The DFINITY Foundation, the Swiss non-profit and major contributor to the Internet Computer blockchain (ICP) has launched the Proof of Green (PoG) initiative. The PoG initiative aims to bring transparency and cut greenwashing in the blockchain industry by standardising how blockchains report carbon consumption. The DFINITY Foundation is working on the PoG initiative alongside Carbon Crowd – a climate tech startup developing solutions to decarbonise cloud infrastructure.
Greenwashing is prevalent in all industries and a major concern in blockchain. Recently the European Commission conducted a sweep of websites to investigate green claims and found that in 42% of cases the claims were exaggerated, false or deceptive. The European Commission has also proposed a new Directive on ‘Green Claims’ to tackle the growing issue of greenwashing.
Aisling Connolly, a Senior Research Scientist at the DFINITY Foundation says “Blockchains and the industry are famed for having transparency, verifiability, no central point of trust, and some of the smartest technologists the world has ever seen. If we pride ourselves on these claims, we should live by them, not only where it is easy, or in the places where we gain immediate benefit, but also when it comes to long term problems, and those that extend beyond our industry. The climate issue is reaching a critical state, yet there remains an overwhelmingly apathetic response towards it.
“We, as technologists, build tools for the future. Along the way, it is our collective duty to also build tools to ensure that future exists. Proof of Green is a step in that direction. A ‘put-your-Watts-where-we-can-see-them’ style of energy reporting which leverages the transparency that we have come to expect from blockchain systems. Proof of Green is a step towards verifiability and accountability for ‘claims of green,’ and in turn should be an industry standard”.
Numerous blockchain protocols claim to be the most green and sustainable network. The PoG initiative is about giving these protocols the tools and processes they need to substantiate their claims. PoG is a mechanism for measuring and reporting the scope 2 carbon emissions produced by a device or network of devices. Making this information available to organisations, users and machines, means more environmentally friendly behaviour can be recognised, rewarded and regulated. The goal is to accelerate the journey towards a green digital economy and a transparent industry.
The PoG initiative works by measuring the electricity draw of network devices. The carbon intensity of the electricity used by a device is determined by a number of factors, including the energy source e.g. coal, natural gas, wind, solar, hydroelectric. Once the carbon emissions have been determined and validated, it should be reported to the relevant parties, and made public. The data must be human and machine readable. Carbon Crowd has developed and launched the world’s first, real-time carbon analytics dashboard for a blockchain protocol – this novel tracker was developed for the Internet Computer blockchain. This allows developers, blockchain enthusiasts and enterprises to make informed and educated decisions before choosing to build on or use the Internet Computer blockchain.
Orlando Hutchings, Co-founder and CEO of Carbon Crowd says “We’re proud to have worked with the DFINITY Foundation on the Proof of Green initiative. Achieving real time emissions measurement for the Internet Computer opens the door to numerous innovations around the future design and operation of blockchains. The dashboard we developed is the first of its kind, we’re breaking new ground in bringing transparency to the blockchain industry”.
The Internet Computer blockchain is one of the most sustainable blockchains operating today. A single Google search is four times more energy intensive than a transaction on the IC. The energy consumption of the Internet Computer is substantially lower than competing blockchain projects and the existing Web2 tech. See the table below on IC performance. Performance is measured in kilowatt-hours per transaction (KWh/transaction).
KWh/transaction of popular blockchains:
One Internet Computer transaction: 0.006
One Solana transaction: 0.116
One Avalanche transaction: 2.7
One Algorand transaction: 4.760
One Tezos transaction: 41.450
One Cardano transaction: 51.590
The DFINITY Foundation and Carbon Crowd believe the PoG initiative is crucial for the success and mainstream adoption of blockchain technology – the industry must embrace transparency at all levels of the protocol. The blockchain industry needs to work together to implement best practices when it comes to carbon reporting and explore novel models such as the real-time carbon analytics dashboard.
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