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What blockchain can do for the environment



Mainelli, director of the London-based commercial think tank and venture firm Z/Yen, said that the use of blockchains for crypto-currencies is limited because such application tends to be slow and energy-hungry. At the same time, he sees blockchains holding huge promise in an entirely different area.

As permanent, tamper-proof databases for any kind of data, shared by a community and owned by no one, “they are particularly interesting to environmental groups,” Mainelli said, because they make it possible to track and verify transactions and interactions even in the absence of a centralized authority.

A blockchain consists of records arranged in batches called “blocks.” Each block references and identifies the previous block using a cryptographic function, forming an unbroken, verifiable chain of custody for whatever good or service is being exchanged. A built-in validation system ensures that nobody can tamper with the records. Old transactions are preserved forever, and new transactions are irreversibly added to the ledger. The blockchain ledger is not managed by a single body, but is distributed: It exists on multiple computers at the same time, and anyone with an interest can take a copy.
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Matthew Olckers

Editor at Talan
Matthew's interests in innovation are in the financial services and education sectors. He joined the Talan Innovation team in September 2014, and focusses on the improvement of the user experience. Matthew is a Masters in Economics student at Paris 1: Panthéon-Sorbonne.

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