Getting started

Green Paper

"To reconnect with nature is key if we want to save the planet" - Jane Goodall

Executive summary

The GainForest platform rewards donors who commit to long-term payments for conservation projects with ecological impact certificates (NFTrees). Funds are stored in a decentralized escrow account which rewards sustainable stewardship verified through a proof of care (PoC). PoC leverages top-down and bottom-up digital monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV). Lastly, communities get a continous salary through a measure-to-earn system, a key component of bottom-up MRV.

Why are we doing this?

The problem

Protecting and restoring our natural world is a resource-intensive task and conservation projects around the world depend on sustainable funding. Unfortunately, traditional donations require mutual trust between all parties. Donors must trust that communities are using their received donations for the agreed purposes. Communities on the other hand have to incentivize donors to donate to them. This usually happens through time-intensive and costly actions such as public marketing, scientific studies, expensive data collection, or third-party certification to verify impact. In addition, a middleman (such as a bank) usually sits in between the transaction of donors and communities, introducing significant legal (e.g. blocking transfers) and economic friction (e.g. large fees).

The opportunity

GainForest is an open platform that empowers sustainable conservation efforts by unifying 1) accessible and automated monitoring, 2) auditable and decentralized payments and 3) stakeholder engagement and user-focused token incentives into one system. We believe that GainForest enables payments from private citizens to local communities in need at a much faster, easier, and safer rate than existing approaches with less legal work, resulting in urgently needed and accelerated climate action.

Nature's decentralized fund traces impact

Unlocking funds through milestones

To trace the impact of donors, donations to a conservation project are first parked in a decentralized fund. Payments are automatically released to conservation organizations after achieving specific milestones during the verifiable “Proof-of-Care” stage (e.g. increase in tree cover or carbon stored, preservation of forest cover). Parked funds earn interest while they are locked in the escrow account.

Donors become investors through impact certificates

Every donation is rewarded with a unique digital asset, a non-fungible impact certificate (NFTrees™) that changes dynamically depending on the captured data. NFTrees are digital assets, turning donors into investors. Through data collection, NFTrees regularly mint valuable data tokens (drone data, satellite imagery, conservation photography, wildlife cams, and more) from the area, allowing investors to keep track of your conservation impact directly from their web3 wallet.

Proof-of-Care verifies ecological impact

Leveraging artificial intelligence for top-down monitoring

Traditionally, linking corresponding payments with carbon emissions and ecosystem restoration is a labor-intensive and complex task without clear consensus and standards. GainForest leverages satellite imagery and machine learning methods to monitor the conservation progress. Image analyses are produced every five days and provide information on ecological variables such as land cover.

Rewarding communities for bottom-up monitoring through measure-to-earn

GainForest provides local communities with digital tools to transparently monitor their sites on the ground. Newly planted seedlings and small trees are registered and monitored through the Tree App. Plants that reach a certain size can be monitored and tracked at scale through crowd droning. Bottom-up monitoring is fused with top-down monitoring data for each project and is securely streamed to decentralized storage, triggering the release of the funds for the respective conservation projects. To incentivize bottom-up monitoring, a percentage of the fund is used to reward local data collectors per data point collected.

A commitment to radical transparency

Open data, models and reputation

GainForest believes that no organization should measure conservation through black-box algorithms. Thus, we are committed to open-source and peer-review all of our science, data, and machine learning models. Additionally, we compete in open benchmarks and competitions and are currently one of 15 semifinalists of the $10M XPRIZE Rainforest.

Community-centered co-design and science

We develop our platform jointly with continuous community feedback. Our beta version is located at and provides an up-to-date version of our transparency dashboard. Furthermore, in order to empower underrepresented voices, we give out GainForest fellowships to implement and support data, algorithms, and science from local communities.

Reach out

Please contact us to learn more at or follow us on Twitter @gainforestnow