New Cambridge-built decentralized carbon credit marketplace will support reforestation efforts worldwide

FinanceFeeds Editorial Team

A new Cambridge centre will bring together computer scientists and conservation scientists to build a decentralized marketplace for carbon credits and support global reforestation efforts.  

  • World leaders at COP26 have agreed to end deforestation by 2030, but there are deep challenges remaining about how to fund and verify progress towards this goal.
  • The Cambridge Centre for Carbon Credits (4C), built on the energy-efficient Tezos blockchain, will use a combination of AI and satellite sensing to build a decentralised marketplace of verifiable carbon credits.
  • The initiative seeks to tackle challenges around the purchase of carbon credits to advance nature-based solutions (NbS) to preserve biodiversity.

The Cambridge Centre for Carbon Credits (4C) – based in the Department of Computer Science and Technology, and the Conservation Research Institute – has two primary goals: to support students and researchers in the relevant areas of computer science, environmental science, and economics; and to create a decentralised marketplace where purchasers of carbon credits can confidently and directly fund trusted nature-based projects.

The Centre will build its decentralised marketplace on the energy-efficient Tezos blockchain because it operates sustainably, in line with the Centre’s vision to support a sustainable future through technology. The goal of the marketplace is to exponentially increase the number of real nature-based conservation and restoration projects by channelling funding towards them via market-based instruments.

Nature-based solutions, particularly forests, have a vital role to play in mitigating the worst effects of climate change. Pressure is mounting from governments and the public to rapidly roll out a global programme of well-executed nature-based solutions (NbS) to sequester several gigatons of carbon each year and protect biodiversity. However, current NbS projects are hampered by chronic underfunding.

“Current accreditation systems that measure and report the value of carbon and related benefits like biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction rendered by NbS are costly, slow and inaccurate,” said Centre Director Dr Anil Madhavapeddy. “These systems have undermined trust in NbS carbon credits. What is needed is a decentralised marketplace where purchasers of carbon credits can confidently and directly fund trusted nature-based projects. And that’s the gap the Centre is aiming to fill.” 

The Centre will support 12 PhD students and postdoctoral fellows, and investment to prototype a scalable trusted NbS marketplace. Researchers funded from the Centre will come from the Departments of Computer Science and Technology, Zoology, and Plant Sciences, as well as from the Centre for Doctoral Training in Artificial Intelligence for the study of Environment Risk.

Professor David Coomes, Director of the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute, said: “Conservation strategies are increasingly broadening to include large datasets, remote sensing technologies and computational approaches. The Centre for Carbon Credits is a ground-breaking initiative that will bring together computer scientists and conservation scientists in a new way.”

Andrew Balmford, Professor of Zoology, said: “The recent announcement at COP26 of the new commitment to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030 demonstrates the crucial role forests play in carbon capture and the health of our planet. The new Centre has a significant role to play in supporting crucial research to develop new, trusted mechanisms to support reforestation projects.”

Speaking on the collaborative nature of the Centre, Professor Ann Copestake, Head of the Department of Computer Science and Technology, said: “In the last few years, we’ve been expanding our emphasis on the use of computer science techniques and technologies to help address the climate emergency and the crisis in biodiversity. We are delighted to be bringing our research strengths together with the expertise in environmental science across the University of Cambridge. We hope the work resulting from this interdisciplinary collaboration will lay the foundation for tangible solutions to some of the environmental challenges facing the world.”

Learn more about the Centre for Carbon Credits (4C) at

Read this next

Digital Assets

Silvergate dismisses speculation of trouble, says BlockFi exposure is minimal

Crypto-friendly bank Silvergate Capital claimed on a Tuesday blog post that it had minimal exposure to crypto lender BlockFi, which filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week.

Retail FX

Fidelity launches crypto trading for retail investors

Fidelity Investments, one of the largest brokerages in the world, has officially rolled out a commission-free crypto trading product for retail investors, starting with zero-fee trading for Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Digital Assets

ECB head calls for tougher crypto regulation after FTX collapse

President of the European Central Bank, Christine Lagarde, has called on lawmakers to start working on fresh crypto regulations to protect the financial system after the collapse of the FTX exchange.

Retail FX

CySEC updates rules for regulated brokers’ cross border activity

As CySEC’s attitude of adopting more stringent licensing guidelines and operating regulations becomes ever clearer, certain aspects of the rules and operations start to come into sharper focus.

Market News

Outlook for Gold: Can the Precious Metal Regain Power?

Gold set an all-time high at $2070 on March 08, 2022, when the price skyrocketed amid investors’ worries about the military conflict in Eastern Europe.

Crypto Insider

2022 Islamic Finance recap: as the space continues to evolve, blockchain stands to play a big part

Despite the global economy being ravaged by turmoil induced by the Covid-19 pandemic over the last couple of years, the Islamic finance industry has emerged relatively unscathed

Crypto Insider

Decentralized Exchanges and Pooled Trading Platform Applications

Decentralized exchanges are one-way blockchain companies take back the power of value creation.

Crypto Insider

How to maximize the safety of your digital tokens?

Digitalization is the future of the investment world. These are the most preferred and growing investments in the world.

Institutional FX, Interviews

FIA EXPO 2022: Interview with Trading Technologies

The derivatives trading industry has gathered in Chicago to attend the FIA EXPO 2022 on 14-15 November.