New cryptoasset, GreenCoin, incentivizes reduced carbon emissions

A new p2p, cryptographically secure digital asset, GreenCoin, has set its sights on arguably one of the biggest problems facing humanity: anthropogenically induced climate change.

Specifically, GreenCoin is attempting to solve the global carbon emission problem by providing financial incentives to those who significantly reduce carbon emissions, because apparently, leaving future generations with a habitable environment isn’t enough incentive. It has been live and paying out for nearly 50 days.

The idea is that government regulations and taxes on carbon emission are often harmful to the economy, and successfully reducing global carbon emissions would require close collaboration between all world governments (which is unlikely to happen), so instead, GreenCoin aims to provide a voluntary, market-based solution to the problem of carbon emission.

“GreenCoin presents a mechanism by which an open market can collectively price and trade carbon emissions,” says their site. “The point is to reduce carbon emissions, and possibly to begin removing carbon from the atmosphere, as deemed necessary for human survival. The first big hurdle is to get much more renewable energy onto the grid. The second is to make a dent in transportation emissions.”

The whitepaper states:

“Carbon emissions currently have no open market value though it is generally becoming well understood that human life on Earth may be perilously tied to cumulative, human based CO2 emissions. Various government entities around the world have attempted to mandate the trade of carbon credits to limited success and utility. A primary opposing argument to Cap and Trade is the potential drag on the economy that may be effectuated by such intervention. However, critical to the understanding of carbon emissions is the concept that the “economy” is justifiably a wholly-owned subsidiary of the environment; that is, without the existence of a nurturing environment in which humans thrive, no economy would exist, or certainly not a healthy one.”

According to this recent interview with GreenCoin developers, GreenCoin incentivizes “producers of renewable products and services that have a significant reduced carbon emission impact versus the global average.”

“For example a solar energy provider produces 1 kWh of electrical energy at a carbon cost of 46 grams of carbon emissions versus 527 grams for the global average for the same 1 kWh. This particular producer is then incentivized for the difference (481 grams carbon) that is paid as his or her share of GreenCoins on any given day,” a GreenCoin developer said in the interview.

So far, GreenCoin says they have 10 producers which consist of nine home-solar arrays and one home biofuel producer. The GreenCoin Foundation, which is registered as a non-profit in the state of Delaware, is rewarded half of each mined block, and the miners are rewarded the other half. The GreenCoin Foundation then awards their entire half to registered organizations who produce renewable energy (solar, biofuel, etc).

“We currently pay out all of the Foundation’s daily coins to 10 producers sequestering ~100 kg or so of carbon per day,” says their site. “This mechanism is identical to theoretically paying 10,000,000 producers producing 15 GigaTonnes of emission sequestration per day. These awards allow for the Foundation to aggregate the carbon effectiveness of the Producers in the system in order to create an accurate carbon offset emission credit, which is the base-value of GreenCoin. In turn the individual producers receive GreenCoins daily pro rata to their carbon emission offset, which is effectively an incentive payment for doing this useful, carbon-mitigated work.”

GreenCoin advertises itself as a fungible commodity priced on carbon.

“We feel the underlying resistance to the global solution offered by governments is financial: producing less carbon in a financial system that is largely based in carbon-positive productivity means suppressing economic activity to achieve these goals. National governments are rightly loathe to suppress economic activity despite the menacing global threat we all face. The relatively recent advancements of global social media networks and the Bitcoin protocol have offered, in the opinions of the GreenCoin founders, a unique paradigm for which a market-based pricing mechanism for carbon can exist and a pathology for mitigating carbon emissions by aligning for-profit incentives for all interested parties, and where government involvement is no longer required to mitigate the carbon threat.”

As of this writing, one GreenCoin is currently worth: 0.0256 g carbon and 39,125 GreenCoins = 1 kg CO2. According to the GreenCoin site, in less than 50 days, the altcoin’s ecosystem offet 3,336.2 kg of CO2, most from the United States.

Realistically speaking, or perhaps cynically speaking, while GreenCoin is an amazing concept worthy of global adoption, it seems like only a miracle would generate enough interest to make a noticeable difference in worldwide carbon emission — fingers crossed that use will become widespread. That part is largely up to us. The whitepaper says that the GreenCoin Foundation will be run by “government representatives, corporate parties, non-profits and private individuals. The exact make
-up and Foundation Charter are still being formulated. The Foundation will be tasked with operating the coin technically and fairly distributing the coin to producers (operating the producer database/website and paying coins, auditing the renewable energy producers, etc), developing and applying the carbon calculation, evangelizing the carbon benefits, and working with governments worldwide, among other duties.”

So it does seems like they mean business. Contact them, volunteer your time and help propel this idea into the forefront of influential minds worldwide. At the very least, it’s an extremely innovative concept and sets the stage quite nicely for future crypto-environmental efforts. One more way that Bitcoin and crypto-technology are sparking revolutionary solutions to some of our biggest problems.

Per the interview, here are GreenCoin’s specs:

Scrypt, Secure and Open Source
Total coins: 10,000,000,000 (ten billion)
Block Time: 63.1 seconds target
Initial coins per block: 2,000
Coins per block awarded to miners: 1,000 (50%)
Coins per block awarded to Foundation: 1,000 (50%)
Halving rate: 2,500,000 blocks (about 5 years)
Difficulty Retarget: Every 30 minutes
Confirmations on Transactions: 5 (about 5 minutes)
Confirmations on Mined Blocks: 60 (about 1 hour)
Ports: P2P 11036, RPC 21036

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