“There is both a challenge and an opportunity to realise blockchain’s potential – not just for finance or industry, but for people and the planet. This opportunity comes at a critical juncture in humanity’s development”, World Economic Forum.

 

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic have been created in the past century, more than 70% of which is now in waste streams. While this statistic clearly illustrates the pressure our growing population is putting on our consumption of resources, the WEF points out that an opportunity simultaneously exists for governments, regulators and companies to overcome the world’s most pressing environmental challenges by harnessing rapidly evolving technologies.

Blockchain, the distributed ledger technology behind cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, has been the subject of a considerable level hype lately, due in part to the cryptomania upswing of 2017 and Facebook’s recent announcement of its Libra cryptocurrency project. But stepping back from the hype, real use cases exist to harness blockchain to address environmental challenges, including climate change, loss of biosphere integrity and water scarcity. 

In the report ‘Building Block(chain)s for a Better Planet’, the WEF points out a number of areas identified as blockchain-enabled ‘game changers’, meaning they are providing the ability to deliver transformative solutions to environmental challenges. These include:

    • Decentralised and sustainable resource management enabling more informed decision-making regarding system design and management of resources which could involve peer-to-peer transactions, dynamic pricing and optimal demand-supply balancing
    • New sources of sustainable finance
      potentially revolutionising access to capital and unlocking potential for new investors in projects that address environmental challenges
    • Incentivising circular economies so that individuals, companies and governments can unlock financial value from things that are currently wasted, discarded or treated as economically invaluable
    • Transforming carbon and emissions markets by optimising existing market platforms for carbon and creating new opportunities for carbon credit transactions
    • Sustainable reporting, audit and assurance, which will help companies manage, demonstrate and improve their performance, as well as enabling consumers and investors to make better-informed decisions
    • Automatic disaster preparedness and humanitarian relief by facilitating the sharing of information and rapid automated transactions via smart contracts
    • Earth-management platforms, such as geospatial platforms, which could monitor, manage and enable market mechanisms that protect the global environmental commons.

 

Energy positive

Fortuitously, a manifestation of some of the main use-cases listed above is on the threshold of becoming a reality in Norway. Svart is the world’s first hotel designed after the energy-positive Powerhouse standard located above the polar circle. Built by MIRIS in conjunction with industry-leading professionals with a similar ethos towards nature preservation and innovation, Svart reduces its yearly energy consumption by 85% compared to other modern hotels. Scheduled to open in 2021, it will harvest enough solar energy to cover both the hotel operations and the energy needed to construct the building. The architecture is inspired by local coastal building traditions and stands on wooden piles dissolving the boundaries between land and sea. The project will produce 60% more energy than consumed, which is enough to support surrounding infrastructure.

In line with the WEF’s report about the positive potential influence of blockchain addressing environmental challenges, MIRIS is in the midst of transforming its fundraising method for its sustainable real estate projects. MIRIS recently launched its tokenised investment offer (Debt Sale Programme) in which MIRIS AS bond holders will enjoy priority access to invest into newly listed projects. The Svart Hotel is being listed as the first project under the programme.

The debt sale programme is being run through the MIRIS X platform [insert link to demo tool] which makes use of tokenisation to provide greater transparency for investors by allowing all projects to be publicly auditable on the Ethereum blockchain. MIRIS X allows investors to buy, sell and trade equity or debt in MIRIS projects. MIRIS has also started integrating its entire construction and project management process into blockchain-based platform, which provides investors with real-time overview of the progression of various projects as well as spending costs incurred over the entire lifetime of a construction.

 

Harnessing decentralised solutions

According to WEF, blockchain has great potential, if harnessed in the right way, to enable a move to cleaner and more resource-preserving decentralised solutions, unlock natural capital and empower communities. As a sustainable real estate developer, MIRIS aims to embrace the future of the ever-changing direction of modern society by transforming itself into a more flexible, technology-driven company. Investors of any size keen on backing sustainable development projects can easily take part via the groundbreaking, blockchain-based MIRIS X platform. The challenge going forward will be to unlock blockchain’s potential in a way that ensures inclusion, safety, interoperability and scale. MIRIS is taking one giant step towards making this potential a reality in its quest to enable ‘smarter investing for a greener planet’.

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