Introducing a Sustainability NNS Proposal
I have some follow-up to a piece I wrote last December, Crypto in the Age of Climate Change.
I calculated the rough electrical cost of a transaction on The Internet Computer, but the math was, to be generous, a back-of-the-napkin guess. In follow-up conversations with many smart people, it’s been suggested that in the pursuit of hedging the math and being conservative, we landed on a number that’s orders of magnitude larger than it might actually be.
The sustainable consumption of electricity by the Internet Computer is no accident — it was designed this way.
In fact, I’ll go one step farther: I believe The Internet Computer is the world’s greenest blockchain.
It has the potential to dramatically reduce electrical consumption for the traditional IT stack at scale, and we have an unrealized arrow in our quiver for marketing and growing the mainstream perception of Web3 built on #IC.
All we need to do is prove it. And I think we can do it. But it requires action. This brings me to:
I’m here to ask for your vote.
Or rather, I will be asking for your vote; I’m asking for your feedback right now.
This week I opened a thread on DFINITY’s forums to start a discussion on a Sustainability NNS proposal. This is the first step of a multi-step process to submit, vote on, and hopefully, pass a proposal that will audit our existing systems and set a direction of sustainability for the future of The Internet Computer.
My NNS proposal is built around three key actions:
- Ask DFINITY to conduct a carbon footprint / environmental impact assessment — either through internal resources or by hiring an external consultant to answer basic questions about what the carbon footprint of running an IC Subnet is, where that electricity is sourced, what the total cost per transaction is on the IC blockchain.
- Ratify that the Internet Computer community believes in global warming. It is a man-made problem with huge ramifications for people everywhere, and it’s in the Internet Computer’s interest to support efforts to be more environmentally sustainable.
- Add an “energy consumption” reporting panel to the IC Network Status dashboard.
It is an ethical imperative for all of us to work together to improve the future of our planet and ecosystem. Taking a position as environmentally sustainable crypto is good business for the Internet Computer, positive branding, and positioning for the Internet Computer and largely already taking place — we need to codify it.
This proposal aims to educate people that sustainability = environmental + social + economic impacts. Ideally, the IC can address all of these impacts eventually, and this policy starts by focusing on environmental impact.
“Going green” provides a marketing opportunity for The Internet Computer to enter the discussion around electricity usage and the blockchain. Earlier this year, Solana’s report on electricity usage made massive PR waves in the mainstream media outside of the crypto echo chamber.
In addition, discussion of Bitcoin and Eth’s POW model has become a toxic talking point about the evils of crypto — hard numbers and coherent talking points about IC’s policy on these issues would give our marketing a new major talking point to push. I want to be able to answer inquiries like this one from Twitter with strong data and a clear message.
Finally — I intend that this proposal is structured to set a general direction for the Internet Computer regarding environmental concerns. The Internet Computer is currently positioning itself for massive breakout growth, and nothing in this proposal should slow or limit that growth. Instead, it combines research and reporting with marketing and intention — we can look at the data that comes back and submit additional proposals related to this topic in the future.
The Internet Computer was designed with energy efficiency and already claims, “Systems built 100% on the Internet Computer run with efficiency comparable to the traditional IT stack, providing massive savings in costs and protecting the environment.” The Internet Computer is already a highly efficient green blockchain and web host. This proposal aims to codify that fact, measure it, and officially promote it.
I am looking for actionable feedback to improve this proposal, help communicate its goals more clearly, and rally support for its passing overwhelmingly on the NNS.
So now I embark on my unlikely role as a politician.
I’m seeking feedback, consensus, amendments, and edits. Please join the forums and the conversation, and then help me and other like-minded ICPers around the globe rally support for the passage.
Help me get this thing passed: It’s good policy for our burning planet (I’d like the coasts to be in the same places when 8-year neurons start to dissolve!) It’s good marketing for The Internet Computer and good business as we scale to host the future of the internet.
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