“The future is here today, it’s just not very evenly distributed” – William Gibson, visionary author of sci-fi cult classic Neuromancer.
‘Decentralised ledger technology’. ‘Cryptocurrencies’. ‘Blockchain’. ‘Sustainability’. ‘Planetary Boundaries’. ‘Circular economies’. ‘Doughnut economics’. ‘Sustainable Development Goals’. ‘Cardano’. ‘Ada’. What do these words mean and what do they have to do with each other?
Why should I care, and how do they relate to each other and myself in an increasingly globalised, digital world?
These words and concepts may mean very little to most people.
At Sustainable ADA we aim to help people make sense of these words and concepts with our focused news insights on projects in the Cardano ecosystem. Projects focused on building a better world for all.
A world where what connects us speaks volumes more than what separates us, if we care to listen rather than just hear.
With any disruptive technology that sends paradigm shifting shockwaves throughout the world, a degree of human fear and misunderstanding is to be expected.
However, in the so-called information era where information overload is real. Where fake news, misinformation and disinformation lurks in the shadows and in plain sight. Bad actors and profit seeking opportunists seek to prey and capitalise on our online searches, data cookie crumb trail, social media profiles and digital selves, in turn shaping the views and actions of each and every unsuspecting, uncritical mind.
Flashback to 2008, with riots over rising food prices, global unrest and outrage on the rise, whilst trust in Government, authorities and the ‘experts’ plummeting to significant lows. Moral hazard leading to an unprecedented bailout of banks considered ‘too big to fail’ in an effort to prevent the collapse of an exploitative system. And so the stage was set. Enter Bitcoin.
Bitcoin, the first blockchain project, was invented by an unknown person/s known by the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin heralded the arrival of a new era of financial freedom for the masses. A tool enabling us to be our own ‘bank’. Free from any and all interference and censorship from centralised entities be it a Government, corporation or bank.
For the first time outside of the creased pages of science fiction novels and cypherpunk forums, an elegant fusion of cryptography and computer science brought the concept of decentralised ledger technologies for revolutionary ends to the world.
Ever since, there has been increasing online searches, media attention and coverage of blockchain and cryptocurrency projects, as thousands of projects sought to market their own offering in the competitive new space of decentralised ledger technologies and cryptocurrencies pioneered by Bitcoin and Ethereum.
News reports have risen in tandem with the rise in google searches of ‘Bitcoin’, ‘Blockchain’, ‘Cryptocurrencies’ and ‘Cardano’ since the Pandemic started, as millions went online, looking for solutions to the glaring and widening disparities and inequities afflicting millions who lost their livelihoods amidst the health crisis.
COP26 has arrived this November having been postponed from last year. An annual event held this year in Glasgow where world leaders, private sector giants and civil society come together for climate talks and commitments.
With the search for solutions and the much needed finance to bring these solutions to scale as urgent as ever, what role does decentralised ledger technologies play in this global struggle and what will its influence be upon society, economies and the natural world we are inextricably dependent on?
According to McKinsey, Blockchain comes in at #7 in their top 10 tech trends that will shape the coming decade. With the UN Sustainable Development Goals having set 2030 as the target year to fulfill all 17 goals, including goals such as ‘No Poverty’ and ‘Quality Education for All’, this decade has been labelled the ‘decade of action’ where ‘no one is left behind.’
Tech trends affect all sectors, but their impact varies by industry.
Bitcoin’s alleged energy consumption concerns have recently come under the spotlight in the news. Elon Musk’s tweets and decision to go from buying Bitcoin to stop accepting Bitcoin as a means of payment due to environmental concerns led to frenzied markets as retail investors FOMO or institutional investors ‘bought the dip’ amidst a heat wave of ‘diamond hand’ GIFs and memes.
To an onlooker, for all its utopian visions of technology empowering the disempowered and banking the unbanked or underbanked, crypto market behaviour is yet to be disentangled from and subject to human psychology and speculation.
With the multi trillion dollar cryptocurrency market making overnight millionaires and billionaires due to its volatile price action, while marked by an index wavering between fear and greed, perhaps we are still a way away from these markets being free from human sentiment and speculation.
In a warming world, where climate change tops the list of international concerns, with the UN signalling a ‘Code Red for Humanity’, the alarm has been sounded (though many would argue the alarm has been ringing for quite some time).
This is an alarm that is heard through a myriad of narratives, complexly intertwined and interrelated with geopolitical and power struggles over a range of diverse issues to do with cybersecurity, data, governance, education, global supply chains, identity, human rights, borders, energy, land resource management and property rights to name just a few.
The need for climate friendly, equitable solutions and alternatives to effectively transition and decouple ourselves from a global financial system and modes of production that have led to this ‘mess we’re in’ have inspired the rise of ‘green technologies’ and ‘green blockchains.’
Decentralised ledger technologies, such as Cardano’s Proof of Stake blockchain is offering solutions to wicked problems that plague us all to varying degrees. Since 2015, Cardano has risen to sit in the top 3 of the multi trillion dollar cryptocurrency market, and is increasingly known as the leading ‘green blockchain’ of choice.
With arguably the largest, active community in the cryptocurrency blockchain space, I too joined tens of thousands of attendees for the 2-day online Cardano Summit event on 25th-26th September.
My avatar exploring and island hopping, collecting NFTs in this digital world created for the Cardano Summit.
For those who missed the chance to attend a live Cardano Summit 2021 meetup or the Summit virtually online, fret not as all presentations were recorded and are accessible via this link: https://summit.cardano.org/sessions
A stellar line-up of thinkers and doers across sectors and disciplines from around the world came together to discuss a range of pertinent issues and age-old problems, explored throughout the 117 freely accessible thought-provoking talks. This in of itself highlights the strength of a decentralised, open access community focusing on harnessing minds and tools to overcome local and global challenges.
To assist you on your journey in connecting the dots, here at Sustainable ADA we have put together a shortlist of talks that delve into discussions, sharing insights and projects that are working with positive social and sustainable impact.
So, check out our next post that highlights selected talks from the Cardano Summit that shed light on how Cardano’s innovative technology is instrumental in delivering positive change for our planet and for all, led by change agents known as ‘block changers’, as named by Dr Mihaela, Input Output Chief of Strategic Impact.
Razali Samsudin – Co-Founder of Sustainable ADA