Now that cryptocurrency is firmly embedded in the financial mainstream, much more attention has been paid to its environmental impact. Massive amounts of electricity are needed to mine new coins. According to estimates, crypto king Bitcoin uses enough power on a single transaction to power an average U.S. household for 75 days.
Some companies are investing in carbon offsets and similar programs designed to reduce their carbon footprints to address the problem. Among them is Polygon, a software platform for developers that use the Ethereum blockchain.
In April, Polygon pledged $20 million as part of an initiative to fully offset the impact of its 2022 carbon-dioxide emissions.
Polygon will use data from KlimaDAO, a decentralized autonomous organization, to calculate and offset all carbon emissions connected to its business. It also will purchase $400,000 in Base Carbon Tonnes (BCT) and Moss Carbon Credit (MCO2) carbon credits, or the equivalent of about 90,000 tons of CO2 emissions. Polygon will then retire the offsets within carbon token pools that meet specific environmental impact standards.
All BCT and MCO2 tokenized credits were created from offsets certified under the Verified Carbon Standard endorsed by the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA). The ICROA sets best practices in the industry and aims to ensure environmental integrity within the voluntary carbon market.
Polygon will purchase the credits via KlimaDAO’s on-chain carbon market, Klima Infinity, and retire them using its offset aggregator decentralized app. In addition, Polygon will fund initiatives to spur carbon-credit trading on the blockchain.
KilmaDAO will analyze the Polygon network’s energy footprint and support its emissions management and mitigation strategy as part of the agreement. The analysis will include emissions from various sources, including staking node hardware, the energy consumption of staking operations, and contracts directly interacting with Mainnet, Ethereum’s primary production blockchain. Polygon also has commissioned the Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute (CCRI) to audit its carbon footprint.
Polygon’s recent sustainability pledge comes ahead of Ethereum’s transition to a Proof-of-Stake (POS) consensus mechanism, which is designed to cut the network’s energy consumption by almost 99%. After Ethereum’s transition to PoS and the completion of CCRI analysis, Polygon will move beyond carbon neutrality to attain carbon negative status.
Polygon bills itself as the leading scaling solution for Ethereum, with a suite of products that includes Polygon PoS, Polygon Edge, and Polygon Avail. The Polygon team is investing in zero-knowledge (ZK) technology that will be key to onboarding the next billion users to Web3. ZK technology lets crypto users verify transactions, personal, and other data without handing over control of the information.
Meanwhile, Polygon’s sustainability program is designed to put it at the forefront of responsible blockchain development.
“Our outlined measures may eliminate the emissions of the Polygon ecosystem, but that’s not enough to effect the kind of change needed to combat the climate crisis at scale,” said Polygon Co-Founder Sandeep Nailwal. “Together with Polygon, the broader blockchain industry needs to form a united front to fund, support, and leverage technology that helps heal the earth, rather than destroy it.”
Polygon’s $20 million pledge will go toward addressing these four key areas:
- Offsetting carbon footprints for Polygon and buying extra credits to become carbon negative.
- Supporting community initiatives such as encouraging Polygon ecosystem partners to also pledge.
- Providing resources for ecosystem partners who want to offset their carbon footprints.
- Make donations easy for non-governmental organizations that fight climate change.