or listen here:
RCAST 105 – [CLIMATE & COORDINATION] SEP 18 2020
Fri, 9/18 6:39PM • 1:00:18
Greg Meredith, Steve Ross Talbot, Ian Bloom, Nora Germain, Dr. Pedro Baiz, Darryl Neudorf
Darryl Neudorf 00:13
Welcome to the climate and coordination RCast, where every week we’ll be discussing topics related to all things climate change, and RChain’s role in the solution. We will be discussing technologies that can adapt and coordinate massive amounts of data like never before, forming social architectures that grow collective intelligence, sharing and evaluating data planetarily, all while maintaining personal privacy and personal data ownership. A new decentralized economy is forming as we move from the third Industrial revolution: digitization, to the fourth: decarbonisation. By building a co op, built on a correct by construction, concurrent, scalable solution, RChain is structured to build out the new technology that will be required for a flourishing regenerative planet. Please join us on this journey.
Nora Germain 01:14
Okay, great. Well welcome everybody to this week’s instalment of the climate and coordination RCast. We are really excited to have a special guest with us today. And Darryl, I’m going to let you start this one off. I’m so excited to have Pedro with us. So please just introduce him and I’m so excited to see what we talk about today.
Darryl Neudorf 01:40
Okay, so I guess a few weeks ago, I approached the Blockchain and Climate Institute, and I heard back from Dr. Pedro Baiz, and so we had a chat for about an hour or so and just kind of got to know what each others’ organizations we’re all about and so I asked him to come and join us on this call. So yeah, Welcome. Welcome. Dr. Pedro Baez.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 02:12
Thank you very much for the intro and invitation, Darryl. Well, yeah, it’s a pleasure to be here was a very interesting conversation that we had few weeks ago. You know, very, very good to hear about what you guys are doing. And yeah, always, you know, happy to talk about technology and sustainability. I think that there is a lot of synergies between those two and, and well, now that we’re actually trying to come back recovery after the pandemic. Definitely. It’s a technology as a huge play a huge role to play, I believe.
Darryl Neudorf 02:51
Yeah, I think you’re speaking to the converted here as well. Yeah.
Steve Ross Talbot 02:58
I’m intrigued, Pedro. Steve Ross Talbot here. I’m intrigued, because I guess you’re in London.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 03:05
Yes, yes. I mean, I’m in London. Been here and I’m,
Steve Ross Talbot 03:09
I’m 50 miles south of you just north of Brighton. Oh, that the coincidences don’t end there. So I noticed that you’re at Imperial. And I do most of my academic collaboration with Professor Nobuko Yoshida in the computing department at Imperial. And underlying, underlying RChain. Now, Greg’s on the call is a formal mathematics about how communication happens, and about how things collaborate, so that they don’t, they don’t have unintended consequences, shall we say?
Steve Ross Talbot 03:50
And that mathematics goes way back in time, academically, you know, to the days of Alan Turing and Alonzo Church. And Von Neumann and then ends up going through radical change. Well not radical change going through evolutionary change, I think we would probably say, to encompass how single processes work and how we might look at them mathematically so that we can ask questions of them. And then sort of around the late 80s, early 90s are a couple of professors in computer science, Tony Hoare being one of them.
Steve Ross Talbot 04:30
And Robin Milner, Professor Robin Milner being the other who were looking at how do we describe multiple processes somehow collaborating bit like a blockchain? Right? But in a generic way, how do we truly understand their behavior and what’s good behavior and what’s bad behavior and therefore, how do we prevent bad behavior? And so around that time, that CSP was invented by Tony Hoare, and then following that, shortly after, for which he got a Turing award, Robin Milner does pi calculus, and then gets a Turing Award not just for pi calculus, but for three separate things that he did in computer science, probably the greatest of the Turing Award recipients thus far.
Steve Ross Talbot 05:18
So he comes up with PI calculus, and suddenly a little group in Imperial forms to look at what’s called process algebra. And one of those, this is a great segue, Greg, I’m really building you up. One of those that was working at Imperial at that time was none other than Greg Meredith, the founder of, of RChain. So you’ve got three people, including yourself on this call, all who have an intimate connection with Imperial College London.
Nora Germain 05:55
Nice one Steve
Dr. Pedro Baiz 05:56
Dr. Pedro Baiz 05:59
It’s a very small world.
Steve Ross Talbot 06:03
Dr. Pedro Baiz 06:05
Hello, Greg. Yeah.
