Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology could help fight the climate crisis and make the global economy more sustainable, UN report says

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Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology could help fight the climate crisis and make the global economy more sustainable, UN report says
United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. AP Photo/Markus Schreiber
  • The United Nations said blockchain technology could help combat the climate crisis.
  • "One of the most useful aspects of cryptocurrencies, as far as the UN is concerned, is transparency," the organization said.
  • This could help identify incomplete or unreliable emissions data reported by some countries.
The United Nations said the blockchain technology that powers virtual currencies could help fight the climate crisis while also making the global economy more sustainable.

"One of the most useful aspects of cryptocurrencies, as far as the UN is concerned, is transparency," the organization said.

UN experts said blockchain technology is resistant to tampering and fraud, and can provide a trusted and transparent record of transactions. This would be helpful in identifying inaccurate or incomplete emissions data.

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"This is particularly important in regions with weak institutions and high levels of corruption," the UN added.

The organization cited how data on harmful greenhouse gas emissions in many countries is unreliable. The potential of blockchain in protecting the environment has been tested in a number of other projects, the UN said, from tools to eliminate illegal fishing in the tuna industry to a platform that turns reductions in greenhouse gas emissions into a cryptocurrency that can be bought and sold.

The UN said blockchain could also help accelerate the adoption of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

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However, the organization acknowledged the environmental consequences of cryptocurrencies, pointing to the contentious process of mining, which consumes more energy than some whole countries. It also cited the technical and political challenges cryptocurrencies still need to overcome.

Still, the UN said it is confident all these will "eventually be ironed out." The optimism stems from significant steps the organization has made with blockchain technology.

One of those is with the World Food Programme, the largest UN agency delivering cash, which has found that blockchain can help ensure that cash is delivered to people who need it without the need to go through local banks.

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The project, Building Blocks, has had a pilot program in Pakistan and has also been successfully tested at refugee camps in Jordan.

"If this can work for refugees, it can also work for other disadvantaged, vulnerable groups," the UN said.

For a more in-depth discussion, come on over to Business Insider Cryptosphere — a forum where users can deep dive into all things crypto, engage in interesting discussions and stay ahead of the curve.

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