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Blockchain Fan IBM Helps Issue a Digital Coin for First Time

Camila Russo
Pedestrians walk past an International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) logo that is displayed in front of the company's offices in New York, U.S., on Monday, Oct. 14, 2013. Photographer: Craig Warga

International Business Machines Corp., which has developed several blockchain-based projects, is now getting into the digital token game.

IBM is partnering with blockchain company Veridium Labs Ltd. to transform carbon credits into digital coins that can be traded on a decentralized exchange. The tokens will be issued and managed on the Stellar network.

The purpose of the project is “to make it easier and cheaper for companies and individuals to account for their footprint and neutralize the impact they have on the environment,” Jared Klee, who manages blockchain projects at Armonk, New York-based IBM, said in an interview last week. About $4.8 billion was spent in the past 10 years on carbon credits in the private market, according to Klee.

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IBM’s Industry Platforms and Blockchain senior vice president Bridget van Kralingen announced the project Tuesday at CoinDesk’s Consensus conference.

The token will be backed by credits that Veridium’s sister company InfiniteEARTH receives for its development and management of the Rimba Raya rain-forest in Borneo, and can be bought by companies that want to offset their carbon emissions. The token also facilitates the process through which companies can quantify their environmental impact.

The carbon credits InfiniteEARTH receives are known as REDD, which were created to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries. Klee said the goal is to include more types of carbon credits in the future.

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This is the latest move IBM has announced in blockchain. Other initiatives include work to track food items with retailers including Walmart Inc. and a project to follow cargo movements with shipping company A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S.

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