From Cryptokitty To Barking Dog: How Blockchain Is Helping Sustainability Efforts
Some of the brightest minds in the blockchain space gathered at Sir Richard Branson’s Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco to discuss, and implement, solutions that could save our planet. The Bitfury Group and ACTAI Global’s Fourth Annual Blockchain Summit was forced to relocate from its usual destination of Necker Island after the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma became a reality.
Bill Tai of the Bitfury Group and the man who conceptualized the Blockchain Summit four years ago, saw it as an opportunity. Instead of shifting locations to a randomly chosen destination, the event should be hosted somewhere that made sense in the context of the important conversations being had.
Branson’s Kasbah, located in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, is the backdrop for this year’s summit.
“These regions are cradles of innovation, home to communities with the ambition and perspective to solve some of the oldest (and newest) challenges facing our world today,” CEO of the Bitfury Group Valery Vavilov wrote of the event.
“Working together, we have one goal - to bring global leaders from every sector to the table to speak openly about our greatest challenges and take meaningful steps to fix them,” Vavilov said.
“We think blockchain technology is a crucial part of that story.”
There’s no doubt Africa and the Middle East present their own set of issues that require a fresh set of eyes. But rose-coloured glasses aside, in what ways is blockchain creating consequential change?
Sustainable Applications Of Blockchain
During a panel titled ‘Saving the Planet (A Bit at a Time)’ summit participants reported back on a brainstorming session around blockchain technology as a solution for issues of our time.
Sustainable supply chains were presented as an opportunity for blockchain to provide transparency -- a feature that’s currently missing and preventing many consumers, who have the best of intentions, from making considered choices.
“Blockchain enables the consumer to make educated choices,” Gigi Brisson, founder and CEO of Ocean Elders, told the Blockchain Summit in Morocco.
“As a consumer, I can see who fished that fish, where they got it, if it was reported, if it was legal. As a consumer, I can start supporting those companies and those people I want to support”
“I can support the products and companies that I feel good about. It’s the transparency that is missing. People want to make the right choices, and blockchain enables that. That will be an explosion and a turning point for many businesses.”
Renewable energy and carbon credit trading was also raised by attendees. Power Ledger advisor Maria Atkinson noted that 40 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings, and that figure rises to 70 percent in cities. The solution presented was to connect buildings power supplies via the blockchain and enable trading between buildings.
“It’s a huge step in decarbonizing our economy as well as democratizing our power supply,” Atkinson said.
In regards to carbon credits, the blockchain enables efficient, verified and accurate tracking of the credits while also helping to eliminate the double counting problem -- an issue often associated with the carbon credits system. It’s not just a pipe dream, either. Pilot projects are already being developed, including one in conjunction with Silicon Valley Power in California’s biggest multi-storey parking facility.
From Cryptokitty To Barking Dog
A number of initiatives have already come to fruition at the Blockchain Summit including Honu, a Cryptokitty designed specifically for the summit.
Before any eye-rolling ensues, consider the potential benefit for charities this one-of-a-kind and valuable blockchain-born asset presents.
Honu was created in partnership with ACTAI Global and Ocean Elders as a charity application of blockchain technology, the proceeds of which will go towards ocean conservation.
“Like the other CryptoKitties, Honu represents a one of a kind piece of digital art living exclusively on the Ethereum blockchain,” said Cassidy Robertson, head of Kitties-for-Good, CryptoKitties’ charitable initiative.
“We are so excited to see Honu in the wild—one part activist, telling stories of our endangered friends, and another part pop culture icon, stealing the spotlight to combine both worlds for greater good,” Robertson continued.
“Honu is the very first in a lineage of CryptoKitty icons representing the charities and causes they embody.”
Honu is being auctioned off from July 9th to July 15th in a charity fundraiser at the Blockchain Summit.
Bidding is currently over $25,000.
On July 9 while at the summit, Bill Tai announced an initiative called Barking Dog -- a reference to the “most basic way to identify and protect one’s property” -- to assist national governments with land recognition.
“Over the past three years, we’ve catalyzed that community to apply blockchain technology to social, financial, economic and environmental good. Among the earliest and most potent applications we found for blockchain technology was land titling,” Tai said.
“Without clarity in title, assets would always remain ‘dead capital’ and great inefficiencies would always prevent them from being connected to the economy.”
Founder of Nima Capital, Suna Said believes trying to imagine what’s going to happen in one, five or 10 years from now is impossible, “but it’s exciting to be part of that moment”.
And she’s right. As with any technology, we can’t just sit back and expect blockchain to be a magical panacea by its mere existence. Its success, or failure, depends entirely on how humans choose to apply it. The values and ethics that drive its application are what really counts.
But if the discussions and projects announced at the Blockchain Summit are a sign of things to come, the future is anything but bleak.
Dr. Jemma Green is the Chair & Co-founder of PowerLedger.io and a researcher and speaker on the enterprise disruption caused by blockchain technology. Disclosure: I own Bitcoin and POWR.