Global Impact Week, an industry event which features fintech, policy, climate, healthcare, and media innovations, kicked off in Valencia, Spain, and is ongoing from Dec. 14 to 18. Recent figures put attendance at 100,000, with 500 speakers and 150 live sessions. Cointelegraph’s Editor-in-Chief Kristina Cornèr has been in virtual attendance at the event, moderating the panel titled Fireside Chat: Fintech Defining the Future with Mastercard’s executive VP of market development Liza Oakes. Here’s what they had to say:
Kristina Cornèr: In November, Mastercard announced the launch of crypto-funded payments cards. How do you see this opportunity develop in the next few months or years?
Liz Oakes: We started the service in fiat money. You can start by using Mastercard to purchase crypto where allowed and cash out into fiat money again. That was the first step of the development, figuring out a gateway from fiat into crypto safely. And the second stage is the topic of clearing settlements for potentially hundreds of cryptocurrencies. Moving forward, we are looking at CBDCs, stablecoins, and how to support their developments.
KC: What other experiments is your firm developing regarding crypto, such as NFTs, payments in the Metaverse, etc.?
LO: Personally, I’m fascinated by NFTs, but I also recognize there’s an enormous security challenge. The answer to this, which is still in development, cannot be that of cashing-out to a non-connected physical location.
KC: How do you see new developments playing a role in financial inclusion?
LO: I think I read the statistics the other day that 1% to 2% of the entire [world population] has participated in crypto. So there’s a lot of money in it, but it’s a very, very low percentage demographic who feels they can actually participate. So it’s a long way to go, and we are not quite there yet.
Speaking at a COP26 press conference in Glasgow, Scotland on Wednesday, a panoply of experts from the tech-environmental sector spoke to global citizens across the world about improving coordination and support for climate action with blockchain technology.
The GloCha United Citizens Organization for Action for Climate Empowerment has been launched at COP26 as a blockchain-based quasi-international organization located in Klagenfurt, Austria. It will now seek to utilize blockchain technology to advance climate change objectives in alignment with the UN SDGs.
The UCO is rooted in the Action for Climate Empowerment Innovation Project, or ACE_AT, as well as Global Challenges Action Empowerment Consortium, or GloCha. It serves to facilitate open discussions about society’s collective vision for climate action and to empower large-scale resource mobilization.
GloCha has partnered with the UN Habitat Youth Programme and Climate Chain Coalition, among others, to collaborate with youth climate groups to construct the technological and institutional infrastructure required to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals through impact-oriented entrepreneurship models.
Hosted by the GloCha founder Miroslav Polzer, panelists included Romi Sumaria, Dairou Sidiki, as well as Cointelegraph’s editor-in-chief, Kristina Cornèr representing as a media partner of UCO, among others.
Co-Founder & CEO of Oblique Life, Romi Sumaria, spoke about the opportunities for mobilizing financial and human capital towards climate change initiatives through the implementation of blockchain technology, stating:
“Blockchain will allow us to make sure those who are investing in these projects can understand where their money or time is going, exactly what the metric they are looking at are, and see what their return-on-impact (ROI) is.”
The organization’s roadmap outlines their objectives to publish a whitepaper report in late February 2022, followed by registration offering in early April 2022.
Additional considerations include the distribution of carbon footprint compensations Cryptostamps, resource mobilization through DAOs, as well as support to several society engagement projects.
UCO will work alongside respective governmental regimes to build these partnerships over the coming months, with expected deployment to commence at the COP27 hosted by the continent of Africa in November 2022.
CEO of APCD Chad, and long-standing partner of GloCha, Dairou Sidiki, commented on the importance of engaging African citizens on issues concerning sustainable development, as well as fostering the development of innovative solutions:
“We think that is an excellent idea to implement this partnership to fundraise and mobilize resources for climate action in Africa particularly, and also to take into consideration what African’s can have as solutions and help them implement these solutions on the ground.”
Related: Measuring success: Offsetting crypto carbon emissions necessary for adoption?
