Around the Block With Jefferson Nunn – Interview With Tom Herman, Tokenizer of Carbon

Around the Block With Jefferson Nunn – Interview With Tom Herman, Tokenizer of Carbon

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Podcast Transcript:

Jefferson Nunn  0:02   

Live from Global Headquarters. This is Around the Block with Jefferson Nunn. And I’m here today with a very special guest, Tom Herman tokenizer of Carmen, carbon, sorry, tokenizer carbon, sounds incredible. How do you how do you tokenize, the natural naturally occurring element? Tell me more about that?  

Tom Herman  0:27   

Sure. Well, not only is it a natural occurring element, carbon actually is sort of an intangible asset in some ways or an intangible commodity, because you can’t really touch it. What is one tonne of carbon? Well, if you’re flying from New York to Sydney, in economy class, you’re probably emitting about 1.2 tonnes of carbon as your carbon footprint for that flight. And what we’re doing is we actually tokenize the sequestration of carbon.

So, we work with forestry projects that are registered with some of the global carbon registries. And we turn the carbon that they sequester into trees and into other projects, we turn that into a token, we call it a carbon bridge, it collects a whole bunch of data about where that carbon was absorbed. In some cases, if you’re planting a seedling tree, we’ll even tag the tree and all of the data associated with it, some geospatial mapping data, and so forth, that shows the carbon biomass that’s been captured. And then you can trade that what’s called a carbon offset. And in our case, we actually embed those those tokenized carbon offsets into an NFT. So, we build NFT’s associated with endangered animals, and their habitats. And each NFT that we sell, has up to 85% of the proceeds go to planting trees and other ways to capture carbon. And they’re fun, they’re collectible. We’re gamifying them, and we do them with business partners.

So, if your business wants to engage their audience on the topic of climate change, or help their customers to offset some of the products and services that they offer, we allow them to or we help them to create community, NFTs, usually around animals that they can give to their customers who offset carbon, and the carbon is actually embedded in it. And it allows them to the more they offset the more game and winning opportunities that they get. So it’s, you know, giving incentives and gamification to corporate brands and, and influencers and so forth. 

Jefferson Nunn  2:43   

Sounds amazing. I mean, I think, you know, we need a lot more projects like this, I know, there’s another project that’s working on tokenizing, you know, any kind of an output that normally creates carbon to offset it to create carbon offsets. So conceivably, that token could login with your token right to, you know, you can literally take those tokens and buy something to save the apes, right. 

Tom Herman  3:14   

Yeah, that’s true apes, where we’re working with turtles, polar bears, we got a whole bunch of different animals and a whole bunch of different partners, that that save habitat for those animals. 

Jefferson Nunn  3:43   

So, but yeah, there’s a lot of projects that are up and coming. I know, in development, I saw one on gitcoin. They were trying to do a similar type of carbon capture type of thing. So, I think this whole industry with NFT’s and some of the second generation at three type projects, I think it’s just now really growing. What do you think the future of all this will be? What do you think is next? 

Tom Herman  4:12   

Well, I think there’s two things to consider. First, NFT’s are really well suited to community building. You know, there’s been a lot of talk about what’s the utility for NFT’s. So, we believe a lot in that because we find that communities are building around different animals, people tend to have an affinity for a certain animal or creature. I know each of my kids does, some of them are a unicorn, which doesn’t exist, but my son likes monkeys. And my daughter likes rabbits and it’s very common for us to find people that have a favorite animal we teach our kids from early on.

So, it’s a great way to build community and affinity groups around the cause of protecting habitat for those animals. That’s one thing on the NFT side, on the carbon side, the carbon Markets are growing the voluntary carbon markets are growing very quickly. It’s a top priority for most governments. It’s a top priority for most millennials and Gen Z, and everyone needs to be involved. It happens that blockchain is really well suited to bring transparency to different marketplaces. And in the case of carbon, there’s been lots of questions about the veracity of carbon offsets. And blockchain allows for a lot of data and visibility to be transparently exposed to give people a level of comfort that what they’re investing in, is actually resulting in tangible economic and environmental impact. So, I think we’re gonna see NFT’s and blockchain used more and more to help people feel comfortable that they’re doing something legitimate to help address climate change. 

