‘Blockchain technology could save the planet’

Could a blockchain-based incentive system encourage large-scale fossil fuel divestment?

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By Jonny Bairstow
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Blockchain technology could provide an alternative investment option to fossil fuels as the future of once-stable assets such as coal and oil becomes increasingly uncertain.

That’s according to John Henry Clippinger, Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) and Founder at digital developer Swytch, which is offering a blockchain-based incentive system to encourage large-scale divestment.

Professor Clippinger says the platform aims to accelerate the shift to sustainable assets and boost the proliferation of technologies such as solar power and battery storage, leaving the “legacy system” of fossil fuels behind as its value begins to slide.

He says this is occurring because climate risk is not properly priced into the cost of fossil fuel energy, which he blames for increasing desertification, sea levels rising and temperatures hitting record highs.

The professor suggests fossil fuels have reached their natural cap, which is human survival – he citesĀ Cape Town running out of water and certain Asian cities becoming uninhabitable because of air pollution as examples.

The Swytch blockchain sees investors buy an environmental token validated on clean energy as an alternative to stocks and shares in petrochemical giants.

Professor Clippinger said: “It’s a global incentive structure, it’s not captured to particular sovereign interests or private interests.

“You have sovereign wealth funds holding four trillion, five trillion dollars worth of [fossil fuel investments], those at some point are going to rapidly depreciate and they’re going to want to accelerate their transition from that to a sustainable asset class.”