Why is Single.Earth Using Blockchain and What Does it Mean for Landowners and Buyers?

Single.Earth
July 19, 2022

Natural ecosystems around us are collapsing, largely because of human actions which have led to rapid biodiversity loss and climate change. None of the current solutions have put the world on the right track to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees. We should be heading towards a 45% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. In reality, our emissions grow every year. The projections for 2050 are dire. 

The good news is that even though humans brought us to this breaking point, we’re also the ones who can turn this around if we act fast. 

Single.Earth is building a solution that reevaluates humankind’s relationship with nature: it’s time to value nature for what it does, for keeping humankind alive. That’s why Single.Earth is helping to preserve existing ecosystems by making nature protection profitable and accessible with nature-backed MERIT tokens.

The cornerstone of each tokenization project is a blockchain. In this article, we give an overview of what blockchain is and why we need one. If you have questions, feel free to ask them in the chat bubble in the right corner. 

What is blockchain?

Blockchain is a lot like a database, but not a regular one, because it can’t be manipulated.

Let’s break it down in a simple way: 

  1. Blockchain is a way of storing data.
  2. It is made of a chain of blocks, where each block contains some data. 
  3. Each block has the last block’s information in it. There is a checksum, or fingerprint, of each block that was already there that’s always stored in the next block which is going to be added. 
  4. All blocks are linked together. It’s impossible to take one part out without breaking the bond. This means the data can’t be manipulated. 

The fundamental property of blockchain is that every next block is dependent on the previous block’s data. We can’t change anything in the past without breaking the structure of the current block(s).

“A very simplistic way to look at blockchain is that it’s like a public database or a ledger — whatever you choose to call it — which is always honest. What’s there, is there.” This is how our Chief Product Officer Jens Kasemets makes it easily understandable for everyone. 

“Blockchain is essentially a linear database, where data can only be added. You can log and monitor any action taken there. It’s a simplistic way which largely describes what the basic idea of blockchain is, but in reality it isn’t always linear,” added Andrus Aaslaid, Single.Earth’s Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer.

Why did Single.Earth choose to use blockchain?

“I think people mostly ask why Single.Earth chose blockchain because they think blockchain and crypto (currency) are the same thing and they have concerns about the crypto space. But they’re not the same thing, blockchain is just a public database,” commented Kasemets.

There are five main reasons why Single.Earth chose to use blockchain. It allows us to build a global solution that’s transparent and scalable. Furthermore, it enables a high degree of data integrity and connects data to tradability and ownership. 

It’s important to understand that:

  • Blockchain is just a tool Single.Earth uses. Single.Earth is not a blockchain company or a cryptocurrency. 
  • Single.Earth isn’t just using blockchain, but also the modern cryptocurrency infrastructure connected to it. This has a lot of benefits that are described below. 

1. Going global in a trustworthy way

Single.Earth is a global company, which means we aren’t building our solution just for a specific country or region. 

Our vision is a nature-backed economy for the whole world, and using blockchain technology connected to the cryptocurrency infrastructure gives us the ability to operate nearly everywhere in the world. 

Furthermore, it allows us to reach the global market in a trustworthy way, which is immensely important for Single.Earth. 

“Blockchain cryptocurrency infrastructure means we can’t change or hide anything — everything is visible. Actually, it is possible to conceal some parts, but we don’t want to anyway and that’s why we build this public database. Everything we’re doing, except the personal data of landowners, is visible,” commented Aaslaid.

2. Transparency

Single.Earth needed a database to store data and we chose blockchain largely because of its transparency. We don’t want to do anything behind the scenes and blockchain as a technology allows that. 

This also aligns with our goal of going global in a trustworthy way: transparency helps us do that. 

The fundamental property of blockchain is that every next block is dependent on other blocks that are already there. That means all data can always be monitored — what data is there, where it comes from, and where it goes.

3. Data integrity

High data integrity is crucial in a database to make sure your data is valid. 

Validation mechanisms need to be in place to have a relatively fast distributed database. That’s where cryptocurrency infrastructure helps as the mechanism is already in place there. 

