Blockchain in Sustainable Programming

The benefits of blockchain implementation across multiple sectors are well-documented, but how can this decentralised solution be used to achieve more sustainable programming?

As the effects of the ongoing climate crisis continue to impact weather patterns and living conditions across the planet, we must continue to make every aspect of our lives, from transport and energy usage to all of our technology, greener and more sustainable.

Sustainable programming and green coding practices play a crucial role in this transition. These concepts exist to help both coding and programming become as environmentally efficient as possible, by minimising the energy consumption of these processes. But sustainable programming also means ensuring that the solutions we program can be used to promote and achieve sustainable goals in the future.

Blockchain still represents a relatively new technology, but as its capabilities continue to expand, so does its role in creating a greener industry for programmers as well as the wider tech sector. To better understand this, it’s important to first understand how blockchain solutions, supported by Erlang, are utilised today.

How is Erlang promoting innovation in the Blockchain space?

Though a complex technology to define, blockchain is essentially a more secure, decentralised way for companies and organisations to record transactions. Both time-stamping and reference links, as well as the ability for anyone with access rights to track transactions but not alter them, provide an opportunity for blockchain to completely change the way organisations handle data. This is achieved through the 6 main blockchain principles.

As a coding language, Erlang represents the ideal foundation for blockchain solutions thanks to several key benefits. Firstly, Erlang is a high-level, functional language that can be quickly deployed, which is often a necessity in the fast-moving, competitive markets that blockchain is usually deployed within, like fintech.

Both Erlang and Elixir also don’t manipulate memory directly, which means they’re immune to many traditional vulnerabilities. This ensures they’re able to offer safer, more secure blockchain solutions.

Companies are also opting to use Erlang for blockchain due to its high availability, resiliency, and the fact that its massively concurrent among other benefits. You can learn more about each of these, as well as the benefits mentioned above, in our recent tech deep dive.

Once established, Erlang blockchains can be used to better support sustainable programming initiatives in several key ways.

Contemporary and sustainable uses for Blockchain technology

It’s important to first note that early blockchain implementations consumed a lot of energy to power their decentralised network, which raised concerns regarding its sustainability as a solution. However, continued innovations have allowed companies to limit this issue considerably.

Ethereum, currently the world’s second-largest blockchain by market cap, were able to cut the energy consumption of its network by 99.9% late last year. 

blockchain sustainable programming

Source: Statistica

This was achieved thanks to a switch from a Proof of Work (PoW) chain to a new Proof of Stake (PoS) approach, which Ethereum called “The Merge”. There are continued hopes that similar changes in the green coding behind the blockchain can access further energy consumption reductions in the future. 
PwC has created what’s known as its Blockchain Sustainability Framework to promote these improvements and to ensure future efforts can further support sustainable programming. In addition to these energy consumption improvements, blockchain can also work sustainably for businesses, governments and organisations in a myriad of other ways.

Blockchain’s role in sustainable infrastructure and renewable energy

The UK’s OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) recently published a case study analysing how blockchain technologies can serve as a digital enabler for sustainable infrastructure. 

They confirmed that sustainable infrastructure services are already being impacted by blockchain technology and that its core competencies could be used in several case studies, from monitoring infrastructural standards to optimising emissions certificate trading systems.

The UN’s Environment Programme published a similar article last year, evidencing blockchain’s role in fighting the ongoing climate crisis. Several businesses worldwide have already used blockchain to support renewable energy projects and to reduce their future energy costs.

Improved monitoring of supply chains through Blockchain smart contracts

If companies can implement smart contracts, stored on blockchain technology, opportunities exist to better track and automate their supply chain logistics. Smart contracts are programs that run automatically and securely through the blockchain once certain pre-determined conditions have been met.

This often removes the need for intermediaries, considerably reducing the time taken on signing agreements. It also then provides an automated, optimised way to manage stock, conduct peer-to-peer transactions or manage a supply chain.
But these contracts can also be used to achieve greener outcomes through the sustainable programming potential of blockchain. By creating smart contracts, companies can track the performance of supply chains, creating clear data on environmental impacts. This data can be monitored, and operational improvements can be made to reduce these emissions. Often, these changes can also cut costs in addition to creating a more sustainable supply chain.

Tracking sustainability metrics through Blockchain

Further to supply chain impacts, blockchain technology allows companies to track a number of different sustainability metrics, such as carbon emissions, renewable energy credits, waste reduction and other variables.

All of these metrics can be tracked in real-time, creating actionable data which companies can use to become more sustainable and further optimise their business practices. 
As blockchain technology continues to advance, new monitoring solutions, such as the ability to track plastic production or water usage, will enable both more detailed data and the capacity to implement even more sustainable changes in areas like manufacturing and product design. These improvements could benefit both companies and governments shortly.

Accessing Blockchain benefits with Erlang Solutions

Blockchain’s role in sustainable programming will only continue to grow as the technology develops. Companies should be looking to build the foundation of their blockchain efforts today, to continue to access these benefits shortly.

Our team at Erlang Solutions continues to work to unlock its potential in blockchain advancements for companies worldwide. 

To find out more about how Erlang Solutions blockchain support could help your company achieve more sustainable programming, contact our team today.

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