While the actual, measurable impact of human activities on climate change is debatable, most people will agree that CO2 emissions do affect the atmosphere. For those who are concerned about such things, there are two general ways to reduce our impact on the environment: through the free market, or through government enforcement.
While it is true that government enforcement has had some positive results, such as the reduction of carbon monoxide entering our shared atmosphere through the requirement of catalytic converters on cars in the US and other countries, to convert carbon monoxide (a poison) to carbon dioxide (not a poison), it is also true that historically, such problems have been solved by the free market, without the use of force. The debate will rage on, as to how much government force is necessary, and whether the free market can solve most problems. But one thing is clear: the use of government force is a slippery slope, subject to the opinions of those in office at the time that laws are written and enforced. In the case of environmentalism, it has even led to extreme legislation that would incarcerate and fine people for distributing plastic straws, as much as 6 months in prison and $1,000 per straw, because legislators used the opinion of a child to create climate alarmism and to demand action. Can the free market solve these problems, without the use of force?
Humans have been burning things to utilize the released energy for thousands of years. The Chinese were burning coal as early as 2000 BC, and natural gas as early as 200 BC. In Europe and in the US, people were burning wood, and lots of it. Eventually, they switched to coal, fueling the industrial revolution. It was more efficient and cleaner than wood, but still had its drawbacks. That led to the use of petroleum, a much more efficient source of fuel. We could get more energy out of it, with less of an impact on the environment. We still use it, often in the form of gasoline in our cars, and technology is improving fuel efficiency because that is what the market demands. People want to spend less on travel, and they want to have less of an impact on the environment. Car manufacturers have responded with cars that get more miles to the gallon, and with electric vehicles and hybrids. Enter CyClean.
With the funds that CyClean raises through its ICO, the company plans to manufacture vehicles that will reward users with tokens for their travel time. Electric cars and bikes will have a chip that tracks usage, and as with most IoT devices, they will upload this data to a central server, with a daily cap. Users will then be rewarded with coins, which may hold value that can be traded for fiat, other coins, or goods and services.
This can be thought of as a new spin on cryptocurrency mining. Rather than solving mathematical problems, the user is solving environmental problems, and getting rewarded for it.
This model has a number of quirks that the developers will need to work out. It seems easy to trick the system into thinking you’re mining coins through travel. If the coins do in fact become valuable at some point, then a person or company could counterfeit the chips and run them, without the use of a vehicle. Chips could be given unique IDs to thwart this problem, and a ratings system, biometrics or other authentication could be implemented to solve it. Indeed, people have been counterfeiting fiat currency for centuries, and government printing presses have been innovating ways to combat the problem with plastic strips, special paper and other solutions, so it can be assumed that CyClean can come up with similar checks and balances.
There is also the problem of centralization. If vehicles must communicate with a centralized server, then it is no longer a trustless system, and users will rely on the company to make good on their promises. Again, car manufacturers have been doing this for decades, so it’s not outside of the realm of possibility.
There are other problems with this model, and with enough smart people on staff, CyClean should be able to solve most of them, as they’ve addressed various issues in their white paper.
Regardless of the outcome of this project, many people who are concerned with the environment would agree that it’s a good idea, at least in theory. And, many people concerned with the encroachment of government force on people’s lives, including the objects they own, such as straws and cars, would agree that a free market solution to these problems is best. CyClean is a free market solution. If enough people like the idea, they’ll buy into it. If CyClean does their job and provides a product that works, then it could have a major effect not just on the environment, but on our culture and how we look to solve problems. If they fail, they’ve at minimum put this idea into the world, and a competitor will quickly fill that void.
Dennis Consorte has an appetite for news and information about cryptocurrencies, blockchain, IoT, fintech, adtech, martech and other technologies. He also has over 20 years’ experience in digital marketing and content strategy.
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