Nature 3.0 – Will blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies save the planet?

ENTITLE blog - a collaborative writing project on Political Ecology

by Sian Sullivan

Can new cryptocurrencies finance projects with positive environmental impacts, whilst unlocking ‘the $120 trillion natural capital market’? Mining cryptocurrencies through appealing to environmental concerns seems more consistent with speculative tendencies in an era of financialised neoliberalism, than attuned with practices of environmental care and equitable distribution of value.

image 1. Blockchained earth. Source: Front News International.

First there was Nature. Sometimes an Edenic garden, whose fruitfulness we live with in peace and reciprocity; sometimes a vast wilderness to be feared, tamed or worshiped. But always a lively mesh of entities, whose magnificent diversity is now threatened by a single biological species – Homo sapiens.

Then came Nature 2.0. A material world progressively understood, shared and commoditised in user-generated digital information cascading through multi-player communities inhabiting Web 2.0 – exemplified, perhaps, by the aptly named Second Life. In this technologically inscribed and consumed world…

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