Greg Meredith 06:06
Hello. Hello. It’s nice to meet you. So I, I think we, you and Darryl may have shared a little bit about your organization but but I think the wider arching community may not know so much. So, would you mind giving a little bit more detailed introduction to your organization, what your focus is, what your current activities are, what projects you’re engaged in, and who are the, you know, sort of major players that are involved in in your organization and your partners.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 06:46
And, yeah, totally makes sense. So a bit of background about the Blockchain and Climate Institute. So it is a not for profit think tank, which is well as many things in the area of blockchain, relatively new. It emerged out of conversations from COP. COP for those that are not familiar COP stands for the Conference of the Parties. It was where the Paris Agreement was signed, you know, in 2015, for example, the COP took place in Paris.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 07:24
And that’s where the name of the Paris Agreement comes about. And yeah, those those conferences which actually I joined the last one in Madrid in December, and this year, we should have had the next one here in the UK. And there is a gathering of thousands and thousands of people from obviously the politicians that sometimes take the headlines, particularly when you know they don’t get along between them, and conversations fail like last December, but also there are many other organizations whether it’s companies, not for profits, academics, etc, etc, that go there to talk and discuss how to address this big problem of climate change. And so through those conversations, it was about I believe, about two, three years ago that the idea of trying to create a group to in which was focused on DLT’s blockchains, distributed ledger’s to specifically support climate change came about.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 08:32
Two organizations emerged from that. One of them is the Climate Chain Coalition. CCC, which is more of a membership organization. So companies I don’t know, you know, that are interested in climate change can join that. It is a good network again, very well connected with people like the UN, and so on. And the other one that emerged is probably BCI: Blockchain Climate Institute and the idea is that it is not a membership organization because you know that’s CCC. Instead of focusing on organizations it focuses actually on individuals and on policy and on research. So, we’re trying to work with governments which obviously are the ones that sometimes hold the key you know, for, whether it’s by regulations or taxes and so on to support this transition towards a greener more sustainable future.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 09:35
And but you know, they don’t know most of these politicians do not know in detail what technology can do for them sometimes and specifically, a blockchain is one a very good example because most of them are still associated to cryptos. I said no, no, no, they’re these two things are….Distributed Ledger’s are a much broader thing, and cryptocurrencies are just one of the many, many applications.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 10:01
And in fact, we are not working, in fact, in BCI, in cryptos, at all, in fact. Not that we cannot consider that way, but we’re working in other areas where where there is, for example, emissions trading schemes, for example, which is a carbon trading monitoring carbon and, and trading carbon, from organizations to energy, for example, exchanges. For example, energy tokens to many other applications in for example, my area is finance, for example, for blockchain green bonds.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 10:37
So, these are the other areas where we’re interested in
Dr. Pedro Baiz 10:39
I am only heading one of the Research Division, the finance division, but we have two others. One of them is some legal aspects law. And the other one is general research where they go into detail into the real economy, whether it’s agriculture, energy transport, well, you name it, and there is a lot of engagement, you know, for advisory policy, which we have a specific division as well created this year only to engage politicians.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 11:14
So I hope that gives you kind of a broad introduction, we have grown substantially, you know, from two, three years ago, you know, only 5 – 10 people, I joined last year. Now we are reaching 100 volunteers. And yeah, and continue growing, I guess. And yes, a think tank we know believe a lot in openness, obviously, supporting sustainable solutions.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 11:39
And as actually I demonstrate with my different roles. It’s also collaborative organization. So I actually have a role at Imperial as was discussed before, which is also part time, and it’s all focused on growing the area of sustainable finance. Hopefully that is an introduction that makes sense, but you’re happy to answer more questions. And
Nora Germain 12:03
yeah, that was great.
Greg Meredith 12:05
Yeah, thank you very much. That was very useful. So, now that you’re a few years into the process, what do you think are some of the most important or most effective applications of blockchain to climate and coordination around climate change?
Dr. Pedro Baiz 12:26
Well, I have to say even though I am going deeper into some of these things that made me realize the field is so big, and it’s growing so fast, that it’s now for me how to keep track of everything. And well I can tell you probably some of the things have been involved. Yeah. So for example, emissions trading. You know, we have been discussing some ideas there as proper implementation already.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 12:56
In fact, there are some examples out there or supply chain tracking. It’s another very interesting area which is taking place across multiple domains where there is for example, tracking timber, you know, wood that comes from sustainable resources to many other aspects of of tracking supply chains. That I think is an area which is growing substantially and now there are so many startups in the domain in fact which have things already working. It’s hard to keep up I I cannot name them all I know, but I just was talking in fact last week with one of them that where they were tracking diamonds, for example.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 13:42
And obviously, they’re well already well positioned well funded because we’re tracking diamonds. The thing about diamonds is that diamonds is an industry where there are very few big players. And obviously, if you connect with them and then become an investor, you can literally track the rock from Africa to finally how it makes it into a ring for somebody. And obviously in that case, even the additional cost that blockchain adds into it is not as much as for example, compared with the price of the diamond. It’s not really much.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 14:21
And it’s really where I was seeing quite a lot of uptake. And in fact, on all the members of the blockchain, from the, the mines, to the actual juries, they were all engaged. The jurors actually were and the customers ultimately that buy these diamonds, they were really engaged as well, knowing that he came from sustainable places, you know, they didn’t have black diamonds and things like that. So I think that is one good example, which you know, people talk about, you know, there are all these possibilities that you can do with blockchain, but actually, that is happening right now. And it seems to be going very well.
Greg Meredith 14:57
So that’s an interesting one. I’m not sure I’m aware of how diamonds are related to climate change.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 15:05
Oh no no no, this is a general topic of sustainability. So I do cover all the aspects of sustainability. Good to mention include three areas or what we call in finance ESG.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 15:20
E is for environmental aspects,
Dr. Pedro Baiz 15:24
S is for social aspects and G’s for governance.