Jefferson Nunn  5:52   

Cool, very cool. Backtracking a little bit, even as far back as you know, 2009 when Bitcoin got started, how did you get your start in cryptocurrency? 

Tom Herman  6:05   

Well, around 2011, I tried to purchase some bitcoin, and failed, which is kind of lucky because I was trying to do it through Mt. Gox. So even if I had succeeded in investing my $100 in Bitcoin, which, by the way, I was only doing because I was between jobs and curious and just wanted to see if I could do it. That that was my first introduction. And I’m surprised to watch the price of Bitcoin go up quickly. But I had a job at that point. So, I didn’t really look at it again until 2018. When I started building NFT’s to transfer real estate deeds in the state of New York. I was doing it in conjunction with the law firm and real estate agency. So, I started building NFT’s for real estate deed transfers, then moved to Singapore, where I started building the world’s first blockchain based carbon trading exchange with a company called Air carbon. So spent a couple years working on that learning more about the intersection of carbon and climate change. And now I’m doing NFT’s to help build brand and engage consumers but still on the topic of climate change. 

Jefferson Nunn  7:19   

Very, very cool. So, what do you think is the most exciting aspect of blockchain technology thunderclouds Metaverse thing that’s up and coming? That a couple other projects even beyond that, but what do you think it’s gonna be like the next exciting thing for this year? 

Tom Herman  7:37   

Well, I think the intersection between IoT and blockchain is really exciting. There’s a lot of data that can be gathered through IoT devices in many different parts of industry. And I think that that that’s very well suited in some cases to transparent public immutable data aggregation. In the case of the climate industry, you know, we look at things like solar panels and wind farms starting to create digitally signed renewable energy credits right onto the blockchain. And I think that that is an example of how IoT devices that the tokens associated with renewable energy credits are actually created at the inverter as the kilowatt hours are produced by the solar panel and signed by that inverter.

So that IoT device, which is the inverter can dump data directly into blockchain. And then the entire public can have a sense for what’s happening with our energy production systems and know that the data is reliable. So that intersection between IoT and blockchain is super exciting. And it’s true for supply chains. It’s true for environmental commodities. It’s true for many different parts of manufacturing. And I think that’ll be exciting to see as it as it takes place over the next year. It’s already happening in some places. We see it in the music industry. But we’ll see it more in some other industries this year as well. 

Jefferson Nunn  9:04   

Yeah, that’s the thing. I think there’s been some incredible advancements along with web 3.0, which makes things literally unkillable. I mean, I love that domain name unstoppable domains. You know, they’re really going at it to try to get more web 3.0 signups. And so, I think we’re going to see that kind of interesting intersection more than the metaverse, you know, just this data gathering data capturing, which goes back to how can we figure out how to fix the problem if we don’t even know what the scale of the problem is. And here we can, I think, get the true scale of the problem. 

Tom Herman  9:45   

It’s also interesting to look at some of the digital twin stuff that’s happening. You know, the metaverse is in many cases based on the real world to some degree. And as we get more IoT devices out there we can have more real-world data to be reflected into the metaverse and make the metaverse more realistic, whether it’s things like the weather, can you look outside today and see that it’s bright and sunny and 85 degrees? And then you go into the metaverse and see that it’s the same. Those kinds of things, I think are interesting that the convergence of the real and the virtual. 

Jefferson Nunn  10:24   

Right, right. I mean, I know there’s gonna be some parts of the world like tennis that’s gonna have to scuba dive very soon to visit. And that’s the thing I mean, I, there’s some places of the world like Antarctica that most people don’t get to visit, right. And I think that’d be very interesting application at a metaverse. It’s actually where we could have a real-world model of Antarctica that we can visit inside the metaverse, I think that would be very compelling and interesting, along with adding some IoT devices, they’re capturing the data so that we can we know that this is real. So, outside of that, for the jobs of today, as it were, I mean, I know there’s the great resignation, and all that and people are actually looking for things to do that are more meaningful. What do you think are some of the more meaningful jobs that people could be doing?  