Over the duration of the COP26 conference, a number of thought leaders in both the environmental and crypto ecosystem have expressed valid concerns about the rising energy intensive activities on blockchain networks such as Bitcoin.
The leading digital asset has discouraged climate experts for its heavy reliance on fossil fuels to sustain the production of mining activities, a fundamental pillar of its establishment and operations.
Earlier this year, an expert research team at the University of Cambridge published the Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index which calculated that Bitcoin consumes 121.36 terawatt-hours annually, a seismic figure which ranks above entire nations such as Argentina for energy consumption.
A number of cryptocurrency firms intent on researching and developing solutions to decarbonize blockchain activities have also gained traction in recent months.
Jack Dorsey’s Square teamed up with Ark Invest this year to publicize a memorandum arguing that Bitcoin presents a unique opportunity to propel innovation and adoption of a green network grid solely powered by renewable energy sources.
What can fix this problem is an ecosystem where solar/wind, batteries, and bitcoin mining co-exist to form a green grid that runs almost exclusively on renewable energy. Not only is this doable, it is doable without jeopardizing the sector’s profitability.
— Square Crypto (@sqcrypto) April 21, 2021
Citing analytical data metrics such as the Levelized Cost of Energy, or LCOE, and Transmission capacity to determine the ease of transition towards green production, the report concluded:
“The Bitcoin and energy markets are converging and we believe the energy asset owners of today will likely become the miners of tomorrow.”
Cointelegraph’s Editor-in-Chief, Kristina Cornèr spoke at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland, on Tuesday about the positive impact of the cryptocurrency ecosystem on environmental objectives.
Arriving in Scotland’s second-largest city following panel hosting duties at Lisbon’s Web Summit last week, Cornèr spoke on a wide range of topics ranging from establishing interoperable relationships between people and technology to the mining impact of Bitcoin (BTC).
Commenting on the disparity between the implementation of climate change initiatives between the traditional energy sectors and the crypto community, Cornèr argued that the emergence of new technology provides an opportunity to learn, stating:
“Decentralization is an alternative to campanilism, or as it’s known in the English language, parochialism. This is a local, small mindset versus a global vision of a decentralized world.”
Before she transitioned into the cryptocurrency space, Cornèr established an illustrious background working in the environment sector as a Communications Manager for the Union of French Entreprises for Energy Efficiency and Ecology and continued on to study international energy politics and green technologies as a Research Fellow at the ENERPO Center at the European University.
Discussing the often hypocritical tendencies at global conferences and summits to advocate for universal behavior change at the consumer level, instead of governmental or corporation-led action, she stated:
“The key to big historical shifts is not in completely changing or shifting, but in new synergy between people, technology and education.”
Related: How will blockchain technology help fight climate change? Experts answer
Non-profit environmental group, Germanwatch shared their latest iteration of their annual Climate Change Performance Index 2022. The expert panel of authors spoke to a global audience about the performance of 60 nations which account for 92% of the global emissions.
Offering her opinion on the misconceptions surrounding Bitcoin’s mining activity, and the impact of tarnishing a nascent industry for its early flaws, instead of recognizing its future potential for energy efficiency, Cornèr stated:
“Of course there are pitfalls as there is with every new industry, but we are on the way to creating more green solutions. What is really important with the blockchain space is that people are ready to think with a new mindset and searching for the solutions and the climate change coalition is a great example of that.”
The Crypto Climate Accord is an environmentally-focused initiative collating over 150 firms from the crypto, blockchain, tech and energy industries who seek to establish a unified approach to supporting sustainability, as well as making pledges for net-carbon output by 2030. Notable participants include Consensys, Web3 Foundation, Ripple, Near Protocol and Pixl8, amongst others.
Concluding her speech, Cornèr shared a unifying message about the inherent value of humanity, amid the rise in technology, in securing the future prosperity of Earth’s ecosystem:
“The crypto community is ambitious, daring and full of potential. Innovation is about synergy. It’s beyond technology and about people. It’s about us.”