In the coming decades, the world’s collective response to unprecedented biological damage will demand solutions at an increasingly rapid pace. At the same time, humanity faces fundamental challenges to its methods of organizing and incentivizing human effort across industries and borders.
As new and welcome solutions are developed at an accelerating speed year-by-year, especially in blockchain, there are a plethora of common disagreements around the present and long-term environmental impact of these networks and their underlying technology.
Thankfully, in 2022 we can debunk common myths and misconceptions, as well as point to effective solutions people can support today. There are several green solutions in blockchain that most early adopters aren’t raving about yet, but probably should be.
Although the ecological footprint of blockchain tends to be represented by “wasteful”, “legacy” Proof-Of-Work solutions, the popular conversations tend to ignore the incredible green potential of decentralized ledger technology. In fact, blockchain can be much cleaner than the traditional financial institutions it replaces.
The entire Polygon Proof-Of-Stake network, for example, serves over nine million transactions per day. However, they only consume about the same amount of energy as a mid-sized bank office or a small grocery store. This is a far lower carbon and energy footprint than traditional financial institutions performing a similar number of transactions for a global customer base.
Other blockchains are also gaining traction without any carbon surplus at all. The Celo blockchain has also served over 97 million transactions, with an average processing time of 5 seconds, and has been carbon negative since 2020.
Both Celo and Polygon are compatible with Ethereum Virtual Machine, so they integrate with the core structure of Ethereum while processing low carbon to carbon negative transactions at scale. Celo and Polygon provide services such as savings, loans, instant payment processing, insurance, and asset exchanges, all without the huge carbon footprint normally associated with brick-and-mortar enterprise, commuting employees, and wasteful physical processes.
Blockchain enterprises tend to cater to a global customer base. Any human being with a web3 capable web browser has equal access to the many permissionless financial systems available. In fact, many of the worlds unbanked are finding their first access to financial systems through blockchain.
Programmable money is replacing many functions of traditional finance and many cost centers for government. Servicing these segments with the new generation of green blockchains brings cost savings, carbon reductions, and efficiency improvements.
Services that programmable money can manage more efficiently :
POS and P2P payments
Securities Issuance, holding, and exchange
Asset management, registration, licensure, and tax collection
Recording of documents such as leases, contracts, titles, and deeds
One company that aims to make many of these systems practical to implement is DMI (Decentralized Machines, inc), with the PRüF Protocol. DMI, Based in Belize, is committed to building decentralized, permissionless systems that bring improvements in quality of life, reduce global corruption, and bring long term benefits to humanity. DMI started development of PRüF protocol in march 2020, with an initial focus on provenance and authenticity for physical goods.
The PRüF protocol is a next generation tokenization protocol which solves the many inherent problems of existing tokenization and NFT protocols. Originally developed for physical asset management, the PRüF team decided to solve the issues inherent in digital asset tokenization (NFT) protocols after observing the chaotic and problematic explosion of the NFT market in 2021–2022.
An emerging force in the tokenization space, PRüF has recently onboarded high-profile blockchain expert Ian Scarffe, who has recently joined the team as a key advisor. Ian Scarffe is a serial entrepreneur, investor, and consultant. He is also an independent Expert at the European Commission — Horizon 2020.
Ian brings a wealth of experience to the PRüF protocol team. With a proven track record and as one of the top global influencers in fintech, Ian has been instrumental in getting several blockchain startups to excel and achieve their goals.
With top advisors like Ian Scarffe, NFT creator/futurist Felipe Kirsten, and their recent induction into the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance, PRüF protocol is perfectly positioned to be an influential player in the emerging tokenization space.
In addition to operating on green networks such as Polygon, and soon Celo, PRüF Protocol itself reduces waste and facilitates reuse. Incentives built into PRüF pay users when their discarded items are reused. PRüF’s Future-PRüFTM digital assets are designed to be permanent and reusable far into the future — accommodating changes to media types, display formats, blockchains, storage providers, and access methods.
The Need for Long-Term Solutions
The degradation of the environment due to short-term financial priorities can be addressed using programmable money. Short-term thinking is not inherently due to human nature but rather the prevailing fiat money system that incentivizes the theft of future resources in favor of immediate rewards.
It is also possible to reverse this process. For example, let us consider a currency explicitly designed for international or inter-corporate trade. Using smart contracts to shift eventual rewards closer to the time of commitment, this kind of intelligent money could immediately incentivize long-term thinking and focus attention on sustainable solutions with acceptable ecological outcomes.
To formalize their commitment to minimizing or reversing climate impacts, blockchain companies and protocols such as Polygon, Ripple, PRüF, and Filecoin support the historic Crypto Climate Accord, with other major signatories and supporters joining in their commitment to being net-zero or negative carbon.
The War on Carbon Emissions
Many projects go beyond just promising to be green, and are actively investing in a sustainable future through their operations and business models. The entire Celo blockchain has been carbon negative since mid 2020. The PRüF office and campus operate using 100% solar power, with renewable water and waste management. Carbon capture companies such as EcoWatt are actively investing in carbon capture, renewable energy production, and ecological restoration — tokenizing the carbon credits so that other projects can meet their ecological impact goals.
Among other green features of the protocol, PRüF plans to incorporate tokenized carbon credits from carbon-capture companies such as EcoWatt into their asset creation process, so that artists and manufacturers alike can create verifiably carbon neutral digital or physical objects, even without being a “blockchain company”.
In a 2018 Wired article, historian and futures thinker Yuval Noah Harari wrote, “If somebody describes to you the world of the mid-21st century and it sounds like science fiction, it is probably false. But then if somebody describes to you the world of the mid 21st-century and it doesn’t sound like science fiction — it is certainly false. We cannot be sure of the specifics, but change itself is the only certainty.”
As artificial intelligence, systemic automation, and the information economy converge with an already noticeable acceleration of innovation and change, forward thinking blockchain projects such as EcoWatt, PRüF, and Celo are well positioned to be key contributors towards the most ecologically beneficial blockchain solutions available to everyone.