by Sade Korbieh

$$ \substack{ \large \textsf{\textbf{\color{steelblue}Sustainability in Blockchain}}\\[-1.23em]

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Image Credit
[Description: Wind Turbines with a city and sun in background]

Image Credit [Description: Wind Turbines with a city and sun in background]

By this point, we have all heard of the infamous Bitcoin, the strange online currency that skyrocketed to all-time highs of $64,804.72 and in just weeks fell to the $30,000 range (source). The cryptocurrency domain is a mystical space where we are always watching the unexpected unfold.

Many people see cryptocurrencies from the lens of how it can make money for them, but they don’t think about the impact this new industry can have on the world, whether positive or negative. For example, individuals don’t think about how it could help bring transparency to the fashion supply chain or how Bitcoin’s energy consumption is absurdly high and harmful to the environment. All that is seen are dollar signs.

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Without reflection, we are unable to see how blockchain impacts the world outside of currency. It is an industry that allows for a cosmic change in how we use the internet and how it impacts our environment.

Before we can look at the sustainability behind some of the use cases in blockchain, it is essential to summarize what blockchain is as a framework for understanding. First, it is NOT just Bitcoin. Many have come to correlate that blockchain = bitcoin; this is not true. Bitcoin is just one type of blockchain. So, what is blockchain? It is a decentralized ledger technology that helps to eliminate the middleman from any service and puts the control in the hands of the user.

[Video Credit (Video explanation of how blockchain works)](

Video Credit (Video explanation of how blockchain works)

The Bitcoin Blockchain eliminates the need for a bank. The Ethereum Blockchain changes the way we use the internet. These different blockchains even have the potential to connect with one another to create one huge ecosystem that works together in sync. I could nerd out all day about the potential of blockchain alone, but today we are talking about the sustainability aspects and real-world implications.

Image Credit
[Description: A computer node being hooked into the wall]

Image Credit [Description: A computer node being hooked into the wall]

$$ \substack{ \large \textsf{\textbf{\color{steelblue}Positive Impacts of Blockchain}}\\[-1.23em]

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Blockchain technology depending on the project can help to enable:

While there are many ways that blockchain can help bring sustainability, these are just a few I found interesting, specifically supply chain. Many industries have a closed-off supply chain that makes moving products worldwide difficult. Blockchain changes this by storing all the data on a secure drive that cannot be tampered with. This is done to prevent data manipulation and guarantee compliance controls are followed

There are three main benefits to using blockchain technologies:

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Waste management tracking is a big problem that should be focused on. Let’s take the fashion industry, for example. In the 2019 Pulse of The Fashion Industry, it is stated that 60% of companies are struggling to find the technologies necessary to make a change. With blockchain technology, companies can keep a close eye on waste, which, if done correctly, will save the industry an estimated 4.8 billion dollars (Source).

This is possible because 47% of all fiber entering the fashion value chain becomes waste (Source). Unfortunately, it is hard for companies to actively track this information until it is too late, and the waste has already occurred.

By making data real-time, the companies can quickly pivot and run a leaner supply chain that allows for materials to be re-used for other garments and reduce the waste happening.

One company in this specific department is [Textile Genesis]( They use blockchain to counteract this problem and improve environmental practices through the supply chain to create waste reduction. Companies that aid the fashion industry in being more eco-conscious lead to a cleaner Earth and more cost-efficient industry.

$$ \substack{ \large \textsf{\textbf{\color{steelblue}Water Conservation}}\\[-1.23em]

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Blockchain can create a more circular economy and reduce waste; it can also monitor water conservation. This is critical because the amount of water used to create jeans alone is insane. It takes 1800 gallons of water to produce one pair of jeans (Source). That’s just for one person. This adds up quite quickly and creates a problem. Recording the use of water and making sure that water is not wasted creates eco-friendly water usage.

Overall, the jean industry needs to change and significantly reduce water consumption because it is just too damaging.