The next generation of the internet, Web3, promises to revolutionise our online lives. It represents a new web iteration built on the principle of decentralisation. As a result, it will be designed by people, for people, with our best interests at heart.
Though the shift to Web3 may be an exciting prospect, it must contend with other, bleaker prospects for our long-term future.
The climate time bond is ticking away. Humanity is under enormous pressure to reach net-zero emissions and stop the global temperature rise from breaching 1.5°C. We could be heading towards an uninhabitable planet if temperatures climb any higher.
It stands to reason that Web3 developers and blockchain creators should build with sustainability at the forefront. However, in reality, that isn’t always the case.
The shift to Web3 is a unique moment of intense, fresh development, with the potential to free us from existing, outdated techniques. But whether it will move in an environmentally-friendly direction compatible with reaching net-zero emissions or towards a destructive future is, as of yet, unclear.
What are net-zero emissions?
Burning fossil fuels such as coal and gas produces harmful emissions that alter our climate, causing extreme weather, crop failures, mass extinctions, and disease.
Net-zero emissions are the point at which the amount of emissions we release is in equilibrium with emissions taken out of the atmosphere. We can achieve this by reducing emissions, investing in renewable energy, and protecting natural resources like wetlands and forests that absorb carbon.
In December 2015, over 130 world leaders joined the Paris Agreement to pledge net-zero emissions by 2050 to stop global temperatures from rising above 1.5°C. However, current emission trends could cause anywhere between 2.1-3.9°C warming by the century’s end.
The current state of Web3
While the potential for sustainable development is limitless, the reality falls short. The largest cryptocurrency in the world, Bitcoin, is estimated to use more power globally than many countries, including Argentina, Finland and Chile.
Bitcoin continues to use proof-of-work algorithms to validate transactions on its blockchain, a method that requires an ever-growing amount of energy. The New York Times estimates that bitcoin uses 0.5% of all energy produced across the planet.
Bitcoin’s energy use is close to half-a-percent of all the electricity consumed in the world.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) September 3, 2021
Estimates of the amount of renewable energy used by Bitcoin vary from 30% to 75%. While some Web3 fanatics optimistically believe that cryptocurrency’s huge demand for energy will naturally boost the renewable energy industry, no such trend has emerged. A shortage of renewable energy supply coupled with a “profit over planet” development model, followed by most companies, hasn’t driven sustainable development.
Can a decentralised cloud forge a sustainable future?
The centralised cloud computing we use today to store our photos, contacts, and almost all of our digital assets has a devastating carbon footprint – almost on par with the entire aviation industry.
Cudo Compute offers an environmentally-friendly, decentralised alternative to traditional cloud computing. A significant portion of computing power around the world lies dormant. Cudo Compute harnesses that power, allowing contributors to support sustainable technology and earn passive income.
Using blockchain to improve carbon credits
Offsetting – the practice of balancing higher emissions in one area with lower emissions in another – has received a mixed reception since its debut. It has significant potential to protect and restore the environment to its former glory. However, critics have argued that it doesn’t lower emissions and instead bounces responsibility from one person to the next.
Nevertheless, some industries are slower than others in developing low-carbon technologies, and without offsetting, they wouldn’t be able to cut their emissions. While sustainable solutions are in development, offsetting provides a viable alternative.
We’ve partnered with ClimateTrade and KyotoProtocol.io to help revolutionise carbon credits through blockchain technology. Historically, carbon credit companies have operated in mysterious ways, leading environmental activists and business owners alike to question their effectiveness. Thanks to the nature of blockchain – a public ledger where entries cannot be deleted – and our selected partners, we can guarantee full transparency and accountability.
This service is ideal for large organizations that want to integrate carbon offsetting within their own payment platform. The API is entirely customizable and provides a groundbreaking user experience. 🧑💻
— ClimateTrade (@ClimateTrade) August 18, 2022
Tokenising climate change
Blockchain technology can be used to determine your carbon footprint and track any changes. Self-executing contracts can automatically purchase carbon credits to offset your emissions.
Tokenising renewable energy finally opens an avenue for complete transparency around offsetting. The energy source and its journey to you are well-documented, so you can rest assured you aren’t unwittingly using fossil fuel-derived energy.
Applying the same principle to nature-based solutions, such as planting trees, restoring mangrove forests and protecting wetlands, gives conservation projects a much-needed boost. Despite environmental offsetting costing three to four times as much as energy-based offsetting in recent years, its popularity has surged. It provides a unique opportunity to cut emissions and restore flora and fauna, protecting the planet for future generations.
Blockchain is a distributed, web-based technology that is unrestricted by physical borders. Tokenised carbon credits can have emissions standards and calculations encoded – leaving no room for dishonesty and guaranteeing authentic climate action.
Can Web3 slow down emissions?
With the development of tokenised carbon credits and a growing body of organisations dedicated to fusing blockchain technology and sustainability, Web3 has the potential to revolutionise the way we fight climate change.
A recent study from the European Investment Bank found three-quarters of EU citizens don’t believe their government is doing enough to tackle climate change. Fundamentally, the public does not trust the people elected to protect future generations from the impacts of climate change.
Cryptocurrency investor Adam Draper said, “The blockchain does one thing: it replaces third-party trust with mathematical proof that something happened.”
The transparency that blockchain lends to climate action is invaluable. People are no longer expected to blindly trust governments or organisations that have disappointed them in the past – the proof is in the code.
Ultimately, the direction that Web3 develops is down to its architects. The pattern of destructive development we’ve seen for centuries won’t go away unless we actively move in a different direction – one that is imperative for the future of humanity.
How can you help?
Cudo Compute is our decentralised cloud computing platform, built on the Cudos blockchain. With sustainability at its core, it will eventually support NFTs, the metaverse, big data rendering and much more.
Cudo Compute will enter its early access testing phase in the coming months. Register your interest today if you want to participate and help develop an environmentally friendly and distributed cloud technology.
Cudos is powering the metaverse bringing together DeFi, NFTs, and gaming experiences to realise the vision of a decentralised Web3, enabling all users to benefit from the growth of the network. We’re an interoperable, open platform launchpad that will provide the infrastructure required to meet the 1000x higher computing needs for the creation of fully immersive, gamified digital realities. Cudos is a Layer 1 blockchain, and Layer 2 community-governed compute network, designed to ensure decentralised, permissionless access to high-performance computing at scale. Our native utility token CUDOS is the lifeblood of our network and offers an attractive annual yield and liquidity for stakers and holders.