Nora Germain 15:28
Yeah, diamonds kind of falls into a human rights type of category.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 15:31
Yes, the S part. The S part is a big problem when it comes to diamonds. And again, this was a an example, I was trying to mention that it’s actually scaling and it seems to have big uptake. We can talk about obviously the same idea on supply chain, for example, for food.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 15:49
And again, sustainable agriculture, which touches hugely on climate change, because if we talk about actually agriculture, potentially accounts for you know, 25% of global emissions, when you could include everything. And, and obviously, the problem is to try to add a blockchain across all of this has been facing challenges across the board.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 16:14
And I know you have had that experience, but my experiencing some from those cases is that it’s sometimes the additional cost is not justified, it’s not uptake by everybody on the supply chain. And, and well, unfortunately, we end up where we are now that, you know, there are not that many cases that are that successful, if that makes sense.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 16:33
So it will be great to have also, again, food on our plate or agriculture that comes and applies the most sustainable practices. And again, one of the key things about agriculture, if we talk about, you know, the “E” aspect – environmental aspect is that agriculture and particularly soil carbon, potentially is one of the big contributors of emissions, you know, but it also could become one of the biggest solutions against climate change, because carbon can hold over five times the amount of carbon than the atmosphere.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 17:13
So when you actually start doing your math and looking in detail, if you really want to start removing carbon out of the atmosphere, you know, avoid all these catastrophic events that we’re having now with, for example, fires in California. Well, the biggest pool of carbon is soil. And the ones that work on the soil are the farmers. So that could represent for example, one of the biggest opportunities to help address climate change.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 17:40
And obviously DLT’s, distributed ledgers, could help on tracking you know, what actually is coming from good farmers and what is coming from farmers that are not doing their part and actually are making the problem worse, but unfortunately, yeah, it’s it’s hard. Farmers are not the same that the miners that I gave for example on the diamonds
Nora Germain 18:01
I’ve heard some I’ve heard of some projects that are trying to offset emissions from flying using carbon sequestration in the soil. I’ve also heard some blockchain projects that are interested in in tracking the coffee supply chain, which I think is a big one. And also I think another huge one is is seafood, the fish supply because people are very interested to know that their fish is actually what is it says on the sticker but it’s also not coming from a place where they’re not supposed to be fishing.
Nora Germain 18:41
So I think those are really big areas that I’ve read about we’ve we’ve had a guest on I can’t remember. I think the project was called Nori N.O.R.I. or we wanted to have him on but anyway Nori, there’s I need to remember exactly what happened with that, but they’re doing an interesting carbon sequestration sort of trade off with blockchain, which is pretty interesting.
Nora Germain 19:06
And I’m sure somebody else has another question for you, but I just wanted to just interject and compliment you on the website that you have, because I just really enjoy that there’s so many different articles there. So just for anybody who’s going to be listening to this, if you go to www.blockchainclimate.org, if you just scroll down, you can see a bunch of different really fascinating articles that people I imagine these are people who are part of the Institute, are writing , and I know there’s one from you, which is all about green bonds. A
Nora Germain 19:42
nd so I just wanted to compliment you because I think there’s a lot of really great resources there that anybody can check out. So anyway, I’m sure somebody else has another question for you. This is great.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 19:56
Oh, thanks, Nora. Yeah,
Nora Germain 19:58
Darryl Neudorf 19:59
Well, One thing that kind of triggered a little question.
Darryl Neudorf 20:03
Oh, sorry. Go ahead, Steve.
Steve Ross Talbot 20:04
Got it? Yeah, I’ve got a sort of technical sort of focus questions. So given the applications that you’ve seen Petro diamonds are not your there’s not a lot of diamonds. So the scale you need to deal with diamonds is relatively small. The minute that you go things like crops, partcularly cash crops, you’re talking about a blockchain that needs to scale a whole hell of a lot more than many. Have you seen that?
Dr. Pedro Baiz 20:37
Ya no, excellent question, Steve. I totally agree on on that point. And as you know, well, scalability is one of those aspects that the blockchains community is trying to address, you know, academics at uni, and so on. And, I guess that these goes back, you know, it’s an area which is growing, I mean in terms of scalability, for example, even thinking about actually the the architecture of the data, how actually it’s stored and even going for, for example, DAGs you know, Directed Acyclic Graph, something like Iota, instead of going, you know, for an actually, blockchain itself is one of the questions that it now has been explored across and, and, and yeah, I don’t know where things are going to go.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 21:30
You know, actually, it’s not the aspects I’m actually focusing on the research. But yeah, it’s, I think what we can try to do and the example of the diamonds is to demonstrate to those non believers, which unfortunately, it’s a huge community at the moment, especially because the information that they tend to gather when it comes to blockchain is about kryptos. Tell them that the these technology can be used for many other things. Here is how it’s working. And it’s delivering value to the, to the users. And the question is there Well, now that is there, how do we scale it? How do we actually put more money into it to make it and this is something that is happening actually across the, or has happened recently.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 22:17
In fact, in other sectors, particularly in the area of climate change, like when we talk about the area of solar farm solar panels, and now it’s happening with batteries, thanks to this push, and the demonstration that this technology works now with solar panels have reached a price parity. So there are now many areas in which now you can put and invest in solar panels and solar farms. And it’s actually as cheap as put into obviously, there are different things that we taxes alone, but it can reach you the same level in terms of return on investment than coal power plants, and that this has happened in the past few years recently and and why has this happened?
