Bitcoin & Blockchain
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency invented in 2008 by an unknown person or group of people using the name Satoshi Nakamoto.
There’s no central bank or single administrator. Transactions are verified by a computer network and recorded in a public ledger called blockchain.
New bitcoins are created as a reward for a process known as (digital) mining.
Many blockchain initiatives have been recently launched in the plastic sector. One may argue that these initiatives are disruptive and will allow progress in the sense that they will enable us to do something that we couldn’t do before. Some may argue that these are completely useless and are Perlimpinpin powder.
- Plastic Bank
Ensuring transparency through blockchain. Their proprietary blockchain platform secures the entire transaction and provides real-time data visualization: allowing for transparency, traceability, and rapid scalability.
Plastic Bank uses blockchain and tokenization to curtail plastic from entering oceans and fight poverty in Southeast Asian countries.
- BASF Recichain
BASF launched their plastic blockchain in Canada and Brazil. Digital badges are added to the polymers by producers that identifies the ingredients.
The waste collectors can sort plastics by scanning the badges. The purpose is to increasing the recovery rates.
- VMware & Dell
VMware is providing its blockchain solutions to track and trace Dell’s recycled plastic packaging. The end-user who has bought a Dell laptop can view the provenance of the recycled material, right to what kind of plastic it was and from where it was recovered. (Read more)
In September 2019, Waste2Wear launched the world’s first collection of fabrics made from ocean plastics that will be fully traceable using blockchain technology. This system aims to address customers’ demands for traceability of recycled materials. The blockchain documents and records step-by-step the journey plastic waste takes in becoming a finished textile product. (Read more)
Bitcoin Blockchain Carbon Footprint
Most energy used by the “bitcoin” blockchain is from fossil origin.
Bitcoin annual carbon emission = 36.95 Mt CO2 = Comparable to the carbon footprint of New Zealand.
Single Bitcoin Transaction Footprint = 322 kg CO2 = Equivalent to the carbon footprint of more than 700.000 VISA transactions or more than 53.000 hours of watching Youtube.
Bitcoin Blockchain Electric Consumption
How more transactions and bitcoins, how bigger the puzzle and longer the algorithm.
Bitcoin annual power consumption = 77.78 TWh = Comparable to the power consumption of Chile.
Single Bitcoin Transaction Footprints = 679.09 kWh = Equivalent to the power consumption of an average U.S. household over 23 days.
Blockchain represents a real technological disruption when considering “bitcoins” and cryptocurrencies. The blockchain makes bitcoins a very safe currency; probably more fraud-proof than our current monetary system.
The monetary system used to be based on a gold standard. You were able to exchange “paper” money for gold at the bank. However, we left the gold standard. Paper money is no more covered by gold anymore. It was substituted by the “dollar” standard. You were able to exchange most currencies in the world into dollars. Then came the digitalisation of money. What are you worth? Your personal wealth is expressed through a number on a digital screen. To say it technically, it’s expressed through “light-emitting diodes” (LED). There’s not even a “paper” standard anymore. The digital money on your LED screen cannot be converted in paper money because there’s not enough paper money in circulation to cover the digital money. To some extend, we are in a LED standard today…. our monetary system is based on electrical impulses.
In this aspect, the bitcoin is safer because it’s based on some kind of algorithmic standard….the blockchain. The blockchain is like a gigantic digital algorithmic puzzle. Every new transactions and mining operation adds new pieces to the puzzle.
However, the blockchain is extremely unsustainable. This never ending algorithm who’s getting bigger and bigger every day with each new transaction will just swallow so much energy that it is extremely energy-intensive .
Did the plastic industry just borrowed the name blockchain or did it copied the bitcoin blockchain?
Although “plastic blockchain” sounds cool and sexy, we should be careful not to build a monster like the bitcoin blockchain that may become an environmental hazard. It would be counter productive and unsustainable.