Can a green cryptocurrency fix our toxic relationship with the environment?

You’ve probably heard the term, but getting to the bottom of what a cryptocurrency actually is isn’t always easy.

Put simply, it is a kind of virtual money. So unlike other forms of currency, there are no physical coins or notes to carry around. Instead, transactions happen online and are secured by a digital record, called a ledger, which is distributed to a network of computers that can be located all around the world. Once a transaction is put in the ledger it can’t be changed and past entries can’t be tampered with.

Every change has to be verified by every computer using a complex mathematical puzzle making it nearly impossible to forge transactions. The technology behind this security infrastructure, “blockchain”, was developed in 2008 by Satoshi Nakamoto for what is now the most successful cryptocurrency, Bitcoin. So promising is this secure system that finance experts, including Forbes, have claimed that “the fourth industrial revolution” is set to be “built on blockchain”.

Not having a central location for the record of transactions ensures security but also means that cryptocurrencies can stay outside of the influence of government interference or manipulation. This freedom has led to questions about the possibility of it being used for illegal activity, but better way of looking at it is that it releases virtual money from many of the destructive constraints of established value systems.

EcoCoin is a cryptocurrency linking wealth to the environment

A group of organisations have come together to form a charity hoping to use this innovation to change how we think about what has value. ECOCoin incentivises users to carry out sustainable actions. The more environmental good you do, the more coins you get.

ECOCoin hopes to attach wealth to helping the environment, rather than hurting it. In development since 2009, the platform would see people getting paid for things like riding a bike to work or choosing a meat-free lunch. Based on how much…

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