Learn Carbon Markets: Toucan (BCT, NCT)

Learn about Toucan, a key provider of carbon market infrastructure.

by Greenwashed

Learn Carbon Markets: Toucan (BCT, NCT)
Photo by Dylan Calluy


Toucan is a critical piece of infrastructure in the on-chain carbon markets. The Toucan protocol allows individual carbon offsets to be moved onto the blockchain and combined into pools that significantly increase the market’s liquidity.

Toucan uses three tools to achieve this: their bridge, meta-registry, and pools. ⬇️


Toucan’s bridge is the tool for off-chain carbon offsets becoming on-chain tokenized carbon offsets. 🌉

Carbon offsets are regulated and kept track of by registries, which are independent third-party nonprofits. Toucan is a verified entity of a registry, meaning that everything done through Toucan is part of the market’s main regulatory system. This ensures that nobody can bridge double-counted credits.

Additionally, only offsets that have already been retired can be bridged through Toucan’s protocol. This ensures that any Toucan token is backed by assets that have helped the environment.


Another important piece of infrastructure that Toucan provides is a meta-registry that ensures that all credits bridged through Toucan share standardized data.

Data, in this case, is information about the specific tonne of carbon that makes up the token. Due to ever-evolving standards of what makes a high-quality carbon offset, different types and vintages are valued at different prices. 🏷

The meta-registry plays the important role of keeping track of all of this data and publishing it on-chain, allowing for a transparent carbon market that stands in stark contrast to the black hole of data that the centralized market makers keep.

Anyone can easily go and verify the composition of Toucan’s offsets here. For example, part of the pool comes from the Rimba Raya biodiversity reserve project, which saved Bornean land from being turned into palm oil estates by the provincial government.

The ability for anyone to freely verify offset origin is unique to the on-chain carbon markets and solves one of the major criticisms of carbon offsets.


Individual attributes of offsets must be kept track of to create a transparent market, but it means that the tokens cannot easily be bought in bulk. Since they’re all slightly different, they all have unique chain identifiers, meaning a bulk purchase would require an individual transaction for each offset.

This is the problem that Toucan’s pools solve. Pools take offset tokens with similar qualities and pool them together, creating a new, more liquid token.

The Rimba Raya biodiversity project from above is in Toucan’s NCT pool, a pool backed by nature-based projects. By combining projects like the Rimba Raya one with similar projects such as the PACAJAI reforestation project, Toucan creates liquid markets without sacrificing the integrity of offsets in bulk purchases.

Currently, Toucan has two pools, including the aforementioned nature-based NCT pool and BCT, a generalized pool of offsets.


Through its bridge, meta-registry, and system of pools, the Toucan protocol has become critical infrastructure in the world of regenerative finance.

As of November 2022, the total carbon tonnes on-chain is about 21.5 million. Toucan’s BCT and NCT account for most of that liquidity.

As the far-away leader in terms of market share with multiple vital pieces of infrastructure that keep the carbon markets viable and scalable, Toucan finds itself in a great place as the world begins the transition to scaling carbon markets on-chain. 📈

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