2018 has been an incredible year for us at Nori! When we planted our stake in the ground and began our mission to reverse climate change we knew we weren’t doing it alone. We’ve had the good fortune of working with so many fantastically helpful people who care about the mission of reversing climate change. Most importantly from that, we’ve learned a lot about the market that we’re building, the customers who we’re trying to serve on both sides of the market, and how to adapt our work to make us more successful in the long run. Here are some of the highlights of what we’ve accomplished this year:
The Nori team grew by three, as we hired three people to work on product development: Michael Leggett (Director of Product), Jacob Farny (Principal Product Designer), and Richie Farman (Software Engineer). We recorded a podcast episode with Michael and Jacob back in October to discuss the designer’s role in building a carbon removal marketplace.
We hosted Reversapalooza, a conference about reversing climate change, in Seattle in April. We brought together over 100 people including academic researchers into various methods of carbon removal, corporate sustainability officers, farmers and ranchers, investors, and climate change advocates to present our design for the Nori marketplace. It was a two-day affair, and you can see recorded video of the conference here, and visual annotations of the talks here.
The Nori White Paper was shared semi-publicly for the first time to attendees of Reversapalooza, and a public version was published over the summer. This is a comprehensive document that details Nori’s mission to reverse climate change, why carbon removal is critically important to the future of human civilization, how carbon markets have been attempted in the past, how Nori solves the problems that exist in legacy carbon markets, why we need blockchain to provide transparency, how to measure carbon removal, how Nori is facilitating carbon removal methodologies, the economics of our token design, how the Carbon Removal Certificates will be sold, how we are constructing our market, and how we are going to market.
- Nori’s market platform is being built on the Ethereum blockchain, and we have completed and shared the source code of the blockchain smart contracts. We even wrote about why we chose to build on Ethereum instead of any other blockchain.
- We published an open source framework that enables atomic swaps of non-fungible and fungible tokens. Jaycen wrote more about that on the Hackernoon blog.
- We have also incorporated the COMET-Farm API that enables the Nori market to query COMET-Farm’s model with farm data. This is a crucial piece of the verification methodology, and is enabling our pilot projects with farmers. Right now our product team are working on the user interface for what it looks like when farmers and people working with them upload data about their growing practices to Nori. We’ve shared videos in the past of what this software has been looking like, and we’ll continue to do so through our newsletter here.
Generating carbon removal
- The greatest value Nori can provide to the market is an easy-to-read methodology for measuring and verifying carbon removal. This work underpins literally everything we do at Nori, and we’ve made incredible progress. If you’ve been following along with us in 2018, you’ll know that our first methodology is supporting soil sequestration in croplands in the US. It’s difficult to draw a line where the methodology ends and the software begins, so you can think about progress in developing the software as one in the same with progress on the methodology.
- We recently announced a collaboration with Granular, a software management planning tool for farmers. Integrating Granular into the Nori market means it will be relatively easy for Granular farmers who are sequestering carbon to submit their claims of carbon removal to Nori.
- Speaking of Granular, we currently have several pilot projects underway with farmers, including a couple of growers we met through Granular. What we’re doing with them is collecting all sorts of cropping data (what they planted, when they planted, in which fields they planted, how much fertilizer was used, when it was watered, when it was harvested, etc.) and then running that through the COMET-Farm API.
- We’ve begun building out the verification standards by which the independent verifiers will confirm that the data the growers provide to Nori about their farms is accurate. This might include activities like confirming the participant in the market holds title to the land, or seeing receipts for fertilizer and seeds purchased. We’ll have much more content about this in the coming months as we solidify the standards.
- Another important piece to establishing credibility in the methodology is to get buy-in and participation from the scientific community. Our solution for this is to build a peer review committee who will provide input and guidance on the standards being set for measurement and verification. We’re already working with some of the top soil scientists in the world as well several very distinguished universities who are interested in participating. We’ll be announcing more about this in 2019 as well.
