(Corrects headline to Hong Kong tech startup instead of U.S. tech startup, adds "headquartered in Hong Kong" to first paragraph)
By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss
NEW YORK, Aug 28 (Reuters) - Veridium Labs, an environmental technology startup headquartered in Hong Kong, said on Monday it hopes to raise $150 million in October by selling two types of tokens backed by forest carbon offset credits and other credits used to fund environmental mitigation efforts.
Proceeds will be used to build a platform to enable trading of assets backed by natural capital, Todd Lemons, Veridium's chief executive officer, told Reuters in an interview last week. Natural capital, including air, water, forests, and minerals, is an untapped and undervalued asset class that academics from several U.S. universities have estimated is worth more than $120 trillion.
Environmental credits are already traded, but Lemons said Veridium Labs aims to make pricing more transparent. He said the lack of a standard way to measure the price of natural capital makes it hard for companies to account for those costs.
Veridium's planned token sale will use blockchain technology, a digital ledger of transactions that has underpinned the first digital currency bitcoin. The mechanism has grown popular in the financial technology sector, and Veridium Labs is one of many corporations using blockchain to track other types of assets across industries.
Veridium will issue two types of tokens. VERIDIUM membership tokens will grant access to the trading platform while TGR tokens represent actual environmental mitigation credits, Lemons said.
Currently, corporations planning to develop wilderness areas or other projects that might cause harm to the environment often purchase environmental mitigation credits from land banking companies such as Infinite Earth, a firm funded by EnVision Corp, the company behind Veridium Labs. The credits generate funds...