Much of the conversation around blockchain technology and climate issues has focused on the energy expenditure of Proof of Work chains. Little, however, has been said of how the development of Web3 will enable more transparent tracking and accountability for green technologies. Filecoin wants to be at the forefront of that change and Filecoin Green is an initiative that seeks to make its blockchain carbon-neutral and, in time, carbon negative. Moreover, it hopes to play a part in getting others to do so as well.
Filecoin’s Role in a Greener Present and Future
Most users understand how critical storage providers are to the Filecoin chain. They are at the center of an island economy designed to offer file storage services to anyone from anywhere. As more storage providers come onto the chain the energy use of the network does increase, but much of this energy is expended to provide a useful resource: storage capacity.
In this sense, Filecoin is already playing a part in becoming a green blockchain. Its proof-of-useful-work consensus algorithm is based on valuable output and avoids all the wasteful energy consumption that drives simple proof-of-work blockchains.
The Power of Web3 in Building Better Solutions
This is coupled with the fact that the network’s infrastructure also makes it easier to measure energy use compared to other major blockchains. On Filecoin, miners and storage providers have unique identities associated with their activity on the network. That activity can be used to model electricity consumption using on-chain information. The filecoin.energy dashboard uses this Filecoin design feature to raise the bar for energy transparency across Web2 and Web3 alike, allowing anyone to estimate the energy use of any node in the network.
Knowing the electricity use of Filecoin nodes, it is possible to match this use to renewable energy. This was demonstrated in a partnership with Energy Web Zero to match Filecoin energy use with renewable energy certificates (RECs). Renewables purchases are recorded in Filrep, a reputation system that stores data on the Filecoin network. Each record keeps track of where the energy was produced and proves the ownership of the corresponding RECs.
Filecoin and the Crypto Climate Accord
Another step Filecoin is taking towards building greener solutions is joining the Crypto Climate Accord. Modeled after the Paris Climate Accord, the CCA is a joint effort between stakeholders in the crypto and blockchain space that have come together to reduce the technology’s carbon footprint. The agreement hopes to decarbonize the crypto space by 2040 and ensure the industry is next-zero for carbon emissions by 2030.
The CCA has developed a three-pronged approach to ensure this becomes a reality:
- It establishes a baseline for renewable energy use within the crypto space
- It encourages the development of open-source tools that help to decarbonize mining
- It enables the sharing of measurable progress and additional assistance when needed in meeting objectives.
The Filecoin Foundation and Protocol Labs have joined the CCA to support this work, and are playing an active role in realizing its mission. This includes developing the filecoin.energy dashboard and helping to support the Energy Web Zero platform for purchasing renewable energy. In this effort, Filecoin is both pioneering open source tools and developing a playbook that can be used by other currencies to decarbonize.
The Road Ahead
Altogether, the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry can become an important player in renewable energy and drive objective, actionable change towards sustainability. Due to its inherent technological advantages, it can even outpace traditional companies in their efforts towards fighting climate change.
Filecoin Green is sure to play its role in this. By taking steps towards measuring environmental impacts and reducing them, the network is already leading the way among most blockchain projects.
To learn more about Filecoin Green and its involvement in building greener blockchain solutions be sure to watch the Filecoin Orbit playlist on the topic.