Can Blockchain Help Our Planet?

The World Economic Forum has released a report outlining how blockchain could potentially solve a number of environmental problems. Identifying 65 use cases in which blockchain can be applied and eight “game-changer” cases for compete disruption of the current approaches, it highlights a set of challenges that need to be addressed and the opportunities that are yet to be unlocked.

Some of the game-changers outlined in the report are:

Circular Economy Incentives

Waste production could benefit from blockchain systems by decreasing in the level of produced waste and the change in attitude based on incentives in the form of reward tokens. One of the characteristics of the blockchain system is its transparency, which would solve the problems of cross-jurisdictional carbon credit trading system.

Decentralised Resource Management

Existing energy grids and water systems can be overhauled with the use of decentralised platforms, says the report, resulting in better design and management of energy generation and clean water production. The decentralised utility platform would also enable a more efficient water and power allocation.

Water systems can be overhauled with the use of decentralised platforms.

Disaster Preparedness and Humanitarian Relief

Automation made possible by smart contracts, another facet of the technology, would allow blockchain to better connect emergency services and improve the effectiveness of humanitarian relief.  

Earth-Management Platforms

New blockchain platforms could also keep track of natural resources through geospatial monitoring. Preservation of endangered species of one such example.

Financing

Environmental players could use blockchain the way startups use crowdfunding, thus gaining access to more capital. Using tokens as tool of financial investment would eliminate the involvement of third parties and turn token holders into stakeholders as opposed to shareholders, resulting in a more efficient process.

Sustainability Monitoring

Because of the inherent transparency, blockchain systems can allow people to monitor claims by governments and private companies, which, in turn, would encourage both to improve their performance and make their practices more sustainable.

Transparent supply chains

Because blockchains keep track of every transaction, companies could demonstrate provenance by fulfilling environmental and sustainable promises and manage their resources to enable such practices. Many countries have already adopted the use of blockchain and are working out the legal regulations governing the use of cryptoassets. Likewise, the space nation Asgardia supports the use of blockchain technology and plans to release its own cryptocurrency in the near future.

The report also sites a number of obstacles blockchain has yet to overcome. Legal issues, privacy and scalability are some of these challenges. As of now, public blockchain systems such as Euthereum are not yet technologically set up to handle the number of transactions per second needed for the above game-changers. Still, the report is optimistic about the blockchain technology and its future applications when it comes to transforming the global environment we share.