Topl interview

Interview: Topl - The Blockchain Built for Good

Chris Georgen
Chris Georgen - Topl

1. Tell us about Topl, the blockchain platform, its capabilities, and energy efficiency.

Topl has built a unique layer 0 blockchain protocol to create new economic systems where every bit of positive impact means more profit. Already today, Topl’s technology has been used to track and verify conflict-free diamonds and fair wage coffee and chocolates, issue and secure nature-based carbon credits, and provide verifiable reporting for corporate ESG initiatives. 

Topl’s blockchain is highly inclusive and interoperable, increasing the reach of impact initiatives across value chains. Our rigorously tested Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus consumes 1000x less energy than earlier Proof-of-Work (PoW) models that rely on energy-intensive mining. This, combined with the unspent transaction output (UTXO) model, provides our blockchain with lightweight scalability (8 million transaction-per-second speed) and the capacity to run on mobile phones as users verify and store only the data relevant to them.

Topl Solutions, a branch of Topl, builds decentralized applications (dApps) on top of our blockchain. It empowers enterprises to leverage blockchain technologies, for example, by providing a tool that helps trace and highlight impactful environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives.

2.  What was the vision for starting Topl?

Back in 2017, we realized that the impact space had a problem. It was highly reliant on grants and constant “fresh cash,” and there was little continuity; once a project was executed to the extent the funds provided for, it simply ended.

We saw linearity with an endpoint rather than a self-sustaining virtuous impact cycle. Chris Georgen, James Aman, and Kim Raath, our three founders, saw a way to utilize blockchain to close this gap, creating systems that monetize impact to power the next round of projects and create a sustainable cycle of good.

Exploring the tech market at that time, the founders soon found there was no blockchain network suited for this purpose—for many reasons, including scalability limitations. So, they set out to build the ideal infrastructure to empower companies, individuals, and other impact stakeholders to build good.

3.  Strong scientific data connect climate change to weather calamities. How can companies utilize Topl to reduce their carbon imprint?

Right now, we are testing the waters in a partnership with BCarbon, a nonprofit carbon credit registry, which would allow companies to tokenize their carbon outputs or buy carbon credits—in a trusted, verifiable environment. Farmers or businesses with a carbon deficit could mint carbon credits that they could sell to others over their carbon limits. 

Beyond that, companies can use ToplTrax, Topl Solutions’ traceability tool, attach their sustainability goals and achievements and communicate those to their end consumers. Today, when customers are more socially and environmentally conscious than ever before, this allows for more sincere and long-lasting relationships between brand and their audiences.

4.  How can companies utilize Topl for transparency to customers on products they are purchasing to help sustainability?

Photo by Danurwendho Adyakusuma on Unsplash

 Companies can use Topl and Topl Solutions’ dApps, such as ToplTrax and Traceable Journey, to prove their provenance and sustainability claims. To communicate impact in a more visual way, they can specify which Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) their activities are contributing to. Having an immutable, public record allows for transparency in each step of the value chain—whether for raw materials, produce, or consumer goods.

Recently, Ennovie and Monica Vinader, two major names in the jewelry industry, incorporated ToplTrax and Traceable Journey to demonstrate how their products come to life, from design, materials sourcing, and crafting, all the way to their arrival at the customers’ doorstep. Visualizing this via a “product passport” for over 50 of the best-selling styles has generated extra traction, considering ethics is increasingly important for consumers across the globe.

5.  Which parts of the world do your company operate in, and how is Topl involved with a "climate solidarity pact" between rich/poor nations?

Topl is a multilingual, multinational organization. We operate in the US, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. From a tea company in El Salvador to sustainable mining projects in West Africa, we aim to have a global reach.

Our climate solidarity pact involvement is focused on re-establishing trust in the process of global cooperation in tackling climate change while bringing affordable technological solutions to impoverished territories that might not have the means to address the local climate change manifestations. 

It goes without saying that developing countries are least culpable for the current climate crisis—and yet, they’re the ones exposed to the devastating impact of climate change, including droughts, floods, and pollution, often leading to migration and conflict. At Topl, we’re looking to create inclusive systems that can help governments, businesses, and individuals act in a manner that will directly help the climate and drive awareness.

6.  Does Topl collaborate with the United Nations?

Yes! Earlier this year, ToplTrax, Topl’s traceability tool, was selected as one of the 100+ projects to be featured in the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Digital X Catalogue, the organization’s first marketplace for proven digital solutions. Its aim is to find, match, and connect ready-to-scale digital solutions with the urgent needs of UNDP, UN partners, and governments worldwide.

As UNDP states, Topl’s solution for verifying sustainability and labor claims for supply chain activities addresses the lack of visibility across supply chains, particularly those involving agricultural commodities or raw material extraction. It enables companies to leverage blockchain to prove they’re adhering to ESG practices—as well as serving the millions of laborers and communities around the world adversely affected by the business-as-usual scenario.

7.  Anything else you would like to add?

The Topl blockchain has exciting plans for the next year, as we’ll be launching our private token sale in 2023 and undergoing decentralization in Q4 2023 to open up our ecosystem to new builders and participants. We’re also currently executing our Impact Token Pilot Program, which will have various impact organizations create and test impact NFTs to better track, measure, and communicate the impact they generate.

On Topl Solutions side, we’re launching ToplTrax beta in November 2022, followed by a public launch in Q1 of 2023. On top of that, we’re building a product that would allow for the tokenization of carbon credits, plastics, and other real-world assets. With this tokenization effort, we will start to bring impact NFTs that connect an individual’s positive impact locally to measurable community outcomes.

8.  How can people reach you?

You can reach us at community@topl.me. To stay up to date with everything Topl, make sure to follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Discord.

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Selva Ozelli Esq, CPA is a legal and finance executive with diversified experience dealing with highly complex issues in the field of international taxation and related matters within the banking, securities, Fintech, alternative and traditional investment funds. Her first of its kind legal analyses involving tax laws, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), blockchain technology, solar technology and the environment and have been published in journals, books and by the OECD. Her writings have been translated into 15 languages.

Photo by Karsten Würth on Unsplash
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