Dr. Pedro Baiz 23:03
Well, because everybody sees the directions everybody sees the demonstrations of the technologies and they say this is where we are going now. And these manage them through well a concerted effort obviously there is competition to push the technologies to deliver more and more and I believe blockchain will be there really soon In fact, I think even faster than what happened with solar panels you know, solar panels you see the history is a lot easier to get to the price where it is now in those first solar panels in the 60’s 70’s.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 23:36
And now where we are now I think with the blockchain we will be much faster there in terms of delivering things that work at scale and and you know, don’t cost a fortune in fact, you get all the benefits with a pretty much at the same cost then alternative technologies.
Steve Ross Talbot 23:53
One of the things that I found sort of looking at different blockchain projects is once you start having to deal with things that are concurrent by nature, things get a whole lot more tricky. In terms of programming developers tend to make mistakes, they make mistakes on a sequential program. So, you know, it’s a lot easier to make them in a distributed world. And so more advanced notions of type that prevent those things from happening is part of the solution.
Steve Ross Talbot 24:25
And I think it’s Greg, that first suggested to me that the reason we don’t see so many problems like this in blockchains or smart contracts now is because they haven’t scaled yet enough for that to become a regular occurrence. There are a few like the DAO bug that have happened and they’ve been catastrophic. And they would that would happen like regularly. If you didn’t have that, that more advanced notion of type so there’s two things I think that have to happen for distributed ledger technology within built trust mechanisms, two things that fundamentally have to happen. And one is, you know, making them scale.
Steve Ross Talbot 25:08
So getting away from proof of work, going to something else like proof of stake, which is something that we’ve done in RChain. And really good, as you mentioned about the data fundamental because that governs how much you can charge and how much you can’t. And if you know the causal nature of the communications, you can show it in really cool ways. Along with smart contract languages that do not get developers into a pickle, that they don’t have those unintended consequences. And for me, that’s kind of like the fundamental thrust that has to happen for blockchain to reach the next level.
Steve Ross Talbot 25:45
And it’s actually why I joined RChain because I think come to RChain. We’ve got ….. I’ve seen lots of others. I mean, there’s others. I won’t name names, particularly but there are others that using proof of stake and sharding. But when they get to scale, the problem that they will have is all of those unintended consequences because they’re using pretty traditional imperative sequential languages to drive the smart contracts. And once they start collaborating, they won’t know what will hit them. So they’re, they’re kind of, it’s kind of a shitstorm waiting to happen.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 26:23
Well, very good point. Steven. And, you know, I love to, well, I guess eventually, this is something that have happened in in databases anyway, now and we see with no SQL databases, and the CAP theorem, probably you you cannot really meet, you know, all all the three key points of the CAP theorem: consistency, availability and partitioning on the partitioning it’s now there because of, obviously the scale at which we’re working on the amount of data and so on.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 26:57
And, and yeah, I you know, those are very interesting questions which I have no clue how it will work in in DLT. I do have experience in non DLT domains, you know, in. And that’s why we have different types of no SQL databases where there is, for example, elastic or, or Cassandra, where they compromise in one of these aspects, you know, you either, you know, compromise in consistency or availability, and so on. And then, you know, you end up getting something to work, but yeah, I don’t know. Yeah, it’s a well, it shows that it’s, there are very interesting things coming along, in the next few years. And we’re still finding out many, many things.
Steve Ross Talbot 27:41
Yeah, I mean, part of it, I think is, you know, it’s impossible to solve the, the general case of CAP theorem. What’s important is to recognize how people use and want to use and access their data, what they want to do with it, because the patterns of use will probably yield patterns in solutions that get us to the level of scale that we need. And that’s been true forever in computer science.
Greg Meredith 28:11
Well, in particular, you know, blockchain makes a pretty hard commitment. It says eventually, consistency is the name of the game. Right. And that’s been that’s been the that’s been the, the mantra within the industry for several decades now. Right. I mean, that’s exactly what’s going on with Facebook. Right. That’s exactly what’s going on with Google. Just look at look at the notifications, you know, on your desktop and your mobile right, you can see the eventual consistency right in front of your eyes, right. So that’s, that’s
Steve Ross Talbot 28:44
and that’s that’s been at the backdrop of, of the most complex microservices architectures is eventual consistency. Right. And it’s funny because I came from a database background way back when you throw secret compilers, and consistency was the god, now we’re prepared to sacrifice it. But we’re prepared to sacrifice it because we now know in the internet world, the world of the web, that we never operate on the basis of consistency. We always operate on the basis of eventual consistency as human beings. So it kind of makes sense to reflect that back.
Greg Meredith 29:22
Indeed, so I’m, I’m very interested, one of the things we found in trying to communicate to the blockchain community in particular would they’re they’re often very skeptical about climate and blockchain, and, you know, they say, Well, how can blockchain possibly help? You know, even a smart contracting blockchain? How can that help? And I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that they’re really focused on speculation. They’re really focused on decentralized finance.
