carbon emissions and carbon emission trading. Using a lightweight, efficient blockchain implementation that is not computationally wasteful, as opposed to existing blockchain projects, tracking and trading activities can be verified publicly at little to no cost, either in carbon emissions or other resources. 

Dr. Ray O. Johnson, CEO, Technology Innovation Institute, said, “We are proud to announce this digitized tracking and trading platform at COP28, which represents the UAE’s drive to become a technology and innovation powerhouse and its commitment to leading the world’s climate action agenda. The UAE has provided the tool to ensure that trading can be done in confidence while mitigating human impact and maximizing the benefits to the environment.”

While other organizations are also developing digital carbon trading platforms, TII is the first to implement a blockchain-enabled Proof of Concept as it continues to prepare the platform for global trading. The platform will accurately track carbon emissions by registering the emissions from any worldwide public or private organization. Auditors can then establish a chain of trust from emissions from capture to storage to trading. These audited transactions can be made transparent while keeping intact the privacy of the user – emitter, buyer, or third party. 

TII’s new platform will allow for the creation of tokens that represent a quantity of carbon dioxide that has been removed from the environment. The token can then be stored and traded transparently and securely. The trade-in tokens will create incentives to drive investment in green projects such as forestation and carbon capture and allow entities to offset hard-to-decarbonize activities – further incentivizing green investment. Specifically, blockchain can track and trace products throughout their supply chain journey, enable peer-to-peer energy trading, and create a transparent and immutable ledger of waste disposal and recycling activities. It can also help track water and forestry management efforts.

The establishment of a global carbon credit market was approved at COP21 in Paris in 2015 and a supervisory body was set up to oversee its regulation. The entity aims to finalize its recommendations for approval during COP28, which will trigger a more robust international carbon market than currently exists.

By employing the use of PKI and advanced consensus algorithms, this blockchain solution ensures secure transactions without the resource-intensive proof of work algorithms, resulting in a seamless and eco-friendly network where the decentralized transactions can unfold minimal transactional impact.

Dr. Najwa Aaraj, Chief Researcher at TII’s Cryptography Research Center (CRC), said: “This tracking and trading platform was designed by our talented team of international experts and allows large numbers of verified users to carry out carbon tracking and trading transactions in confidence. It protects the integrity of the transactions and the privacy of the user while ensuring auditability and transparency, making it a perfect tool for a new era of confident carbon trading.”

The TII blockchain offers a verifiable multi-tenant, multi-transaction solution with public key infrastructure (PKI) permissioning built into its core design in addition to a high-security cryptographic stack. The blockchain features a consensus algorithm and a smart contract platform which are designed as pluggable components with integrated practical complex fault tolerance. The permission-based blockchain uses a lightweight, efficient implementation that makes it easy and affordable to transact, track, and trade.