Fighting Pollution One Block at a Time
Pollution happens when nature cannot destroy something without hurting itself, meaning anything it did not create. Fossil fuels, radioactivity, methane gas, plastic, toxic chemicals—once dumped, these things sit in nature, in the sky or ground or water, damaging the environments they now occupy.
Pollution is one of the most dangerous and imminent threats facing the world today. Clean freshwater is crucial for all life on earth, but World Wildlife Fund reports that 1.1 billion people lack access to necessary water, and 2.4 billion people don’t have sufficient sanitation. Likewise, carbon emissions trapped in the atmosphere contribute to acid rain and retain the sun’s energy, which causes the temperature below to heat up—the phenomenon we call global warming.
Renewable resources, like solar energy, exist—the hard part is making them mainstream. Fortunately, there are two companies working on reducing pollution: ImpactPPA and Fr8Network. How are they doing so? With the power of blockchain technology.
The Benefits of Blockchain
Wait—isn’t blockchain the technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin? It is indeed, but it can be applied in many more creative and innovative ways. Blockchain creates a transparent and public ledger that records all transactions made over its system, making them unalterable. Due to its unprecedented transparency (all parties can view transaction histories), it deters both fraud and double-spending. Why hack when someone can detect suspicious activity the moment it happens?
Blockchain is also decentralized, meaning that information is stored in multiple places. Centralized systems rely on servers to store information, but what happens if a natural disaster happens, or something as simple as water spills on a laptop? All of that information is destroyed. With blockchain, computers working as “nodes” on a peer-to-peer network monitor the system rather than a singular entity, so information is kept safe and accessible through multiple sources.
The peer-to-peer network and transparency also eliminate the need for intermediaries to verify transactions. As transactions happen, they are stored in a linear procession of “blocks” (hence the name). Because participants can see their transactions (and in chronological order), they can hold one another accountable rather than using third-party verification and oversight.
Impact PPA’s Funding of Renewable Energy Projects
Impact PPA is an Ethereum-based decentralized energy platform that is designed to revolutionize the global energy finance industry. By using blockchain technology, it brings together consumers and capital in a direct, expedient, and responsive way. As legacy financial institutions are one of the biggest impediments to spreading renewable resources, blockchain helps Impact PPA circumnavigate costs, infrastructure, and bureaucracy to efficiently provide clean energy to impoverished people globally.
Centralized NGOs and government agencies have created a bottleneck for progress by establishing a tedious financial system that requires years for proposals to become products, and for products to become implemented. As ImpactPPA defines its mission in its white paper:
ImpactPPA is creating a decentralized energy platform, which disrupts and reimagines the energy funding process by decentralizing Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) and eliminating layers of intermediaries between the funding and consumption of energy. The process is fully scalable. The smallest village, a single entrepreneur, or a government utility company—all may access the global platform quickly and easily, accelerating the electrification of remote areas and the transition away from fossil fuels.
ImpactPPA helps anyone fund clean energy projects. With blockchain cutting out the middlemen, people don’t need to go through NGOs or agencies to implement their ideas anymore. ImpactPPA’s partners specialize in renewable energy so project applicants don’t need to be experts in renewable energy creation.
How Fr8 Network Reduces Fossil Fuel Usage
The supply industry is rife with inefficiency and waste. Trucks drive almost thirty billion miles every year partially filled or outright empty, despite the demand for more and more drivers and vehicles. Trucks are also difficult to keep track of (unlike trains, which had a much more limited number and set routes during their prime), so brokers are encouraged to schedule routes regardless of necessity.
Fr8 Network’s white paper details how the company created “platform for shippers, carriers, and brokers to place and track orders, compare prices, assess performance, buy insurance, and set payment and credit. Add decentralized apps, blockchain encryption, and a new ‘utility token,’ and you can wipe out billions of unnecessary costs.” Essentially, Fr8 Network is a blockchain-based platform that makes trucking similar to a ride-sharing service: drivers can search for jobs, carry loads, and then search for new suppliers in their drop off areas. This way, trucks are never empty, and a lot less gas is wasted on driving unnecessary miles.
Their white paper also notes that capturing just half of the currently underutilized capacity would reduce freight truck emissions by 100 million tons each year (which is about 20 percent of all freight emissions in the United States), and it would decrease diesel expenditures for carriers by over $30 billion per year.
Solutions to reducing pollution are obstructed by bureaucracy and unnecessary financial structures. Blockchain’s transparency, security, decentralization, and ability to eliminate intermediaries can help with that, decreasing pollution and increasing the rate at which clean energy is implemented.
Can you think of other ways that blockchain technology might be used to help combat pollution? Let us know in the comments below.
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