Nora Germain 29:53
Yeah, I wanted to mention that I’m so glad you’re bringing this up. So
Greg Meredith 29:57
so one of the one of the things that I’ve tried to talk about is that most of the climate issues are really coordination issues. Right? And I look I take a very large scale perspective and I say, look, primates, homosapien’s superpower is coordination. Right. A hominid could not bring down a woolly mammoth by themselves, but working in concert and coordinating, they were able to basically, you know, long before there was industrial culture. They were able to bring the mammoth populations…they decimated the mammoth populations, and that’s just at the very beginning of, of the homosapiens, you know, tour on earth tour of duty on earth. And now we’ve augmented our coordination superpower with with three major tools.
Greg Meredith 29:58
One of them is capital. There’s no question that capital augments the the homosapiens’ coordination superpower. However, we’re currently in a situation where we can’t explore very many models of coordination models using capital because capital is stuck in the hands of a few. And as a result, where we’re literally just we’re only able to explore a tiny slice of the total number of coordination models that are made available by capital.
Greg Meredith 31:25
The other one, of course, is government and governance. And again, you know, that has become centralized to nation states, which are moving very slowly and without a lot of global coordination. And climate change is a global phenomenon, not just a local phenomenon.
Greg Meredith 31:45
And then finally, the social telecommunications, which are, you know, our most recent addition to the toolkit of primates coordination toolkit. that has also been massively centralized. And as a result, you know, it the internet was originally envisioned as a massively decentralized and distributed system. And it’s been layered over with these these sort of very, very heavily concentrated and centralized mechanisms, which again, restricts the total amount of coordination that can happen. And the way I see blockchain is that it really, it throws a monkey wrench into that it re it makes it possible to reimagine capital, as a coordinating device rather than as you know, you know, principally a store of value. It makes it possible to reimagine governance, right and and governance that now crosses nation state boundaries, and has direct participation as opposed to just representative participation amongst other things. And it also allows for a decentralization of the social telecommunications technologies.
Greg Meredith 33:09
So in that sense, blockchain is this massive disruption in terms of our coordinating toolkit. And then I start looking at all the coordination problems that are associated with climate change. So when I think about what some of the things that you didn’t mention, mostly have to do with with dealing with the downstream effects of climate change. So for example, there are already climate refugee problems. Um, and in fact, in fact, many people argue that the Syrian refugee problem is really a climate refugee problem. And
Nora Germain 33:48
Oh, absolutely, that’s true. That’s true, but that probably that civil war would never have happened without an unprecedented drought which destabilized everyone. Sorry, keep going.
Greg Meredith 34:03
No, you’re absolutely right, but the issue is when when refugees move from nation state to a nation state, they leave behind a lot of their credentials, proof of identity, you know, all of those kinds of things. And so it’s, it’s difficult to identify who should get relief funds, who should be in line to participate in the workforce and in what capacity.
Greg Meredith 34:25
But if you were to put various aspects of credential and identity on chain, in a public decentralized manner, then suddenly a lot of that changes, but it also has knock on consequences in terms of global governance, right, the more you have a decentralized public repository of identity, you also have the at least the beginnings of being able to participate in global questions about the distribution of resources, so those are some of the things that RChain thinks about and is actively working on, but I’m curious if you know of other groups or other folks who are working in these areas.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 35:08
Well I totally agree, Greg with these points, in fact I couldn’t agree more, you know, that long term vision, and in fact, about was it two weeks ago when we have London Tech Week here, I was in a panel session, and we were discussing some exactly similar ideas, you know, across the panel. So, so the idea, all these things, I think, for those who know, the domain and as you can see long term into the future, it is a huge disruptive force.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 35:42
Now, the question is, how do we get there? Because obviously, as you mentioned, sometimes we’re blocked not by technology, that technology even though there are things to improve, and we’re talking about scalability before, it’s probably the biggest blockers are actually politicians, governments or the people that essentially have the power now, and, and yeah, they obviously don’t want to let it go.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 36:04
So, so yeah, I don’t know how we’re going to address the part. It’s a I think, well, having these conversations getting to know each other growing this community of believers. I think it’s a it’s part of that. And in terms of which other organizations I can mention, or, well, their name escapes a bit, you know, this specific group but is part from the Red Cross. in Madrid, when when I met there, few people, some of them actually talking about blockchain.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 36:41
They were already testing some programs, specifically about that part, what happens after the fact after the disaster and they were talking about these coupons, say a relief coupon that the Red Cross, provided that were only to spend on a specific, you know, needs and requirements for those refugees. And it was really interesting. I can dig actually the names If you want, I should have them somewhere there until you know, they actually had some some some white paper that they produce at the end of last year where they were actually talking about this specific case of how you know, to use these type of DLTs for for for refugees support. So, but but there are not that many. I mean, we need more of these examples, obviously, Red Cross, by the way, they were interested as well, to engage.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 37:38
So, yeah, happy to make that contact, guys.
