Web3 And Sustainability: The Environmental Impact of Web3

Web3’s carbon footprint

The topic of Web3 and sustainability is big. Blockchain technologies, cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and decentralized applications are all part of the Web3 era. This does not mean that there is nothing to worry about, though; it also marks what might be called one of the biggest threats facing our environment ever – Web3’s carbon footprint.

This article will look at some technical aspects and subtle environmental impacts of this new phase in human history while underlining how critical sustainable development within it is before an ecological disaster of gigantic proportions occurs.

Energy Consumption Under the Spotlight: Proof-of-Work Blockchains

One of the most significant considerations about Web3 and sustainability centers on the energy-intensive nature of Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus mechanisms. Employed by major blockchains like Bitcoin, PoW underpins the security and validation of transactions on the network. Miners – computers dedicated to solving complex cryptographic puzzles – compete against each other, with the winner earning the right to add a block of transactions and receive cryptocurrency rewards. This intentional computational difficulty has staggering consequences.

  • The Numbers Don’t Lie: The Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index provides a sobering perspective: Bitcoin’s annual energy consumption rivals that of countries like Argentina. Such energy use translates to a sizable carbon footprint.
  • The Source Matters: Much of Bitcoin’s (and similar PoW networks’) energy consumption comes from fossil fuels like coal. This exacerbates climate change by releasing significant amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Shifting the Paradigm: Proof-of-Stake and Other Sustainable Alternatives

The growing recognition of PoW’s energy woes has accelerated the development and adopting of alternative consensus mechanisms, with Proof-of-Stake (PoS) gaining momentum. 

  • A Different Approach: The PoS model replaces energy-hungry puzzle-solving with a system where validators secure the blockchain by staking a portion of their cryptocurrency holdings. Selection for validating blocks is often based on the amount staked and other factors, drastically reducing energy requirements.
  • Ethereum’s Milestone: Ethereum, one of the most prominent Web3 platforms, has successfully undergone “the merge” – a transition from PoW to PoS. 
  • Beyond PoS: While PoS presents a significant leap forward, the quest for more sustainable consensus mechanisms continues. Other models include:
    • Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) and Proof-of-Authority (PoA): These systems streamline the validation process by reducing the number of nodes involved and minimizing energy use.
    • Layer 2 Solutions: Built atop existing blockchains, Layer 2 solutions like rollups and sidechains handle many transactions off the main, energy-heavy blockchain. This offloading improves scalability and reduces the overall energy burden.

Examining the Environmental Cost of NFTs

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), unique digital representations of art, collectibles, music, and more on blockchains, have seen explosive popularity. Unfortunately, their environmental impact warrants examination. 

  • The Minting and Trading Dilemma: Creating (minting) and trading NFTs, especially on PoW-based blockchains, involves transactions that translate to energy consumption.
  • Mitigating the Impact: Initiatives like carbon offsets, where projects counterbalance carbon emissions by supporting renewable energy or conservation efforts, have emerged. Additionally, some NFT platforms are built upon more energy-efficient blockchains.
  • A Matter of Choice: Ultimately, the power lies with environmentally conscious NFT creators and collectors. By prioritizing those blockchains and platforms with verifiable commitments to sustainable practices, they can play a crucial role in shaping the future of Web3 innovation.

Smart Contracts: Efficiency Potential and Hidden Complexities

Smart contracts, the self-executing programs embedded within blockchains, have significant potential for enhancing efficiency. However, their complex nature can lead to hidden challenges that affect energy consumption and sustainability. This makes them a perfect example of the interplay between Web3 and sustainability.

Efficiency Potential of Smart Contract

  • Automating Processes: Smart contracts can automate tedious, manual tasks in various industries. Imagine streamlining supply chain management by automatically triggering payments upon delivery confirmation. This eliminates the need for human intervention and potential delays, potentially reducing energy expenditure associated with traditional logistics operations.
  • Reducing Intermediaries: Smart contracts can facilitate direct peer-to-peer transactions, removing the need for centralized institutions and their associated overhead. This can improve transaction efficiency and reduce the energy consumption required to maintain those entities’ infrastructure.
  • Enhanced Tracking and Traceability: The tamper-proof nature of blockchain technology makes smart contracts ideal for tracking the movement of goods and materials throughout a supply chain. This transparency allows for identifying and eliminating inefficiencies that can contribute to environmental impact.

