If you’re like many people, these questions probably feel both important and impossible to answer. Most people care about fighting climate change, but can’t find effective ways to do so as an individual. Most people aren’t carbon neutral, and don’t necessarily even think becoming carbon neutral is a possibility.
But what if we had a better way of buying, incentivizing, and talking about carbon offsets? What if you could gain lasting value, both financial and social, for buying carbon offsets? What if the meme that you share on social media — say, a cat picture — were actually a digital asset backed by carbon offsets? This is the question that started CRED — the Carbon REmoval Dollar.
The essential idea of CRED is to reward people for buying carbon offsets both socially and financially. CRED is a currency that gets created anytime you buy carbon offsets through the CRED protocol, located at https://credprotocol.io/. Once you earn CRED for buying offsets, you can use that CRED to buy NFTs through the CRED NFT Marketplace — an NFT you can wear and share on social media to celebrate your interest in fighting climate change with your friends and community.
Now you might be thinking, woah, hold on there, NFTs — really? Aren’t those supposed to be terrible for the environment? How did we get from fighting climate change with carbon offsets all the way to NFTs, which are often criticized for being a waste of electricity?
First, let’s acknowledge that this sort of skepticism is completely warranted, given the amount of diversity and skullduggery in the crypto space.
However, as climate folks ourselves, we take these questions very seriously. CRED operates exclusively on low-emission Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchains like Solana and Polygon, which have been estimated to be as much as 99.99% lower in emissions than Proof-of-Work (PoW) blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum. We also have our sights on building on Celo, which is “the world’s first carbon-negative blockchain.”* What this all means is that the carbon footprint of an NFT purchased with CRED is as negligible as doing a Google search or any other everyday computing operation.
Ok, so NFT purchases with CRED don’t hurt the environment — there’s no downside there. But what’s the upside? Aren’t NFTs pretty speculative? Will your NFT appreciate in value?
NFTs being speculative, uncertain financial investments is actually kind of the point of CRED. At CRED Protocol, we are motivated by a vision of widespread popularity in carbon offsetting. At present, we are targeting climate-oriented early adopters: people already interested in going carbon neutral. So, if you already wanted to offset your carbon footprint, there’s only upside if you buy offsets through CRED. The minimal upfront cost of creating an NFT makes it economically feasible to feature in our protocol.
You purchase offsets and get CRED in return. You use this CRED to buy an NFT in our marketplace, which you hold for a time to see if it appreciates in value. If your NFT remains low value, you can still enjoy the benefit of your carbon offset purchase supporting a project that reduces atmospheric carbon. And if your NFT shoots up in value, you’ve actually made money by investing in a regenerative, sustainable economy.
If you find this vision compelling, your participation can help push the project forward. Web3 and NFTs are all about building community around shared values: your participation, your belief, is part of what can determine CRED’s success. So the question becomes, do you believe that people coming together through technology to fight climate change is effective? Could showing your climate CRED be a new means of expression, a new normal?
By coupling offsetting to the virality machine of social media, CRED and other climate action ideas could become memes that start a climate revolution. That’s how your cat picture can save the planet.
*If a low-carbon or carbon-negative blockchain sounds far-fetched, you might be interested in reading more about why PoW is so energy intensive, and how it’s possible that requiring huge amounts of energy isn’t actually a defining feature of blockchains. If you’re interested in such questions, this video is a good place to start for understanding PoW.**
- If a low-carbon or carbon-negative blockchain sounds far-fetched, you might be interested in reading more about why PoW is so energy intensive, and how it’s possible that requiring huge amounts of energy isn’t actually a defining feature of blockchains. If you’re interested in such questions, this video is a good place to start for understanding PoW.**
**In particular, minutes 10:00 through 20:00 explain decentralization and PoW — but most people are probably best off watching the entire video. The first ten minutes discuss building a ledger and cryptographic hashing, which are necessary for grasping decentralization and PoW.