Steve Ross Talbot 37:42
That would be great.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 37:44
Yes, yes, I will follow up with some emails, Darryl. Yeah, I’ll dig the paper on potentially the names of the guys working on that project with Red Cross,
Steve Ross Talbot 37:54
Given what you guys do and sort of trying to influence policy. So for me, and this is just the way I see the world. The biggest problem that’s led to us having this very oil based economy, this carbon economy that’s very bad for us, has been largely because the UN system of national accounts, doesn’t lend itself to the right sorts of changes. So at the turn of last century, you know, the UN system of national accounts was developed.
Steve Ross Talbot 38:33
And GDP was born. Right and out of GDP comes… it drives policy for many governments on a nation state basis. And that’s because what they’ve got is a ledger per nation, right, owned by that government that says what’s valuable, and what isn’t you and it’s interesting to reflect on that. So let me ask you a question. What was the best value returning oil tanker ever in the planet? What do you think the best? You’re going to be surprised it was the Exxon Valdez. Do you remember the one that crashed?
Nora Germain 39:18
One of the worst oil spills ever? Right?
Steve Ross Talbot 39:20
And as a result, and the way that the UN system of national accounts worked, it became the biggest contributor to the US gross domestic product of any oil tanker that has ever been launched.
Nora Germain 39:36
Steve Ross Talbot 39:36
right. Well, isn’t that strange? By somehow? And the reason it is the case is because there was no counting. There’s no counting of what it did that was bad. There was only the counting of revenue, salaries of people doing the clear up that contributed to GDP. They never counted the birds that died. They never counted the trees that died. Yeah.
Steve Ross Talbot 40:02
And, you know, it would be great if we had a global ledger, a global ledger for trees, for instance, where we could see that when it was more beneficial to leave a tree living than cutting it down. And equally, not planting a tree, that shouldn’t be where somebody wants to plant it. So, but the only way to do that is to have a policy that enables a global ledger, because if without a global ledger, you can’t influence all the countries, it goes back to Greg’s coordination thing, by having a global ledger that measures real value, value that people are truly interested in, in some way, that’s one way in which you change policy.
Steve Ross Talbot 40:55
Yeah, the fact that it’s a global ledger, it’s public and it’s you You can’t you can’t do anything fraudulent on it or change history means that the policy makers then have to take it seriously.
Nora Germain 41:09
Yeah, you can’t put a PR spin on a blockchain really. But there’s one thing I wanted to say, though in relation to that, which and I feel like I’m talking about him all the time. But Andrew Yang, who’s so great, ran for president of the united states, for those who don’t know, one of his major talking points in his speeches about, you know, the state of not only America, but the world was about how GDP was a terrible way to measure the health and the prosperity of a nation and its people.
Nora Germain 41:43
That GDP was, and actually the inventor of GDP, explicitly said, you know, please don’t use this as an index for the health of the nation this is a, you know, a financial measurement, you know what I mean? And of course, what do we do it If GDP is good, we ignore all the cancer, all the homelessness, suicide rates, environmental catastrophe, and so on and so forth, which is really interesting. But I did want to bring in I’m not sure if Ian or Darryl have a question or just something they wanted to mention, but I just wanted to invite them because they haven’t gotten a chance to talk very much yet. Although Darryl may have stepped away for a moment. But
Ian Bloom 42:27
I just put in the in the chat a couple ESG ratings agencies because they try to capture some of this.
Nora Germain 42:36
Oh, great. Yeah, that’s great. Thank you Ian. And also I put in the chat just a few minutes ago. Usually what when we don’t have a guest with and having a guest is way better. But when we don’t have a guest I usually bring some articles to speak about that are, you know, headlines in the tech or climate sort of community and I just wanted to draw attention to this for people who are going to be listening that CNN did a piece estimating there be 1.2 billion with a B, climate refugees by 2050.
Nora Germain 43:10
And that is such an interesting time because that’s 30 years from now. And of course, 2050 is the same distance from now that 1990 it’s, and people don’t seem to realize that how soon it really is when we talk about 2050. It’s very, very fast. You know? 1990 was not all that long ago. I hear from people. So that’s something to consider.
Greg Meredith 43:43
I also want to go back and ask a few more questions of our guest. So part of the reason I was setting up the discussion of coordination is because I also want to look at, I want to look realistically at where the technology will be and what we can expect of it in in various timeframes. So, in particular, one of the things that I have tried to argue as strenuously as I can, is that the technology is very nascent, and it won’t be reliable for at least a decade.
Greg Meredith 44:26
And if you if you look at all other, you know, technologies sort of like this, this is this is generous, right? It’s actually more more likely that it’ll be 20 years but but let’s assume that a lot of time and attention and other resources are poured into the blockchain side of this equation, then it’s, you know, it might be ready to handle mission critical applications within a decade.
Greg Meredith 44:56
So what that says is that pursuing things like finance is probably not a good idea. And pursuing things like supply chain management is probably not a good idea. Because if you have life or significant property on the line, for an unreliable technology, you’re going to have these major catastrophic events, which we have already seen. happening with these technologies. And and everyone will suffer. However, if we take a small step back and look at how the internet has developed, right?
Greg Meredith 45:39
In the 1990s, Google made a brilliant observation. Hey, we can we can improve internet search with the PageRank algorithm. And you know, they put up a single page with a single button. I’m feeling lucky. And it turned into this massive massive win for Sergey, and Eric Schmidt and Larry.
