The world is in the midst of a global climate crisis—one that is impossible to ignore. To avert the worst-case climate scenarios, countries around the world have committed to reach carbon net-zero by 2050. Addressing sustainability across all industries is a worldwide priority, and global finance is no exception.
The blockchain and digital asset industry will play a critical role in building a sustainable future for global finance. We, as an industry, need to come together to dramatically reduce our collective environmental impact as broad adoption takes hold.
This is why, today, Ripple is pledging to achieve carbon net-zero by 2030. We’re also partnering with the XRP Ledger Foundation, Energy Web and Rocky Mountain Institute to decarbonize public blockchains—starting with the XRP Ledger—through the use of the new open-source EW Zero tool. Additionally, Ripple is driving new research with leading universities that evaluates energy consumption across digital assets, credit card networks and cash.
Our commitment to sustainability does not stop there. We put more resources behind initiatives that accelerate the industry’s efforts, including:
- Comprehensively measuring Ripple’s own carbon footprint and reducing it by purchasing clean, renewable energy for all of our offices and business activities globally.
- Investing in innovative carbon removal technology, with the goal of removing all of our remaining emissions by 2030—and seeding the next generation of decarbonization technology at scale.
- Partnering with the University College London (UCL) and the National University of Singapore on research into the environmental impact of crypto adoption.
Full implementation of these green, sustainable practices won’t happen overnight. It’s imperative that industry leaders take responsibility now to reduce energy consumption, before it’s too late.
Sustainability Informs Future Economic Growth
As the world makes the transition to a clean energy future, sustainability is clearly a primary ingredient and priority in driving future economic growth. In fact, the adoption of sustainable measures across industries to reduce carbon emissions can save the global economy an estimated $26 trillion by 2030. The global finance industry needs to contribute.
Examining long-term sustainability of money is one way we can contribute. Most currencies today aren’t environmentally friendly, with the production and movement of money contributing to pollution, deforestation and a large carbon footprint. By offering an alternative to cash that is more efficient, accessible and sustainable, blockchain and digital assets are helping drive impact today—and their crucial role in creating a more sustainable future for finance will grow over time.
When it comes to sustainability, however, digital assets aren’t all made equally. Bitcoin is arguably the most widely known cryptocurrency, but by no means, is it the most sustainable. Current cryptocurrency mining methods consume relatively large amounts of energy. In 2019 alone, Bitcoin transactions consumed almost as much energy as the country of Portugal does on average, each year. In contrast, the digital asset XRP is a staggering 61,000x more energy efficient than Bitcoin.
With the adoption of innovative financial technologies like cryptocurrency and blockchain, we must prioritize sustainability in parallel with this push toward digitization.
FinTech Is Poised to Lead a Carbon-Neutral Future for Finance
Traditional finance is turning its attention to sustainability, with innovative advances from the fintech space lending a helping hand. Fintech, including blockchain and crypto, are well positioned to be at the forefront of global finance’s commitment to a more sustainable future.
For instance, BlackRock, a global investment manager and technology provider, is helping its clients invest sustainably, create sustainable products and engage with companies on sustainability-related risks. Meanwhile, the Rocky Mountain Institute recently launched the Center for Climate Aligned Finance, which includes commitments from some of the world’s biggest financial providers to help create a low-carbon, sustainable economy and society.
With financial technology playing an increasingly large role in the growth of the global financial system, the blockchain and digital asset industry has an opportunity to get sustainability right, early on, and ensure what’s being built now will be sustainable well into the future.
Our Role in Building a Sustainable Future
By partnering with technology and conservation organizations to ensure all blockchains can become carbon neutral, Ripple is leading the sustainability charge.
The XRP Ledger’s native digital asset XRP was specifically chosen to power RippleNet’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) service for its immutable green aspects and its payment scalability. With independent researchers suggesting that XRP transactions could grow by more than 1000% by 2025, this has massive implications for energy savings and the carbon footprint reduction of blockchain-driven finance.
That is why we’re helping to launch the EW Zero open-source tool that enables any blockchain, not just the XRP Ledger, to decarbonize through the purchase of renewable energy in local markets in partnership with Energy Web Foundation. We’ve also committed substantial funding to the XRP Ledger Foundation to support their efforts to engage developers in ensuring the XRP Ledger remains a leader in sustainability.
The impact of climate change is moving at breakneck speed. Together with the clean energy industry and global finance decision-makers, we can unite to position blockchain as the most sustainable path forward in creating a green digital financial future.