Today, Wednesday, April 22nd, is Earth Day 2020, an international day dedicated to the environment and the planet in which we live.
How is the crypto sector, and especially the blockchain, involved in this initiative?
First of all, Virtual Earth Day 2020 was set up by the non-profit organization Blockchain for Social Impact Coalition (BSIC), scheduled for today, and which celebrates Earth Day by revealing the winning teams of the Decentralized Impact Incubator 2020.
This incubator brings together a global community of developers, entrepreneurs, students and creators and supports them in creating social enterprises that use innovative solutions to address some of the most serious problems facing our planet.
The Incubator has already attracted over 1,200 participants from over 120 locations, focusing on reliable hardware solutions, mechanisms for democracy, sustainable agriculture and refugee support.
However, the blockchain industry is not only involved in today’s Earth Day celebrations. There are several initiatives that seek to harness these new technologies for the climate or environmental purposes.
One of the most promising areas is the market for certificates covering carbon emissions or renewable energy.
For example, the Energy Web Foundation (EWF) in Zurich is a non-profit organization that is trying to build an open-source blockchain platform for these markets, called Origin, considering this technology suitable to reduce transaction costs, increase the number of participants, and accelerate the transition to a cleaner, more resilient and more affordable energy market.
The goal is to create a peer-to-peer marketplace between producers and consumers, allowing buyers to express their preferences regarding sources and areas of production.
Another initiative in this regard is the Carbon Grid Protocol which aims to develop a protocol to allow blockchain networks and dApps to efficiently access carbon credits so that users can offset their emissions.
The energy sector is by far one of the most involved in experiments that want to take advantage of blockchain and distributed ledgers.
For example, the largest energy producer in the US, NRG Energy, is considering using these technologies to standardize the data it collects state by state, considering that currently, the various entities involved have different databases and processing systems, which are very expensive to maintain.
A distributed ledger, on the other hand, would allow for unambiguous data records, secure information transfers, impossible duplication, and therefore cost savings.
In Australia, Power Ledger is using DLT to allow residents to exchange electricity produced by their own solar power plants, in order to promote this renewable energy source and local production.
Other similar projects are WePower, SunContract and Restart Energy, with the common aim of creating a middlemen-free energy market.
The renewable energy sector is also actively involved. For example, the Blockchain for Climate Foundation is a non-profit association that wants to bring the Paris agreement on the blockchain to facilitate cross-border collaboration and investment in emission reduction, but there are also many other initiatives in this specific area.
Although not all of these initiatives are already succeeding, the fact that there are many trials underway reveals that there is potential for many people to use distributed ledgers to solve, in an innovative way, problems related in particular to energy production and consumption, with all the resulting climate and environmental problems.
To date, there is not yet a case of clear and evident success that would suggest that this is a viable way forward on a global scale, but it is only since 2018 that work has begun in this direction.