Greg Meredith 46:05
So that particular idea of going after high transaction, low risk kinds of applications has been repeated again and again and again over the last 20 or 30 years. So, you know, from from Google, to Facebook, to Instagram, to Spotify, on and on and on and on and the largest, the biggest economies in the world now are built on these high transaction volume, low risk kinds of applications. And that seems to be a great place to test out blockchain technologies.
Greg Meredith 46:55
You can still make a killing if that’s what floats your boat. But you can, you can start to, you can start it out and prove it out at scale without putting so much at risk. If you were to build a, for example, a Spotify like service, nobody dies if a song doesn’t get delivered. But if you miss deliver a pallet of food, or a pallet of drugs, you’re in deep shit, people can die.
Greg Meredith 47:31
And so so my argument has been that when we’re starting to think about these technologies, let’s just learn about internet, you know, from the lessons of the internet technologies that have been, you know, made clear to us for the last 30 years, and then move from there to these riskier things and from that matrix overlay that those concerns on how we begin to address climate. So again, start with coordination problems where nobody dies.
Greg Meredith 48:08
A simple example, you know, tree planting and carbon sequestration, nobody’s going to die in a tracking mechanism like that. And that’s an interesting coordination problem, right? You get a bunch of volunteers out there, planting trees, and for every tree planted, there is a capacity that can be sold to offset someone else’s carbon burden, right, that nobody’s going to die in that situation.
Greg Meredith 48:37
But do you get my point? Do you understand, it is a fairly broad scale point and involves a lot of different moving parts. But I think that the argument, you know, has some holds water, but I’m curious as to what your thought process is, and how that relates to BCI in general.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 48:56
Yeah. No, I do. I agree with the You know, General points. In fact, you know, that long term vision and and you know that the timeline that you mentioned, actually, it’s, for me make total sense. That’s actually why I kind of like to go back to academia and spend time with academics to see okay, you know, how you plan to address this and how you plan to address that.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 49:19
And I do agree as well with the idea of, you know, high risk versus low risk. It makes very good sense. I guess that the reason why, for example, in my case, you know, why I decided to spend some time on this is because my background normally is consultancy. So I’ve been doing consultancy, now for six years. Well, my background actually used to be very academic. I used to be at imperial PhD postdoc, I was a lecturer as well, so was teaching and when I realized, okay, I don’t really like teaching that much. I left and I’ve been now doing consulting in industry.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 50:00
By the way for machine learning AI, so I’m actually that’s mainly my domain more than DLT’s. But lots of coding, as you can imagine. And, and one of the things that I’ve learned having to spend time as well at a big financial organization like HSBC, that all these big organizations, they are also going through a lot of transformation. And I actually call it digital transformation. It’s a very well known, actually tagline that is used to to involve many things, in fact, sometimes too many in there, and one of the key things that is happening there is not just in finance, but across the board organization because you know, I’ve also I’ve worked with a real economy company, like for example, here in the UK, you know, I’ve done work with Heathrow Airport, I’ve done work with the London Underground, and so on and so on.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 50:56
And, this idea of automation. There is so much manual work that has nothing to do with DLT, or with the AI for that matter, even though sometimes when I talk to a client, what I sell is the AI. In fact, where we’re talking, it’s just simple boilerplate code that really, ultimately things that should not be done by humans anymore. And, and that’s probably more the angle that I’ve probably applied to a lot of this. So for example, in the case of blockchain, green bonds that we have there, there are so many things that can be automated.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 51:33
And again, it doesn’t, you know, they probably will put the blockchain as a cherry on the cake but is about ultimately digitizing many aspects that that can be automated, it can be digitized, but it hasn’t been done. And is because a lot of these organizations they are going through this digital transformation process, where literally they some of them are still even using you know, pen and paper for some things were, you know, we they should be using an app or many other things that you know, now are possible and are going back to your point are extremely low risk guarantee success, but they haven’t done it yet. So I think those are maybe they the key things that I’ve actually been building, and that actually would put put a lot of attention, including legal aspects and so on, and where the DLT will be literally one of the components that we can just take out and put anyone.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 52:30
So we were doing and trying to build things in a very abstract way where we don’t depend on a specific DLT and this is one of the key things I have in mind, you know, for all the research I’m doing on DLT I’m assuming that whatever DLT I’m using now, it could be replaced tomorrow. And I’m actually focused on all these other aspects that unfortunately, they hold progress back. And in fact that’s the reason sometime when they come you need to hire you know, consultants on that they you know, issues Shouldn’t be because there are easy things I have to say, you know, I don’t want to say something too loud because then the client will say, oh, once we pay so much, and you know, where you’re doing, say easy things, but but, in fact, it loves going to that, in those going back to politics, and, and culture.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 53:18
And, you know, meeting people that essentially I have that actually many times where they say, I’ve been doing this for 40 years, you know, when you Greg, when you talk about, you know, the way how the system has worked for the past centralized, you’re doing specific things and, and when you comment, trying to teach them new ways of doing these things, they say, you want to teach me to do these when I’ve been doing this longer than your alive. You know?
