Most people have heard of Bitcoin, but have only a vague idea of what it really is. The same for “cryptocurrency, ” although Blockchain is even less understood.
Cryptocurrency is often referred to erroneously as “Bitcoin.” However, just as not all cars are Mercedes Benz, not all cryptocurrency is Bitcoin. In fact, there are an estimated 1600+ types of cryptocurrency.
So what is cryptocurrency? Simply put, it’s a type of decentralized money—that is, not issued by a particular bank or country. It is generated, exchanged, and tracked through the creation of blockchains.
Blockchains, the technology that makes cryptocurrencies workable, are strings of transactions (or ledgers) that show how a particular unit of cryptocurrency has traveled from owner to owner through the system. Blockgeeks has a really good write-up on Blockchain Technology, if you’re interested in digging deeper.
But what are the implications of this technology? This is an important question for tech investors; getting in on the ground floor of new tech that then booms has turned many into millionaires.
Cryptocurrency and Charity Giving
One of the myriad of ways that organizations are trying to capitalize on crytocurrency is through charity giving, but what are the implications? This is something that charities worldwide are currently trying to figure out. As more people adopt cryptocurrencies, they want to use those currencies for purchases and donations, so charities that accept donations in cryptocurrencies will be attractive to these early adopters. And, as numerous news stories have pointed out, some of the people who have made fortunes in cryptocurrencies now have money to spare and many are eager to donate it to charities.
The appeal of cryptocurrency is its transparency. Every time a unit of cryptocurrency changes hands, it is recorded in the blockchain ledger that can be tracked and traced. Each cryptocurrency unit is unique, so a person who donates a unit of cryptocurrency can actually see when that unit is spent by the recipient, and what it is spent on.
Since a big concern of charity donors is that their donations are spent to actually help people, this transparency could greatly enhance the trust donors have in particular charities and make them more willing to give. On the other hand, everyone wants to think that their particular donation is going directly to helping people, and are less excited about the idea that the actual dollar they gave being spent to pay the electric bill or the salary of the charity’s CEO. So this transparency can be a powerful benefit, but is also something charities will have to wrestle with.
However, using cryptocurrencies have some disadvantages. Although they’re decentralized, and thus assumed to have global value, this is far from the truth. For example, compared to the U.S. buying Bitcoin in India generally has a 20% premium. Why?
Cryptocurrencies—well, pretty much anything—is only worth what someone will pay for it. To some, the decentralization of Bitcoin is worth far more than to others. -And, the basic economic principles of supply and demand don’t hold true, here. There’s a finite amount of cryptocurrency, with no regulation as to how much it’s worth, which makes using it for chartiable donations a questionable option.
Moving Beyond Bitcoin to CleanTech
That doesn’t mean crytocurrencies have no use other than to move money around, but what does all this have to do with cleantech investing, one of the main things Dr. Schindler works with?
Recently, Dr. Schindler was selected to the advisory board Climatecoin, a cryptoasset carbon-credit company. More correctly called a “token,” a single Climatecoin COs token equals one carbon credit.
Climatecoin, under the umbrella of Climate Blockchain Corporation, aims to take sustainable responsibility to a broader level. The ultimate goal is to “democratize the carbon system, as we want to make it possible for anyone in the world to be able to do something for the survival of our planet…” In other words, to be the world’s first Carbon-Neutral Cryptocurrency.
-And thanks to Bitcoin, there’s a much bigger need for them. According to Power Compare, Bitcoin takes a lot of energy. In fact, Bitcoin mining takes up at least .13% of the worlds energy consumption: the equivalent of 159 countries. Nigeria uses less energy.
While it doesn’t look like cryptocurrency is going anywhere any time soon (except up, as the technology grows), other eco-friendly solutions are coming to the top, and the call to make cryptocurrency more sustainable is getting louder.
For investors, the trumpets are loud and clear. It’s not so much a matter of finding crypto-technologies to invest in, so much as it’s a matter of finding the right ones.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency are still in their infancies, and much work will be required to ensure that both are as stable and secure as they are promised to be. But it is not too soon for charities, eco-friendly businesses and investors to begin considering how they can make use of these technologies and be ready to jump in to this strange new world when the time is right.