- We’ve written about why Nori needs it’s own cryptocurrency token, and we’ve also written about how we are able to comply with American laws while also selling securities to investors and customers.
- Our Republic campaign (which was open to anyone over 18) tripled its fundraising target! This campaign ended on December 31st with a total of 373 investors and just a hair under $150,000 raised.
- We’ve also been successful in our Regulation D sale so far for customers and accredited investors. Our first customer, Kyero, very kindly wrote about why they decided to invest in the sale. If you are interested in participating, please fill out this form, and I’ll follow up with you over email.
- In October, some of the Nori team went to Washington DC for various meetings, including a meeting with the SEC to discuss our methods of compliance. We’re continuing to talk with regulators from the SEC and CFTC because we very much want to help set good precedents in this space for how blockchain companies can both solve large problems with novel digital assets and comply with existing regulations at the same time.
Nori in the press
- Back in June, I filmed an episode of the TV show Meet The Drapers, where I pitched Nori and carbon removal to venture capitalist Tim Draper and his family who are also VCs. During the voting segment at the end, all the Drapers gave Nori a thumbs-up!
- Our carbon removal market gained coverage in several national news outlets, including articles in Fast Company, GeekWire, Greenbiz, Triple Pundit, and even a feature on NPR Morning Edition—which I’m told is the most listened-to broadcast of any kind.
- We’ve also been producing heaps of our own content as well! Our podcast, Reversing Climate Change, has over 50 episodes published now, with new content every week. You can subscribe in Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to podcasts. The podcast has been really useful for us in establishing relationships with people working across different parts of the reversing climate change ecosystem, serving as a way in for people and businesses to find us, and simplifying some of the more nuanced areas of reversing climate change. We’re seeing more than one thousand downloads of the podcast every week, and it could be more if you share it with your friends and colleagues!
- The Nori team are also prolific writers, and we’ve been publishing quite regularly on our blog. There’s lots of good content in there to show how we’ve been going about building our market. Recent articles worth checking out include How Nori compares to traditional carbon markets and Why a carbon removal market belongs on the blockchain.
- And if you’d prefer yet another format for sharing, we’ve hosted several webinars throughout the year. These are a great way for us to have a more open conversation with large audiences who will be participating in the marketplace. We don’t do these as often as the podcast and blog writing, so pay attention to this newsletter for future webinar announcements.
- We’re based in Seattle, but it’s really important that we go out and meet our customers and participants where they are. Nearly the entire Nori team has at various times attended different conferences on regenerative agriculture, blockchain, corporate social responsibility, and more. Most recently, Christophe and Alexsandra went to the Companies Vs Climate Change conference in Miami. And coming up in January, Ross and Christophe will be at several no-till agriculture conferences in the midwest.
- As we’ve traveled around the country and world pitching Nori, we’ve hosted several meetups in San Francisco, New York City, Washington DC, and right here at home in Seattle. This is something I’d really like to do more of, so if you think we should come to your area, please let us know.
2019 is the year when we believe things will really take off for Nori. We’re expecting to be able to launch our market for real operations. That means we will need to bring in more customers, more farmers, and more independent verifiers. To support getting all this going, we expect we’ll need to hire for quite a few positions, including: software engineering and design, agronomists and soil scientists, and growing our business development team.
We also hope that 2019 is the year in which we really get our meta-process for developing new carbon removal methodologies working. The first methodology of cropland soil sequestration has been challenging, and we’ve learned so much that will help in developing future methodologies. These might include agroforestry, kelp, construction materials, and more.
Thank you so much for participating in this community we’ve been building over the last year and a half. It means the world to us that there are so many people out there who want to see solutions to climate change that can actually benefit everyone. Please continue to share our newsletter (or subscribe if you haven’t already!), podcasts (and also rate and review it on iTunes!), and blogs with people you know. And please do reach out to us if you have something specific to contribute to this networked ecosystem.
Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and happy New Year!