Tom Herman  11:16   

Oh, well, I mean, we love what we’re doing, because we feel like we’re able to have a real impact on this existential issue, which is climate change. I think that industry in general, is going to grow dramatically. I think the world’s governments are all putting in places, carbon taxes and different kinds of incentives to get companies and individuals to change behavior around climate change, and making all kinds of commitments around net zero carbon emissions. So that’s an area that’s going to continue to grow. We, you know, it could easily be environmental assets could easily be a trillion-dollar industry. Before the end of the decade, I think, you know, from a compliance perspective, the carbon offset space is already approaching $250 billion a year.

So, you know, to think that by the end of the decade, it could be at a trillion dollars is is easy to imagine. And when you combine the growth of NFT’s the change in the financial industry towards blockchain, along with this huge issue of all of humanity, getting behind addressing climate change, there’s some big opportunities and a lot of jobs. We’ll see what happens with the various legislation that the US government has passed and is trying to pass in terms of what it invests in, but I think we’re gonna see a lot of growth opportunities. The problem is, these are relatively technical skills, you know, the great resignation, if you’re resigning from a low skilled job, you got to get the skills to move into a job that’s more satisfying. It’s simple things like the kinds of people that I’m looking to hire, have research skills, they have typing skills, they have writing skills, they have coding skills. A lot of people have social media skills as well. But you know, I, it’s about new skill sets, the great resignation will only have been worth it for the designers if they can find something better. 

Jefferson Nunn  13:21   

Yeah, that’s very, very true. And the one thing that I know, all those skills can be earned free. You know, they’re free coding classes for blockchain, or any kind of coding, you’re looking to do typing research. All of those skills can be obtained with free online courses. And I think that’s one of the amazing things that we can see today is where it used to be you had to invest a lot of time and money to do something new. Now, you only really need to invest your time, because the money’s there.  

Tom Herman  14:02   

That’s easier said than done. I mean, in order to get some of these skills, you got to have the basics in place already, right, you got to be able to write pretty well, you’ve got to be computer literate. You’ve got to have the time and internet access to go and do these courses. And it’s a lot of time and work. I think, as a society, you know, when we look at ourselves competing with Europe and China and Russia and South America and Africa or any of these different places around the world, it’s really about who can educate the next generation well enough so that they can learn these things on their own so that they can break new ground so that they can take online courses but you got to be able to read and write you got to be able to do some basic math, you got to have computer literacy, that the future will be owned by the by the society that educates its children. 

Jefferson Nunn 14:51 

I met you there and I’m talking with actually a few other people. Sandra for example, she it now it started But growing rapidly, she’s got a program to onboard people that are in rural areas. Think, you know, middle of nowhere, you know, they’re one theater town. There’s not even a Costco there. Right? 

Tom Herman  15:15 

Not even a Costco. Costco town.  

Jefferson Nunn  15:18   

Right? And but it’s a high school kid, I mean, great age student, high school graduate. But now that you know that now look, routine work, where do they go to do that next, whatever big thing. And so I think, on ramping some of these kids, I think that’s the part that’s spoken is the on ramp process, where even I remember vividly somebody, a teacher in Africa drawing on a chalkboard, you know, the Microsoft Excel screen, and I’m like, just this man, and I’ve had, I mean, we were throwing them away here, just ship them one. You know, so you can teach the kids how to use Excel, you know, and it’s that kind of thing, how do we on ramp them from? Okay, here’s an iPad two, and they can read and write, to doing what next for this world? So, and then the next is, you mentioned that the trillion-dollar industry before the end of the decade, that means the money is there. It’s not that the money is not there. And I think that’s the most fascinating part of crypto. Is it NZ? Oh, there’s no money in it, you know, idea. Now you can visibly see there’s my DNA, right? So, um, besides, you know, saving feces that are about to go extinct? You know, perhaps planting a few trees. What do you think could be next for like the carbon offset industry? I mean, if you’re the innovator, what would be that next big thing do you think? 

