Merit Valdsalu is the CEO and Co-founder of Single.Earth, a platform that trades natural resources as tokenised virtual goods. Before founding Single.Earth, Merit worked in localisation at Pipedrive, one of Estonia’s tech unicorns. Learn more about Merit by watching her TEDx talk at the bottom of the page.

What is the Challenge?

Forests are the foundation of life - but it’s under threat from deforestation and forest degradation. Millions of hectares of forest are lost permanently each year because they are more valuable cut down than standing. If nothing is done up to 420 million acres of forest could be lost between 2010 and 2030. Additionally, the ownership of land is not clear-cut. In many of the world's largest rainforests, there are various 'landowners' for the same piece of land, and proof of land ownership is extremely difficult.

What is the Solution?

Single.Earth proposes to give forest owners an alternative value to their forests by paying them to not clear their land. The company proposes to make nature a tradable commodity in its own right. Right now, it is easy to earn carbon credits for planting a tree in a new place, but not for keeping one. Under Single.Earth’s plan, investors who buy in to preserve a piece of natural land would receive nature-backed credits in the form of a virtual currency called MERIT Token. Natural areas like forests and wetlands will be able to be profitable for more than the resources to be extracted from them or what could be built on them.

To tokenize the world’s nature, Single.Earth is on a journey to create a full digital twin of earth’s nature that maps and values every forest and wetland on the planet. Read more about how you can support their journey on their website.