Towards A Sustainable ‘Nature-Backed Economy’ With Innovative MERIT Tokens

Single.Earth News
June 28, 2022

Single.Earth is building a nature-backed economy to solve one of the most critical challenges humankind currently faces: the destruction of natural ecosystems that support life.

We’ll do this by enabling everyone to contribute to nature conservation through nature-backed MERIT tokens.

We’re excited to take users and supporters on this journey as we reimagine the way we value nature. There’s an opportunity to meet different teams of Single.Earth and ask them questions every month in the team AMAs. 

Founders AMA to introduce the global nature-backed economy

To talk about the nature-backed economy we’re building and answer any questions about Single.Earth, we held a founders AMA on 16.06.2022 on Discord and YouTube.  

We had interesting conversations about what Single.Earth has already done (hint: a digital twin of the whole world’s nature and minting of MERIT tokens!) and the company’s larger vision. 

Learn how people, businesses, and institutions can help halt biodiversity loss and climate change.

All questions were asked by users. Here’s a recap of the answers:

Updates and news: MERIT tokens minting started

The first MERIT tokens have been minted, meaning we have officially distributed the first tokens to our onboarded landowners based on the ecosystem services their natural resources provide.

This is huge news, as we have developed a science-based way of minting those tokens for each landowner (the science paper is 40 pages), so we're proud that everything is functioning well after countless hours of work.

Meanwhile, the science team is already working on a new and improved minting model.

We've been working on security at all levels in our internal banking system to prevent cyberattacks and break-ins. We're also building a secure and transparent infrastructure that is accessible to other scientists.

The first tokens are in blockchain and we're sure that no one can do anything they are not authorized to do with them, which will prove to future partners, investors, and landowners that the infrastructure is solid.

What have been the biggest challenges?

The first big one was the question of how to start innovating in a space where there isn't much innovation. In a space where everyone was focused on carbon offset, we brought something different to the table. It takes courage to think outside the box and unlearn the things you know, but once you get it, it's a strength.

Also, keeping up with the crypto licenses and regulations in Estonia was quite the challenge. But it was necessary, and after the hard work we put in, all is well and legal.

The third hardest part was making the onboarding process as easy as possible. The science behind it is complex, but we wanted the onboarding to feel simple and intuitive and not  confusing, like blockchain technology often is.

When will Single.Earth launch?

The land management platform was launched in beta two months ago, and now registration is open to everyone. 

The MERIT token was officially minted on the blockchain at the time of the AMA, but it’s not yet in circulation, meaning that the tokens have not been released on any public trading platforms.

In the coming months we'll be doing some corporate deals and distributing tokens to large investors and companies, but we won’t be putting them on the open market yet. We've seen abnormal price volatility in the crypto market, so we're making the necessary preparations in our token distribution mechanics (tokenomics) and optimizing our use case (token utility).

We will gradually start entering the open market in August–September.

Do landowners trade in MERITs with euros exclusively?

The intent is that landowners will be paid in FIAT first and then have the option to purchase MERIT tokens. We're exploring the use of MERITs as a mediary token for doing all sorts of transactions, so that everything is transparent through blockchain, and will contribute to nature conservation.

Will the token be integrated for everyday purchases?

Yes, our end goal is that you can do everything with MERITs that you can with fiat. We can't wait to show you all the solutions we're building and testing for the market. 

The main thing we want to achieve is to give everyone the opportunity to contribute to nature conservation with each fiat transaction they make throughout the day. This will motivate every business and individual to join the nature-backed economy.

What makes Single.Earth better or different from other forest saving platforms? 

Planting trees is good for nature, but it won't save the planet. Even if we planted trees today, it wouldn’t have an impact on carbon for more than 10 years, and we need a solution today.

We also don't just look at carbon, like other projects. We have a broader focus and account for biodiversity and other ecosystem services that nature provides.

How will Single.Earth guarantee value? 

Most currencies have no backing whatsoever. 

