The last few months have seen an incredible explosion in creative expression - the beginning of the second renaissance - through NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and more widely the crypto space; and yet there are some significant environmental challenges to overcome.
Ethereum pioneered the concept of a smart contract blockchain, launching its Mainnet in 2015, and now has an incredibly mature ecosystem of creatives and developers, a large number of active users, is widely decentralised and incredibly secure.
Decentralisation is a core value of Ethereum culture and is reflected in its ecosystem. It’s incredibly important for blockchains to maintain decentralisation. Ethereum currently has thousands of nodes in many locations around the world.
Ethereum also has a mature ecosystem of creatives and developers. There are currently hundreds of dApps (decentralised applications) being built on the Ethereum ecosystem, from DeFi (decentralised Finance) protocols such as Aave, to games like Gods Unchained. There are thousands of developers in the community and a recently hosted a Hackathon practically doubled the number of total NFT projects over a single weekend. This is a thriving space to be a developer and a creative.
However; Ethereum's current method of consensus - PoW (Proof of work) consumes vast amount of energy - estimates are: as much as a nation state. There are two challenges to solve here. For crypto, and civilisation as a whole. Energy source and Energy efficiency.
To avoid catastrophic climate change, and irreversible damage to our ecosystems, civilisation needs to rapidly transition from its dependency upon fossil fuels to 100% renewable energy. Whilst progress is being made, it must be much quicker. The crypto community is collectively taking on this challenge; and action has been recently focussed through the Crypto Climate Accord - which we fully support. This will move the entire Crypto industry to 100% renewable energy over the coming years. This is incredible and far quicker than many other industries! Something to celebrate!
The second - energy efficiency, will be solved by transitioning to more efficient systems - from PoW (proof of work) to PoS (proof of stake). PoW blockchains currently use miners to valid the network and provide security through brute force computation. This method consumes vast amounts of energy, creates e-waste over the long term and is vulnerable to the whim of the miners. Ethereum is currently rolling out the transition from Ethereum 1.0 (PoW) to Ethereum 2.0 - a proof-of-stake consensus blockchain, which is a multi stage process towards an exceedingly more energy efficient (possibly 10,000x more), more secure, more decentralised; and much higher volume, faster and cheaper transactions ecosystem - as detailed by Vitalik Buterin (founder of Ethereum) in his blog post.
Million year mindset
Everything we do has an impact. We are part of nature, not separate from it. We believe all value creation should be holistic; and as such, will be offsetting the emissions created through our platform, and partnering with organisations to preserve and protect our home; the blue pearl, in the vast cosmic ocean.
We will be transitioning to Ethereum PoS as soon as it’s feasible - there are several possible options for this in the short to medium term that we are actively exploring, whilst Ethereum fully upgrades to 2.0. This will allow us to increase our environmental efforts - potentially off-setting as much as 100x the emissions created through our platform and be involved with more projects to help restore our home; restoration of our planet goes beyond just carbon emissions. This will also facilitate higher volume, faster and cheaper transactions for all.
Our goal is to play gracefully on planet Earth, with a million year mindset, ensuring ecosystems such as the incredibly biodiverse Coral reefs - that have been present in a stable climate for over a million years - thrive into the future for generations to come. This is what sustainability means.
Beautiful creations shouldn’t cost the Earth.