It seems as if the potential benefits of cryptocurrencies are often overshadowed by the technology weakness inherent in exploitation.
And that’s right, cryptocurrency adoption has risks. Over the past year, governments around the world have raised concerns that cryptocurrencies could be used to fund terrorism or other illicit activities such as money laundering. Blockade measures have been in place everywhere from China to Nigeria, where many cryptocurrency exchanges have been enforced in a legislative throttle.
While cryptography faces its challenges, it has also become a tool for policy makers and activists who want to make the world a better place.
During 2021, public scrutiny of energy-intensive Bitcoin (BTC) mining practices dominated the headlines all year long — and for good reason. According to the Digiconomist, Bitcoin mining consumes a similar amount of energy for an entire small country like the Netherlands or the Philippines.
However, many environmental activists are already using the same technology as a tool in the fight against climate change. For example, smart-code contracts have allowed charities to raise funds in a way never seen before.
Many of these “charity tokens” have a tax system that charges a fee for each transaction, which can then be transferred to a preferred charity. For example, the World of Waves (WOW) icon is on a mission to restore the planet’s oceans and combat climate change.
In 2020, the world’s oceans may have stored up to 1 sextillion joules of more thermal energy than they did in 2019. Warm waters contribute to the melting of sea ice. Last year, the seas may have absorbed enough heat to boil 1.3 billion kettles of water. Buy wow and support efforts to preserve the climate. pic.twitter.com/4ehOOc2iq0
– World of Waves (official) (World_Of_Waves) November 13, 2021
The project has a transaction tax of 11% that is redistributed to all holders, 3.3% to the liquidity pool and 4.4% to the WOW Charitable Portfolio. As the charitable portfolio grows, funds are extracted monthly for donations to nature conservation and wildlife conservation activities. According to the project’s Twitter page, more than $49,000 have already been paid donated. WOW COO Christian Tutt told Cointelegraph:
“It’s all about making a positive impact on causes around the world while highlighting NGOs and innovators.”
In this way, charitable giving is linked to the token’s underlying algorithm. Not only that, but the owners are also motivated to invest and keep investing in the project.
WOW isn’t the only crypto project that uses this type of technology to raise money for an environmental cause.
Solarcoin distributes tokens as a reward to people who install solar arrays in their homes or businesses. The theory is that when the price of a currency exceeds the cost of producing energy, solar energy will effectively become free. The project website states:
As of today, the cryptocurrency is worth over $2 trillion USD. Most of this value was distributed in exchange for carbon-intensive crypto mining. What if it was distributed to people who produce energy for free? “
Black Lives Matter Movement
Of course, preserving the environment isn’t the only issue that crypto projects have tried to tackle over the past year. In June, the world watched with anger at George Floyd at the hands of a police officer. His death sparked renewed momentum for the Black Lives Matter movement – and there’s no shortage of controversy in the crypto community.
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, a group attempted to capitalize on the turmoil by launching the George Floyd Token, a project filled with shaky tokens and an unclear payment system. It was also reported that a person who attended the protests carried a sign claiming “Bitcoin will save us.”
Despite the apparent bad taste of these isolated cases, the broader community has rallied primarily for the cause. For example, Giving Block has provided a solution for its users to donate specifically to non-profit organizations that support the Black Lives Matter movement such as Chicago Community Bond Fund, Movement for Black Lives, and Bail Project.
Back in 2020, the crypto fundraising platform partnered with Gitcoin to launch its #CryptoForBlackLives campaign. Initially, Gitcoin matched donations of up to $25,000 through a community grant. However, that number was boosted to over $100,000 when the campaign was completed.
Black activists have also worked tirelessly to ensure that their communities can benefit from the financial gains that cryptocurrency has to offer. Guapcoin (GUAP) founder and principal architect Taviona Evans says its platform was able to achieve more in 2021 than in any previous year. GUAP was created to help close the wealth gap in black communities and support black-owned businesses in the United States. She told Cointelegraph:
“We have raised awareness about cryptocurrencies among a population that has less access and less education in crypto and finance – and we continue to do so.”
Improving health care
Another area of charitable giving where crypto projects have made a difference this year is healthcare and mental health. In 2021, the health of many people around the world has suffered greatly as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread.
Perhaps one of the unexpected consequences of the coronavirus has been its profound impact on cryptocurrencies and blockchain, which can be traced back to the origins of the pandemic in late 2019.
From Australia to Mexico, blockchain technology is already being used to validate COVID-19 test results and vaccination certificates.
A number of crypto funds and tokens have also emerged to support communities around the world that have suffered from the virus outbreak. In April of this year, Polygon co-founder Sandeep Nailwal set up the COVID-Crypto Relief Fund as a crushing second wave of the virus swept through his native India.
The fund had managed to raise $429.59 million by mid-October, with Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, Australian cricketer Brett Lee, and Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan among its contributors.
#India MustafaHosny Oh God, Amen Tweet embed Tweet embed
the #India #corona virus disease # encrypt Relief Fund donations have been spent! This is good news for everyone! For those who supported the donation as well as for those who opposed it!
What is your opinion #ShibArmyhttps: //t.co/dbxNx84bVF pic.twitter.com/fe7w5swdge
– SHIB INFORMER (SHIBInformer) September 26, 2021
Is encryption a force for society or a bad thing?
If there was ever a proof that cryptocurrency is truly ethically neutral, it was the year 2021. Across the world, the same technology used to fund terrorism has also been used to fund healthcare amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While the world has argued about the impact of energy-intensive BTC mining projects on the environment, others have created crypto projects and tokens to save our planet.
As we move into 2022, whether crypto is a force for good or evil remains in the eyes of the holder.