Open Forest Protocol (OFP) is a scalable open platform that allows forest projects of any size, from around the world, to Measure, Report, and Verify (MRV) their forestation data. As a climate-neutral blockchain with fast throughput and low transaction fees, NEAR was the ideal place to build their project, getting development support from the INC4 team.
The NEAR network had been launched just two months before we started work on OFP’s technical architecture and functionalities. Therefore the main challenge that we faced was the risk of adopting a new and largely untested technology, with a limited tech inventory and the ongoing development of basic functionalities, which were a must-have for the OFP to function as intended.
The last major challenge was the complexity of the product being built. MRV in the forestry, conservation, and carbon economy requires sophisticated data reporting standards, so both the product and the technical teams were striving to deliver comprehensive and, at the same time, concise interfaces that would cover the necessary scope of requirements while making sure the protocol would still be engaging and easy-to-use.
Due to the urgency of the climate cause — this is a fast-developing industry — reforestation, afforestation, conservation mechanisms, and standards are constantly growing and improving. Such rapid progress directly influenced the protocol’s development, demanding flexibility and an instant response to any changes demanded by the technical team.
Tech stack we used
Due to the client’s specialists providing us with comprehensive research, we were able to start project development with a much faster research phase, enabling us to begin the development process promptly.
We started with technical architecture design and structuring the system of smart contracts that would run the protocol, including the core smart contract and various token contracts. The most challenging part here was to design a flexible system of blockchain-based technical modules, meaning the data storage and validation would need to be decentralized.
Decentralized storage and indexer creation
The next crucial step was integrating solutions for storing and processing a huge amount of data. Printed records of forestry data to be kept with decentralized storage, ensuring data transparency and public accessibility was the key decision for Open Forest Protocol to encounter expensive institutional solutions.
Moreover, data processing was impossible without indexing in the Protocol’s architecture. The indexing service required a sophisticated design and technology integration, handling vast arrays of decentralized data and instantly delivering to the user interfaces.
The next development stage was concentrated on the Project Dashboard:
- Create a fully-functional environment for organizations or individual foresters.
- Create records of their forestry and conservation initiatives.
- Furnish them with a set of necessary functionalities to start an MRV project.
- Report on its progress during the whole lifecycle, which can last up to 100 years.
The Project Module is heavily loaded with functionalities within the Protocol, requiring a lot of planning and subsequent testing.
Mobile application development
The Forester app is a mobile application for foresters that collects forestry or conservation data on the development of trees that have already been planted. The application has to perform the following functions:
- GEO-locate the necessary plot of land.
- Input measurement data.
- Take pictures of the trees.
- Instantly send the array to the Project Dashboard.
- Collect data into a consolidated report.
- Send all data to decentralized storage with metadata hashed to the blockchain.
The challenging part of developing the Forester app was the GEO-location precision algorithm. We had to carefully impose limitations on the app so that foresters couldn’t take a picture of any tree outside the plot of land being reported.
Building of the validation process
The next development stage covered data validation. The validation process is complex and comprises several stages:
- Voting works through validators, who stake a certain amount of OPN (NEP-141 NEAR standard fungible token) to either affirm the reported data or deny it, based on the results of his/her own check.
- The larger total voting stake pool favoring the verdict decides the validation result.
Furthermore, validators are provided with the necessary set of interfaces to check the reporting data and compare it to the previous periods’ reports. The algorithms that underlie the voting module, processing of results, and distribution of validator rewards are the most complicated in terms of technical development.
Support and further development
After going public, Open Forest Protocol team decided to move further, and we added extended functionality to the most promising ReFi dApp. We’ve created the Validation dashboard, Explorer, and Wallet. All of these features are aimed to boost the decentralization and provide users of OFP with comprehensive data to examine and analyze.
At the same time, the developed OFP Wallet simplifies the management of any asset related to OFP by facilitating storage, transfer, and retirement processes. This tool establishes a direct connection between numerous ecosystem participants and the carbon-neutral blockchain that OFP operates on.
Ongoing projects listed in the Dashboard in the first 6 months
Countries where projects were created
Validators from 15 countries joined within the first month after the Validation Dashboard launch