Tom Herman  16:54   

In the carbon offsetting space, I think I think creating more realistic digital representations of the different parts of the carbon supply chain is really critical. I think that that’s important from the perspective of the real world. But I also think it gives people in the virtual world more of a view as to what’s happening. How is our planet changing? Where the temperatures changing? What’s the projected out, you know, outcome for where you live? And then connecting people to people around the world? Where are our greatest opportunities to reduce carbon emissions? Is it by flying less? Is it by eating less meat? Or is it by helping someone in an area to plant a tree? You know, I’m working on a mangrove restoration project in Cartagena, Colombia right now. And mangroves sequester tons of carbon, they help protect the city from flooding. And they increase biodiversity, they’re, they’re really an important healthy part of the urban ecosystem in Colombia. And so, you could look at yourself and say, well, I got a bunch of different ways that I can make a difference the atmosphere, I want to try and eat less meat, I want to, you know, turn down the temperature in my house, I’m not going to drive when I don’t need to. And all of those things, maybe they reduce your carbon footprint by, you know, one ton a year. But you could do more by also helping somebody else in a part of the world that needs that help. And they can sequester carbon, and you get multiple benefits.

So, I think the people that figure out how to share with consumers in the United States how to reduce their carbon footprint and help other people in other parts of the world go more and more carbon negative, you can have great social impact, you can improve people’s life, job education, health, while at the same time reducing your own personal carbon footprint. And we need to do both, we need to aggressively pursue both we need to figure out ways to reduce our, our carbon footprint and also invest in parts of the world that are suffering as a result of climate change, while further reducing our carbon footprints. It’s in all of the above. And the the organizations who figure out how to aggregate lots of consumers in the United States in Europe and other parts of the world. And, and get them to understand how important it is and engage in this process have huge, huge opportunity. Gen Z and all and the younger generations need a place to live and they know that climate change is real. They’re huge demographics of young people and they want to make a difference.

So, it’s an it’s a really important consumer opportunity. And most major brands are looking for ways to engage Gen Z and Millennials it’s a sought-after demographic So you got to go where, where that demographic that you want to connect with is and that demographic is thinking about crypto. It’s in the metaverse, and it cares about climate change. And so, we represent an opportunity to help corporations engage that really important demographic. 

Jefferson Nunn  20:19   

Awesome Awesome. And I think he covered a lot of important topics. between health care and climate change, I think those are the two biggest concerns that people have. And I’ve ever seen a model of the planet. By 2100, we stopped on that website, we can have the link below the Show page. And it is scary. I mean, literally whole parts of the world uninhabitable because of climate change, whether it be severe storms or temperature or worse, no water. And here’s the thing. I think people don’t realize, the more carbon negative we go, actually, the more freshwater we are have. There’s a correlation. There’s an absolute correlation. And so you mentioned mangrove, for example, mangroves also helped to filter the crap out of the water. So yeah, really good stuff. Well, any do you have any final thoughts to share with our listeners on you know, how they can participate in this project and what’s next?  

Tom Herman  21:30   

Well, to participate I’d say go to Join the community by a carbon creature NFT you can do it with a credit card, or you can do it with crypto. Either way Join our discord, join the community, reduce your own carbon footprint, eat less meat, try and drive a more efficient car and and help us address climate change. We be eager to help engage your audience and we’re eager to help anyone that wants to reduce their carbon footprint or and or offset it.  

Jefferson Nunn  22:04   

Awesome stuff. I really appreciate really appreciate you coming on the show and and thanks so much. And I hope to check in with you in about six months or a year to see how things go. 

Tom Herman  22:15   

Thanks, everyone.  

Jefferson Nunn  22:16   


Jefferson Nunn

Since 1999, Jefferson Nunn has been a consultant to high net worth individuals. Always an innovator, his ideas have generated millions for his clients including Ronco and GoWireless. He has been involved in the CryptoCurrency industry since mining his first Bitcoin in 2010. Since then, he has met with many of the early pioneers in the CryptoCurrency space including the founders of Ethereum and the founders of Crypto Capital in Panama, and more.