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Blockchain Can Help Protect the Environment

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Today is World Environment Day, while the current pandemic has definitely made the world pause and evaluate what we have been doing for the past ten, twenty, thirty or so years. While there are many things that we could do to improve sustainability, one very significant thing in the tech world is Blockchain technology. Previously tarnished by the misconception that Blockchain required more energy than it could produce, here are some of the ways that Blockchain can actually help to protect the environment. 

Also, check out the TedTalks from Dr. Mike Troilo on Sustainability and Blockchain at the bottom of this page

  • Supply chain management, the blockchain is like a database and can help information such as whether a product has been ethically sourced available. Stopping companies from being able to easily lie about the origins and journey of a product. By making supply chains more transparent, Blockchain can help to prevent waste, fraud, inefficiency and unethical practices. 

  • The blockchain can help to make consumers aware of how the product was made and shipped so that they can make more environmentally friendly decisions. This can be done through Bockchain apps such as FoodTrax. One thing which we can also think about is apps which show us bakers and restaurants that has leftover food (this is very popular in London), although they require physical input and do not use Blockchain it is the same philosophy. 

  • Traditional power grids are centralised which can create inefficiency in energy distribution. A peer to peer energy-based Blockchain system would reduce the need to transfer energy over long distances, ultimately being more efficient and wasting less energy. Unlike power grids which are often owned by the government or large companies, the Blockchain would allow people to directly invest in renewable energy installations in their area. 

  • Currently, Recycling programs rely on goodwill alone and there is no monetary incentive but Blockchain can change that a Recycling program on the Blockchain would encourage participation by giving a financial reward! - In the form of a cryptographic token. 

  • Blockchain will make it easier to track the real impact and compliance of environmental treaties. Helping to stop the manipulation of data because once data is input to the Blockchain it is there forever.

  • The Blockchain can help us to track the carbon footprint of each individual product and protect the tracked data from tampering, and it can be used to figure out the amount of carbon tax at the exact point of sale. If products with a larger carbon footprint were more expensive to buy this would encourage consumers to buy lower impact products.

  • A Blockchain-based reputation system could also give each company a score based on the product's carbon footprint.

  • Blockchain will make sure that money intended to go to charities will go to the correct parties instead of getting distributed to different pockets along the way. The Blockchain also allows money to be transferred without bank accounts, which is good for people in countries that do not have good banking infrastructure. Blockchain can remove the middlemen or centralised authorities.

  • Blockchain technology can help both individuals and companies to see the real impact of their actions and encourage them to take the actions which benefit the environment.

 

 Dr. Mike Troilo talks about Blockchain Technology and Sustainable Development

The positives as well as the downsides of blockchain technology and sustainable development. Mike Troilo, Ph. D.,is the Wellspring Associate Professor of International Business in the Collins College of Business at the University of Tulsa. His research focus on the effects of institutions including rule of law on entrepreneurial activity across countries, particularly in transition economies such as China. He worked as a consultant to the United Nations in the Asia-Pacific region, and he received a Fulbright grant to study economic development in Portugal. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx.

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