Climate change is an existential risk to humanity. With technologies evolving, we are aware of the carbon emissions taking place with the energy expenditure of Proof-of-Work chains. Proof-of-work consumes a tremendous amount of electricity and broader environmental impacts due to manufacturing and disposing of hardware are only beginning to be accounted for. As the world becomes more aware of the dangers of climate change, everyone is looking forward to blockchain technology to focus on reducing carbon emissions. Carbon credits are one thing that can be used to offset emissions, and by tracking them on a blockchain, we can ensure they are being used effectively.
Filecoin is the world’s first Web3 data storage solution that provides transparency for environmental attributes pertaining to carbon offsets. Filecoin Green is an initiative that seeks to make this blockchain carbon-neutral which will, in time, be carbon-negative.
The importance of storage providers to the Filecoin chain is significant. They are the chain’s pillars, designed to offer file storage services to anyone from anywhere. As more storage providers join the chain, the energy consumption of the network increases, but much of this energy is expended to provide a useful resource: storage capacity.
Filecoin network’s infrastructure is designed in such a manner that makes it easier to measure energy consumption 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 infrastructure design and allows anyone to estimate the energy use of any node in the network. This provides greater transparency and accountability regarding carbon storage.
Knowing the electricity use of Filecoin nodes, it is possible to match this use to renewable energy certificates (RECs). Renewable 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.
Once the environmental impact is traced and determined, the next step is to reduce and compensate for it. This can be done via different ways of obtaining energy from renewable sources, some of which are geothermal, solar, sustainably sourced biomass, hydropower, or wind energy sources. However, the end goal is to mitigate energy grid emissions. Certain renewable energy sourcing methods are preferred by Filecoin Green and are sorted by their effectiveness in reducing emissions. These are self-generation, direct procurement such as Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), Energy Attribute Certificate (EAC) purchases, and green electricity products such as Green Tariffs (GTs).
Filecoin is becoming a green blockchain. Its proof-of-useful-work consensus algorithm is based on valuable output and avoids wasteful energy consumption that drives simple proof-of-work blockchains. Altogether, the blockchain and Web3 economy can become an important player in renewable energy and drive objective, actionable change towards sustainability. Due to its inherent technological advantage of a better infrastructure, it can even outpace traditional companies in their efforts towards fighting climate change.
Filecoin Green has held the torch and is marching towards a sustainable environment. By taking steps towards measuring environmental impacts and reducing them, the network is already leading the way among most blockchain projects.