Report: Blockchain tech has huge implications for climate change

Blockchain technologies could have a significant negative impact on our fight against climate change, claims a new report.

The study – Decarbonising Bitcoin: Law and Policy Choices for Reducing the Energy Consumption of Blockchain Technologies and Digital Currencies – was published by Dr Jon Truby, assistant professor at Qatar University in Doha, and reveals many of the concerns around blockchain and crypto’s use of energy and its potential consequences.

As one solution, the report proposes using Bitcoin and other digital currencies to fund research and programs that would fight climate change.

Truby says: “The posibilities of blockchain are endless and incentivisation can help solve various climate change issues, such as through the development of digital currencies to fund climate finance programmes.

“This type of public-private finance initiative is envisioned in the Paris Agreement, and fiscal tools can incentivise innovators to design financially rewarding blockchain technology that also achieves environmental goals.”

The study acknowledges the economic and social benefits of Bitcoin, but points out that the environmental harm it poses vastly outweighs these upsides.

“The purpose would not be to harm the industry overall, but to develop sustainable alternatives: this is already happening due to electricity costs, but the greater the value of the product of the technology (such as holding Bitcoin), the greater the incecntive to participate and the worse the harm caused to the environment,” Truby adds.