How Blockchain Tech is Affecting the Environment

Blockchain technology began with the deployment of Bitcoin. It evolved out of the need for a more secure and fair solution for digital transactions. Today, the uses have evolved beyond that point and are becoming a part of the new solutions regarding environmental issues.

Blockchain technology

What is Blockchain?

A blockchain is best described as an incorruptible digital ledger. While such ledgers might have existed prior to the blockchain, the novel thing here is that it cannot be changed because it’s publicly distributed across a worldwide network.

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This network works on a consensus mechanism, so in order for any transaction to be saved, the network has to reach a consensus on it. The only downside of such a network is the sheer processing power it takes to reach consensus because it’s based on very complex calculations. This means that blockchain technology has issues with scalability and speed. Even with this in mind, its incorruptible nature makes it the best possible solution for many environmental issues.

Benefits of Blockchain Technology

The most exciting aspect of blockchain is in its long-term potential and use in other sectors. The same way Henry Ford got the idea for his moving assembly line from the meat industry, blockchain, that originally started as a means to have safer monetary transactions, is now turning out to be a promising solution to tackle environmental issues such as climate change, water security, and conservation of species.

The blockchain provides a secure platform for digital transfers of not just money, but data. There is no need for third-parties to be involved in the transfer processes, which helps keep data/money safe and tamper-proof – this is the most important aspect when it comes to environmental issues, and here’s how it can be used to improve transparency and help solve pressing environmental matters.

1. Blockchain can be Used to Help Solve Climate Change

Climate change is one of the most debated topics as of late. It is a heated debate because there seems to be disagreement over data and statistics. While most discussions are drawn out over the interpretation of those statistics, there are times when specific data from opposing sides differ, and this is exactly where blockchain technology can help.

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Sometimes the historical records contrast quite substantially and implementing a globally distributed system to standardize data readings and data saving would help resolve such issues. Standardized data is the most obvious reason for implementing an immutable blockchain.

2. Using Blockchain for Cleaner Air

While it can be hard to wrap your mind around the concept at first, cleaner air can be achieved through blockchain too. The most pressing issue right now is air quality monitoring – it’s hard to scale them, they are expensive and data can easily be tampered with.

IBM has developed a “green asset management platform” for the Chinese market to help industries curb their carbon footprint – it’s open source and transparent, and it eliminated the data tampering issue.

3. Blockchain Improves Water Security

A staggering 97% of the world’s water supply is undrinkable salt water, while only a fraction of the remaining 3% of drinkable water is readily accessible. By nature, the value of water for sustaining life makes it a commodity. This leads to the type of water conflicts throughout the world. Invariably, there is a threat of water monopolies forming.

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Blockchain technology helps by providing much-needed transparency here – especially for logging water quality and quantity, as this data is often the most manipulated. In addition, it can also be used when trading any excess water resources to ensure transparency, with smart blockchain based water meters being used to get detailed readings on water supplies.

4. Blockchain Lowers Solar Power Costs

Sun Exchange illustrates precisely how blockchain can improve the environment by linking blockchain to solar power. The company partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to make solar energy more affordable.

By using blockchain technology, solar modules find funding from around globe. Modules are then leased to end users. This significantly reduces the start-up costs of transitioning to clean power.

By streamlining data flows, blockchain aids resource management like water and solar networks. Through transparency and decentralization, all transactions become available for the world to see. This can eliminate corrupt behavior from power structures. Data management now becomes part of households in addition to improving efficiency at the industry level.

The implications of pairing blockchain with environmental efforts are profound. At first, undeveloped regions and conflict areas are likely to see the most dramatic gains. Consider how vested interests from across the globe can raise the standard of living of the human population as a whole. Living a green lifestyle is not just a right but also a duty of every individual. It requires a profound change of ways, and while not easy, it’s something we must work towards together.

Author Jen McKenzie

Jen McKenzie is an independent business consultant from New York. She writes extensively on business, education and human resource topics. When Jennifer is not at her desk working, you can usually find her hiking or taking a road trip with her two dogs. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie

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