Supporting Sustainability for Web3
Many people are under the impression that crypto is bad for the environment. Bitcoin and its POW algorithm, which has led many to build entire warehouses to mine Bitcoin, has contributed to the perception that blockchain and crypto as a whole are damaging to the environment. Even though there are many blockchains working to improve environmental impact and reduce this negative perception, there are still ways that we can improve upon it further.
Currently, companies wanting to take traditional Web2 data and combine that with blockchain data are forced to go through multiple gateways and third parties, creating lots of compute and slowing runtimes. This creates two big problems: the data has to be duplicated and held on the blockchain as well as a Web2 server, and then a third party as mentioned above has to then do analytics on the new blockchain data. Does that sound complicated and resource intensive to you? It sure does to me. On the other hand, if you want to create an application that's truly decentralized, you have to store all of its data on-chain, which is compute expensive. Space and Time enables developers to analyze data from both on-chain and off-chain sources and only put the results that matter on-chain, saving runtime... and the environment. No duplicated data, only provable results. To use the antiquated expression, SxT is killing two birds with one stone.
If you have been around the Web3 space for a while, you likely have heard of Solana. Solana uses POS rather than POW, allowing it to transact faster and far more efficiently. Due to this efficiency, the Solana chain is also one of the most environmentally friendly chains. The Solana chain produces an annual carbon footprint of 10,007 tons of CO2. This number sounds high, but when compared to the 18 largest banks in the U.S. producing 1.968 billion tons of CO2 annually, it's actually miniscule. Comparing these two may seem odd, of course the largest 18 banks will produce a lot of emissions. However if we dig further and look at the number of transactions in these banks and compare them against Solana, we start to see the whole picture. There were about ~39.6 billion combined purchase transactions at the banks in 2019. Compare this to the ~10 billion transactions yearly on Solana and we get the Solana chain producing a fraction of the CO2 annually produced by these banks for a quarter of the transactions. For reference Solana produces ~0.000508% of the CO2 the banks do.
Let's delve a little deeper, what if we wanted to analyze blockchain transactions against the banks? Or, furthermore, stop the requirement for some of this blockchain data to be stored on-chain at all? As stated above, joining this Web3 blockchain data and this Web2 bank data would require a lot of third party programs and a lot of computational power—that is unless you were using Space and Time. By using Space and Time, this off-chain data never has to be loaded onto the chain, instead the data can be handled as it is. Only the aggregation and analytics result of the data are loaded on-chain—all proved by Space and Time's Proof of SQL. More efficient than ever, and eco-friendly.
For another example of blockchain for sustainability, let us look at Hyundai and Kia’s new monitoring system built on the Hedera network. Hedera has managed to make their transactions 170x more energy efficient than Solana. Given everything already said about Solana above, this is an impressive number to be sure. However, Hedera is a “standard” Web3 blockchain; meaning that the data in the network must all be connected to the cloud. That blockchain data must all be stored somewhere in addition to the Web2 data it comes from being stored somewhere else. With Space and Time, that data can all be stored in one place, meaning less hard drive waste, and less refurbishing of the disks this data is on. Similar to our Solana example, less data to handle will naturally lead to less environmental impact. Especially with something as detrimental as hard drive waste, where the effects of disposal include: the release of toxic chemicals and particulate, the loss of rare earth metals, and the loss of engineered parts, making this extremely advantageous for the environment and the consumer.
There is also the example of the climate action data trust. The goal of the CAD Trust is to link all major carbon credit registry data to increase transparency. By using blockchain, they aim to create a decentralized record of carbon emissions. There are currently thirty participating organizations, as well as eleven national governments. For example the government of Singapore has pledged to reduce emissions by 36% by 2030 and their data is currently being stored on the CAD Trust chain. How can the CAD Trust chain itself be more environmentally friendly? With Space and Time of course. By joining blockchain data with the off-chain data generated from governments and organizations, the CAD can identify and understand opportunities for better sustainability… and do so in a sustainable way.
Blockchain has a bad reputation when it comes to sustainability, but Web3 is working to solve it. Many projects have switched to a POS algorithm or some variation that allows for far less energy to be used. A chain like Solana handles ~25% as many transactions as major banks while producing a staggering ~0.000508% as many carbon emissions. There are also projects like the CAD Trust that allow for greater transparency overall in climate data. With Space and Time, this efficiency and transparency is only increased, and leads to a greener future. Overall, the blockchain has the capability to be just as or more environmentally friendly as any other transaction and data storage method. It is simply up to how blockchain is used. By using Space and Time, these blockchain technologies can be made more environmentally friendly than ever before. No duplicate data, no third parties, no unnecessary gas on-chain.