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Microsoft has used blockchain technology to buy soil carbon credits in Australia. In conjunction with Regen Network – built on the Cosmos (ATOM) blockchain – the CarbonPlus Grassland credits were initially spent on two ranches in New South Wales.

The carbon credits are used as a measure of soil storage, the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide in the soil. This is achieved through Regen Network’s remote sensing technology and would also help monitor animal welfare, soil health and overall ecosystem health.

In total, 43,338 tons of carbon credits were issued to Wilmot Cattle Co, initiated by natural capital company Impact AG, before Microsoft bought them. The Wilmot ranchers have reportedly increased the soil organic carbon concentration on their land to 4.5%, achieved through managed grazing practices. The ideal concentration of organic carbon would be in the soil 4–6%.

Microsoft announced in 2020 that it would try to reduce its carbon footprint to zero by the year 2030. In addition, Microsoft is also committed to eliminating a volume of carbon equal to that for which it has been responsible for manufacturing since its inception in 1975.

Christian Shearer, CEO of Regen Network, celebrated the initiative, adding that it inspired hope in the concept of natural approaches to combat climate change.

“Our work with Impact Ag and Wilmot Cattle Co gives us more hope than ever that agriculture and wildlife solutions to climate change are not only real, but also have the potential to quickly capture carbon and build resilience into our food systems,” said Shearer, adding, “The scale at which Microsoft buys carbon credits should give us all hope that business can and will be a catalyst for change.”