There are a couple of things that make the MERIT token different:

  • It is an actual representation of the value of nature. This is a real utility token — a token that is linked to real world commodities. And we're not just linked to carbon sequestration, but biodiversity too.
  • This is just the beginning. The goal is a nature-based economy on a global scale. The majority of the economy depends on nature and natural resources, but doesn’t contribute to the preservation of nature's resources. MERIT tokens are the missing link between the economy and nature.
  • When we mint tokens based on the work nature does, and we limit the amount of MERIT tokens in circulation to how much nature can sustain, we can create a sustainable nature-backed economy for generations to come.

The current economic system is broken: the more we accumulate wealth, the more we waste the natural resources that keep us alive. This doesn't work and it's completely unsustainable. MERIT is the missing link that makes a sustainable nature-based economy possible.

Why is Single.Earth using blockchain?

Blockchain’s scalable, secure, and verifiable infrastructure lets us describe things and trade transparently. 

Information is stored in such a way that you can prove in time and space that something existed at one point and change ownership while proving that it went from owner A to owner B.

Blockchain excels at merging those two things -- asset ownership and transfer — in one global, verifiable database. This is what only blockchain can do and how blockchain should be used in our opinion.

How do you encourage landowners to look after their land? 

The better the ecosystem services their land provides, the more MERIT tokens they will receive. And to continue receiving a good amount of those, they will need to look after their land.

Who will own my land if I join Single.Earth?

The landowner keeps full ownership of the land. We're not tokenizing the forest itself, rather the ecosystem services it provides.

How can I convert my unused land into a better functioning ecosystem? 

In the future, Single.Earth will look at providing the necessary funding for projects focused on restoring degraded land.

For now, we have methodologies that measure forests that are more than 20 years old.

We will look into developing methodologies for younger forests and providing financing for making unused land more environmentally stable.

Why did you go beyond carbon offsetting? Why not use the system that’s already there? 

Carbon offsetting and storage is a tiny fraction of what nature does. Even if we’d describe the forests of the entire planet in terms of carbon offsetting, we’d neglect a large part of what nature is doing.

Carbon offsetting projects sometimes cut down old forests to plant new ones because young trees sequester more carbon. That is an awful thing to do. Carbon offsetting also completely neglects biodiversity, which is a huge factor in nature conservation.

We want to create something that will make it more  sensible to keep the forest alive than cut it down.

Nature does so much more than offset carbon. We believe that nature doesn't have to be described as a carbon storing machine. We can't just optimize nature to suck carbon out of the atmosphere. We have to define nature's role and how much it can actually take — how much greenhouse gas it can absorb and how much raw material extraction it can sustain.

Looking at the market, we see everyone trying to add additional carbon credits, but nobody has actually defined the market itself. So what we want to do is define the market, and then if we want to expand the economy, like by building something that emits more greenhouse gasses, we will in turn expand nature's sustainability. We need to utilize what we already have.

I read from the web page that you have a global digital twin. How does it work? 

We're using a historical timeline of the forests on Earth, along with measurements of carbon sequestration according to the biomass generated. We build upon that while also accounting for biodiversity.

Why do you ask for so much information in the onboarding process? 

We ask questions about the landowner's background to comply with financial regulations. In addition, we ask a couple of questions about what the landowner’s plans are for the land to gather more qualitative information.

For the general user, we are developing a simple and straightforward system for acquiring MERIT tokens. 

For landowners outside of the European economic area, if you have a large plot of land that you would like to submit to the Single.Earth platform, reach out to Single.Earth and we will gather all the legal documentation required to do business outside of the European economic area.

When can companies start joining Single.Earth?

Right now we're working on private company deals for early acquisition of MERIT tokens. Any company interested in working with Single.Earth, contact us! 

Where do you see Single.Earth in 5 years?

We're quite confident that in the next five years many businesses will offer MERIT tokens as a payment option. We’re already talking to a couple businesses and we expect to see MERIT token payment on a global scale. 

While we build the nature-backed economy, we're looking at protecting millions of hectares of all land types across the globe. And hopefully we will make our way to blue carbon, including oceans and marine land types.

We also hope that more businesses start to care for nature beyond the resources it provides and the carbon it sequesters.

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

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