Dr. Pedro Baiz 53:49
I mean, becomes a challenge, I have to say, because you know, even though you know, I’m right, you know, we are say we’re on the right side, Greg of all this new tech, the fact is, that you cannot ignore all these experience of people that have been doing certain things in certain ways.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 54:06
But it’s a long process. That’s why I’m probably also will take several years for people to adjust, not to DLT’s. In fact, we can remove the DLT and blockchain’s completely out of the conversation. And I feel I can be telling you exactly the same things. Because they still are using things and doing things that are from last century.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 54:29
And yeah, because let’s remember, you know, most companies, most organizations are not Google, or Facebook, especially for example, here in the UK, you know, we’re talking about manufacturing all these real economy, which I really like to work with. They are working with things that you cannot imagine you say, Why are they still doing these things? So yeah, I guess that would be me know, my main argument why I’m even doing things that seem at very high risk. But it was in reality, you know, the way I’m working on them, is very holistically to try to bring in the people on board and, and the whole supply chain and the whole system. And the DLT aspect is a plug and play aspect.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 55:11
Yeah, I don’t know if that answered the question, Greg, maybe?
Nora Germain 55:17
That was great. Um, yeah. And well, we only have a couple of minutes left. So I guess I wanted to ask if Darryl or anybody else who hasn’t said much wanted to just, you know, added anything, but we only have a couple of minutes.
Darryl Neudorf 55:36
Oh, man, I mean, I have so many things I’d love to talk about. Now. It’s just, it’s just, you know, opened up so much more. But I’m just going to say one thing, and that is that you have converted me today. And you’ve converted me away from using the term blockchain to using the term DLT.
Darryl Neudorf 55:54
I think I’m gonna start doing that all the time now because it’s it’s just as more accurate especially When trying to explain RChain, it’s when you think of a block chain, you think of this kind of serial thing with a link that goes up to another link. You know, that’s what you think of when a chain is it’s a singular thing. That doesn’t actually explain our chain very well. So, you know, DLT is a little more open ended. So thank you for that.
Greg Meredith 56:20
I do. I do want to interject, you know, the issue, though, with with DLT is that it puts the emphasis on ledger, and RChain is decidedly not a ledger.
Darryl Neudorf 56:29
Ah, okay, so we still need a new word.
Greg Meredith 56:32
Yes, we do.
Steve Ross Talbot 56:36
Just one one thing for you Pedro given that you and I are both in the UK. I will endeavor to get your details. I think I have them. And I shall reach out to you because I think there’s several conversations I would like to have with you particularly from a policy formulation perspective. I was involved with helping Jeremy Corbyn in those days write his digital Manifesto. And that included a platform that was trusted for mass deliberation and voting. And those two things are actually at the heart of the daps that are being developed right now on top of RChain.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 57:18
Sounds real exciting guys.
Steve Ross Talbot 57:21
Yah, I’ll pick that up with you and talk to you about that, and see whether there’s synergy there that that can be had, because maybe that has a real role in the whole climate debate. I think it may well do.
Nora Germain 57:32
Definitely. And I’m sure there’s so many connections now to be made. And I want to thank you, Pedro, for joining us today. This has been really awesome to hear from you.
Steve Ross Talbot 57:42
Yah yah thank you!
Nora Germain 57:42
And I am sure many members of our community are going to be interested to look up the institute and its www.blockchainclimate.org. Is that right?
Dr. Pedro Baiz 57:53
Yeah, yeah, that’s right.
Nora Germain 57:55
Yeah, and thank you so much, Darryl, for making this connection and for bringing you on and Yeah, I’m really grateful to have this conversation. And, of course, for anybody who’s listening, you can subscribe to RChain on YouTube. We’re going to have more guests and do more talks soon. And you can become a member of RChain at RChain.coop. And if you would like to be a guest or know somebody who would like to be a guest, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. So thank you so much, everybody.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 58:30
Thank you. Thank you. I wanted to really thank you the conversation, the questions and yeah, definitely Greg, Steve, you know, really share many of the views. So you should definitely stay in touch.
Greg Meredith 58:42
Steve Ross Talbot 58:44
Yeah. Great. Greg and I almost like twins. Okay. We’re nearly the same age and when you said people that have been doing this job for 40 years, my heart dropped, because I have been.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 58:59
Oh Okay, okay,
Steve Ross Talbot 59:01
I’m 61 on Thursday.
Nora Germain 59:04
Oh Happy Early Birthday.
Dr. Pedro Baiz 59:07
So that by the way, sorry, you know, I apologize for that. I just was
Steve Ross Talbot 59:12
very true. I’m not I’m not the normal 61 year old as a test
Dr. Pedro Baiz 59:21
people but yeah, hopefully, you know, we’ll I think we are we’re going to make it. It will take time. But But yeah, it’s good to have these communities and and these type of conversations Yes.
Steve Ross Talbot 59:32
Yes, absolutely. Well, I should certainly connect as the local RChain guy. So and I’m sure Greg will want to have another conversation. Darryl is just itching. Nora will shed light over all of us.
Nora Germain 59:47
Oh, sweet. Thank you all so much.
Greg Meredith 59:53
Thanks. Thanks to all
Dr. Pedro Baiz 59:54
Bye have a good weekend.
Darryl Neudorf 59:57
You too Pedro. Bye, everybody. Bye.