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Blockchain , Innovation & Environment- THE NEW FUTURE

By

Ronald M. Steyer*


In the ever-evolving world of technology, buzzwords come and go, but few have captured the imagination quite like "blockchain" and "web3". At their core, these terms represent a new frontier in how we think about and interact with the digital realm. Let's break them down in simple terms.


Imagine a ledger, much like the one your grandparents might have used to keep track of their finances. This ledger is transparent, secure, and can't be tampered with. Every time a transaction is made, it's recorded in this ledger for everyone to see. That, in essence, is what blockchain is—a digital ledger that records transactions across many computers in such a way that the recorded transactions cannot be altered retroactively. It's like a digital chain of blocks (hence the name), where each block is a record, and the chain is the history of all those records. This ensures transparency, security, and trustworthiness.

Now, enter "web3". If the internet we've known so far (with our emails, websites, and social media) is considered "web2", then web3 is the next chapter. It's a decentralized version of the internet, driven by blockchain technology.


Instead of being mere passengers on a train driven by a few tech giants, in web3, users become the drivers. It's akin to transitioning from being a spectator in a movie theater to directing your own film. In this new digital realm, you have the reins over your data, your identity, and your transactions, all anchored securely by the foundational blockchain.

While these concepts might sound futuristic or even outlandish to some, they represent a paradigm shift in the way we approach digital trust and ownership. And as we'll explore, they hold immense potential for driving social and environmental change in ways we're only beginning to understand.



Image Courtesy: Image By Freepik



Decentralization: The Need, The Challenges, and The Promise


In an increasingly globalized world, the challenges we face are monumental. From climate change to social transformation, the scale and complexity of these issues demand solutions that are not just effective but also agile and inclusive. Centralized systems, while having their merits, often fall short, either due to inefficiency or sheer non-existence. The high expectations placed on decentralized management stem from its potential to uplift individuals and coordinate communities, bypassing the bottlenecks of centrally governed organizations. If we continue to wait for top-down solutions, we risk losing the race against time, especially in tackling mega-challenges such as incentivising the transition to a low-carbon economy and society.


The essence of what we need is clear: decentralized empowerment where individuals, though autonomous, can act in a coordinated manner.


Giveth.io is a great example of how blockchain can change charitable donations. It creates a community-based donation platform without any fees, linking local projects to funding, guaranteeing that each donation has a meaningful outcome. The platform not only verifies projects to maximise the impact of donations, but also rewards donors, making philanthropy more engaging and transparent. Using its individual token system, Giveth.io allows donors to have a voice in choosing which projects get funding and participation, making charitable giving more participatory.


Another project, Niftys, a collaboration between ixo and SupaMoto, is harnessing the power of blockchain to address environmental challenges. They produce blockchain-native digital carbon credits in almost real-time by creating digital twins of real-world devices, such as cooking stoves. This not only increases transparency and reliability in the carbon credit system but also makes it accessible to everyone. By enabling people to finance or adopt a stove, they can directly support carbon offsetting and monitor their effects in a transparent manner.

Both these projects, though still budding, exemplify the transformative potential of decentralized technology.

Critics might be quick to move on to the next big thing, like AI, but it's premature to write off blockchain and decentralized technology. Its potential is evident, especially in the realm of social transformation. As the technology becomes more refined and user-friendly, its integration will become so seamless that users might not even realize the decentralized mechanisms working in the background, empowering them and enhancing their control over their digital assets. It is important to carefully consider these developments, taking into account past mistakes that were caused by lack of knowledge and an excessive desire for profit. However, there is no doubt that this technology has potential. There are areas where this technology can be sensibly applied, and people who are exploring these fields.

They serve as beacons, illuminating the path for future innovators and reinforcing the belief that blockchain can indeed be a force for social and environmental good.



The future is now: A Call to Innovators

In the wide range of technological progress, blockchain and decentralized systems are only one small part, but they have a significant potential impact. As we have seen in pioneering projects like Giveth.io and Niftys, transformational seeds have been planted. Nevertheless, these seeds need the tender care of innovators, thinkers, and dreamers to grow into a forest of change. The development community should remember to not be affected by short-term trends or setbacks as it is important to stay focused on their goals. Let's focus on the future and acknowledge the significant impact this technology can have. By collaborating, innovating and iterating, we can ensure that the promise of blockchain and web3 is realised to its full potential. The problems we face today are huge. However, if we work together and view technology with a positive and constructive eye, we can create solutions that will resonate for generations to come.


The future is moving towards decentralization, and it is calling out to us.
Would you respond to this call?

*Ronald M. Steyer is currently a technical advisor for digitalisation in a German international development institution.

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