The Polygon Network, a Layer 2 scaling solution for the Ethereum blockchain, has just released its “Green Manifesto” and its first promise is a doozy: going carbon negative by the end of 2022.
The Manifesto, published last week, addresses the environmental impact of the Polygon Network. It states that the team behind Polygon will track every transaction in 2022 and offset their energy output. After that, Polygon will work to become the first climate positive blockchain.
In 2021, the Polygon Network had approximately 91,000 carbon emissions. It plans to purchase $400,000 worth of BCT and MC02 carbon credits to offset this carbon use. It is also partnering with KlimaDAO, the “highest-profile proponent” and facilitator of the “on-chain carbon market.”
As part of the Green Manifesto, Polygon has committed $20 million to community initiatives, including those that use technology to fight climate change. The organization will also create a “climate compensation vertical” within its ecosystem.
The team writes that this “commitment to sustainability” recognizes Polygon’s status within the blockchain ecosystems and that it has a responsibility to “lead by example”. Part of the lead example will involve more than just Polygon’s backyard. It aims to provide resources to ecosystem partners seeking to reduce their environmental impact.
New Web3 technologies could be more positive for the environment
The environmental impact of cryptocurrencies and non-fungible tokens has long been a source of criticism among opponents of Web3. They argue that blockchain technology is doing irreparable damage to the environment, and the benefits of Web3 don’t make up for that.
In recent years, however, a shift in the landscape has emerged. New blockchains are generally proof of stake, proof of delegated interest, or other proofs that are less energy-intensive than those controlling the old blockchains. Like AMCs for The Walking Dead collection, many major companies are launching NFT sets on carbon neutral blockchains.
And when it comes to Ethereum, the most widely used blockchain in the space, there is coming a change that can reduce energy output by 99%: The Merge of Ethereum 2.0. When it occurs, Ethereum will transition from the energy-heavy proof-of-work to a minimally-intensive proof-of-stake. Gas costs should drop sometime after that, reducing the blockchain’s overall energy consumption.
Polygon hasn’t revealed much of its plans beyond buying the carbon offsets, but its Green Manifesto can only be seen as a positive step toward Web3. And if other blockchains follow suit, Web3 could take a dramatic step from environmentally damaging to positive.