While Facebook and Google have independently announced that they will be carbon neutral companies by 2030, joining the race that competitors such as Apple and Microsoft have already started, it was the turn of Ripple to decarbonize the XRP Ledger.
This marks the first ever widespread decarbonization of a public blockchain, addressing a significant environmental challenge for blockchain technologies around the world. Due to the naturally distributed nature of blockchain communities and computational processing power, Blockchain technologies have historically faced considerable challenges decarbonizing their energy use.
Blockchains face a dilemma since both energy use and decision-making is largely decentralized. No single individual or organization is in a position to make energy purchasing decisions for an entire blockchain.
The top five energy-consuming blockchains currently use up to 170 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity per year — more than the state of New York. With corporate and government interest in real-world blockchain solutions on the rise, legitimate concerns regarding the associated carbon emissions have been growing.
Ripple is now focused on reducing its carbon emissions by making sustainable choices, buying carbon offsets and investing in carbon removal technologies. And to do so, one of the first initiatives in which Ripple is engaged is a partnership with the Energy Web Foundation,
Energy Web is a nonprofit energy tech company co-founded by Rocky Mountain Institute to accelerating a low-carbon, customer-centric electricity system by unleashing the potential of blockchain and decentralized technologies. EW focuses on open-source, decentralized, digital technology stack — the Energy Web Decentralized Operating System (EW-DOS) — to enable any device, owned by any customer, to participate in any clean energy market.
This initial deployment uses tokenized energy attribute certificates (EACs) or from renewable energy assets to decarbonize the blockchain’s electricity use. Energy Web’s open-source application, called EW Zero, enables individuals, businesses, or in this case an entire blockchain ecosystem to transition to verified zero-carbon electricity by establishing digital identities for real-world assets such as large-scale wind and solar facilities around the world.
To decarbonize the XRP Ledger, EW Zero was used in partnership with 3Degrees, a long-time Energy Web member and specialist in renewable energy, transportation decarbonization, and other climate solutions. Renewables were sourced from the United Kingdom, the United States, and the Philippines to decarbonize the XRP Ledger for a period of one year.
«We’ve reached a major turning point for the blockchain industry. With this announcement we’re turning the ‘blockchains use too much energy’ issue completely on its head by converting entire blockchain networks into direct investors in zero-carbon renewables» . As the world economy transitions to low-carbon energy, we now have in sight the possibility that every transaction, every smart contract, running on any blockchain network worldwide, could be powered 100% by affordable, verified renewable energy with zero emissions.»Walter Kok, CEO of Energy Web
«While the XRP Ledger is already one of the greenest blockchains in the world, we are taking one step further to be the first blockchain that is fully decarbonized thanks to our partnership with Energy Web Foundation.».Bharath Chari at XRP Ledger Foundation
With the XRP Ledger as a starting point, players like Energy Web, XRP Ledger Foundation, and Ripple are calling on other blockchain communities to join the move to being powered by zero-carbon electricity.
«Energy Web and its ecosystem of more than 100 major energy companies globally to make ‘green blockchains’ the new de facto standard for the distributed ledger industry will play a key role in building a sustainable future for all.»Brad Garlinghouse, CEO Ripple
This first EW Zero transaction was completed in fiat. Next, Energy Web plans to enable transactions on EW Zero to take place in the native currency of the blockchain being decarbonized and for anyone in a given blockchain ecosystem to individually purchase renewables for their chain, whether they are a developer, a miner, an end-user, or another ecosystem member.
Energy Web co-founder Rocky Mountain Institute was a key advisor on development of EW Zero and this first transaction.
«Global finance has a vital role to play on the path to achieving a zero-net emissions energy future. Blockchain and digital assets are truly innovative technologies that will fundamentally reshape the future of finance.. Ripple is taking the lead to ensure fintech is part of the effort to build a sustainable world that is not only transformative for banks and consumers, but also beneficial for the planet ».Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of Rocky Mountain Institute
Article: Joana Foglia