“Data added to blockchain can never be removed or faked. You can change it, but the previous info is available. Data can’t be faked, at least with reasonable resources,” added Aaslaid. 

4. Scalability

A database with high data integrity is ready for scaling, as the data there is valid. This aspect cannot be emphasized enough! 

People often think that the most useful thing blockchain infrastructure has given us is cryptocurrency, but the opportunity to store data with confidence that it cannot be tampered with is the main benefit of blockchain.

5. Connecting data to tradability and ownership

Using blockchain with the cryptocurrency infrastructure connects data with tradability, so transactions are possible. 

It also links together data and ownership in the same ecosystem, and does it in a scalable and secure way, which is a huge benefit of using blockchain and the cryptocurrency infrastructure. Our CTO Andrus Aaslaid explains it in a simple way: 

“If I want to transfer a picture from one person to another, you can change the ownership in the blockchain by simply transferring the asset from one address to another. The transaction is recorded and the transaction is virtually not disputable.

And that's also how MERIT tokens are moved around — they’re almost like traded pictures. You have a MERIT token recorded in the blockchain when it’s minted by us based on the model. When we want to transfer a MERIT token from one owner to another, we record that transaction in the very same blockchain. And then the ownership is changed.”

If you choose a blockchain that is related to a cryptocurrency, as most public blockchains are today, you also have the benefit of trading your assets on the public marketplaces that are already there. 

Single.Earth chose the Solana cryptocurrency infrastructure to take care of MERIT token infrastructure and provide the opportunity for public trades of the token later.

What does using blockchain mean for landowners?

Because Single.Earth is using blockchain technology, landowners can:

  • Always audit and revisit data 
  • Reach the global market easily 

Landowners get tokens based on the work their land does. Blockchain and its underlying connected technologies offer the possibility to audit and revisit data whenever they choose to.

Because Single.Earth is building a global solution using blockchain connected to the cryptocurrency infrastructure, giving the landowners a possibility to use public exchanges in the future. 

I’m a landowner and want to join Single.Earth, will my personal data be visible?

The simple answer is: 

  • Landowners’ personal data is NOT visible.
  • Data about the land is visible.
  • Data about the token minting process and underlying science is visible.
  • Records of ownership are NOT visible.

It’s important to note that even though everything Single.Earth is doing regarding land is recorded on the blockchain, landowners’ personal data and records of ownership will not be part of the blockchain data and will be stored securely at Single.Earth data vaults. Of this data, only the checksum is stored on the blockchain, so that the validity can be proven if needed, but no access to the data is granted through blockchain infrastructure.

Single.Earth complies with all privacy regulations in the markets we’re operating in: European Union, GDPR, and all others.

What does using blockchain mean for MERIT token buyers? 

The biggest benefit for a buyer is that whatever they buy, it comes from a credible source. 

How MERIT token is minted, where it’s minted, what model it’s based on, where the lands are — it’s all visible. 

All underlying documents are time-stamped in repository, which allows for full traceability from the beginning. 

Without blockchain it would be very difficult to build an infrastructure that provides similar trust and has external validating parties in place. Thanks to blockchain we have those external validators already. The whole cryptocurrency infrastructure is built to have these validators in place to show how a transaction really happened. 

Also, whatever is on the blockchain is possible to publicly trade on cryptocurrency exchanges. This gives MERIT tokens the ability to be listed on those exchanges later.

In conclusion, what does Single.Earth use blockchain for? Storing, minting, and trading with our MERIT tokens. 

It’s important to remember that Single.Earth simply uses blockchain technology to build our solution for bringing the nature-backed economy closer to everyone. Nature conservation is crucial to turn biodiversity loss and climate change around. Single.Earth is starting with onboarding forests, as forest conservation is one of the most impactful solutions. 

Single.Earth is on a mission to help preserve and restore existing ecosystems.

Sign up as a landowner through the registration link.

Follow us for the latest news on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Join the community for Single.Earth insights and climate conversations: Earthsavers on Discord.

Help landowners choose nature protection