Hidden Complexities of Smart Contract

  • Energy Consumption of Complex Logic: While smart contracts can automate processes, complex logic embedded within them can consume significant energy during execution. Each interaction on the blockchain incurs an energy cost. Developers must optimize smart contract code to minimize unnecessary computations and avoid unnecessary loops or redundant checks.
  • The ‘Gas Fee’ Dilemma: On some blockchains, users pay fees (often called ‘gas fees’) to incentivize miners or validators to process their transactions. Complex smart contracts can increase gas fees due to the increased computational resources needed. This can discourage adoption and potentially negate the intended efficiency gains.
  • Security Vulnerabilities: Bugs or vulnerabilities in smart contracts can have unintended consequences. Exploiting these vulnerabilities often requires significant processing power to resolve, increasing energy consumption. Additionally, fixing vulnerabilities can involve deploying a new smart contract version, leading to additional energy usage.
  • The “Eternal Storage” Issue: Data stored on a blockchain is immutable. While this immutability is a security benefit, it also means extra data from smart contracts cannot be easily removed. This can lead to long-term data storage accumulation, potentially increasing energy demands.

Mitigating the Risks and Maximizing Efficiency of Smart Contract

  • Focus on Code Design: Smart contract developers should adopt a “green coding” philosophy, aiming for elegant, minimal, and energy-efficient code with clear logic.
  • Smart Contract Audits and Testing: Rigorous audits before deployment can identify vulnerabilities and potential inefficiencies that could lead to increased energy consumption.
  • Layer 2 Solutions: As discussed earlier, Layer 2 solutions can help reduce the overall energy burden on the main blockchain by offloading some of the smart contract execution off-chain. 
  • Education and Best Practices: It is crucial to promote knowledge sharing and establish best practices within the developer community regarding sustainable smart contract development.

A Nuanced Assessment: Web3’s Environmental Impact in Context

The environmental discourse surrounding Web3 demands caution against overly simplistic generalizations. A balanced analysis involves several crucial factors:

  • Web3 vs. Web2: A Comparative Lens: A fair assessment of Web3’s environmental footprint necessitates comparison with existing centralized systems (Web2). Massive data centers powering cloud services, online banking, and streaming platforms consume vast energy, often derived from non-renewable sources. Web3’s goal of decentralization presents the chance to re-architect systems with increased consideration for sustainability.
  • The Potential for Positive Environmental Solutions: The inherent transparency and traceability of Web3 technologies offer opportunities for innovative environmental applications. These include:
    • Carbon Tracking and Markets: Blockchains can facilitate precise and reliable tracking of carbon footprints across supply chains, enabling the development of efficient carbon offset and trading markets.
    • Peer-to-Peer Energy Trading: Smart contracts and distributed ledger technology potentially revolutionize local power grids. Users can potentially become “prosumers,” producing and consuming renewable energy, fostering decentralized and sustainable energy systems.
    • Transparent Environmental Fundraising and Project Tracking: Web3 infrastructure offers means to improve the transparency and accountability of donations towards environmental causes, as well as tracking the real-world impact of conservation and sustainability projects.

The Path Towards Sustainable Web3: A Roadmap for Innovation

Realizing the transformative potential of Web3 while minimizing its environmental impact requires a collaborative and proactive approach. Here’s a straightforward roadmap for stakeholders in the Web3 ecosystem:

  • Embrace Energy-Efficient Technologies
    Prioritize consensus mechanisms like Proof-of-Stake and their continuous improvements. Developers and projects should choose blockchains that are committed to reducing energy use.
  • Harness Renewable Energy
    The Web3 community should actively promote the use of renewable energy in cryptocurrency mining operations and data centers supporting decentralized networks.
  • Ensure Transparency
    Make environmental impact metrics for blockchains, smart contracts, and NFT platforms readily available. This transparency allows users to make informed choices and drives continuous improvement in sustainability.
  • Focus on Research and Innovation
    Invest in the research and development of energy-efficient protocols, carbon-neutral NFT mechanisms, and alternative consensus methods.
  • Educate and Empower Users
    Inform Web3 users about the environmental implications of their actions on different blockchains and platforms. This knowledge encourages mindful decision-making and supports sustainable Web3 communities.
  • Implement Regulation and Incentives
    Smart policies that balance innovation with environmental protection are essential. Incentives for adopting sustainable blockchain technologies or regulations to phase out energy-intensive systems like Proof-of-Work can make a significant difference.

Embracing Sustainability in Web3 Technologies

The environmental impact of Web3 technologies needs serious attention and action. While early versions of Web3 raise valid concerns about energy consumption, dismissing its potential entirely is shortsighted. Web3’s decentralized and open-source nature allows for rapid innovation and adaptability in addressing these challenges.

By making sustainability a core focus, the Web3 community can create a future where this technology promotes economic growth, social change, and environmental progress. Web3’s development offers a chance to fix issues from past technologies.

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You can chose on which blockchain you want to mint on and minting fee is covered by Freename!


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How does it work?

Once you have completed your order, you will automatically receive on www.freename.io platform, in your personal area “portfolio” the randomly assigned NFT Domain value $50 or if you’re lucky a randomly assigned TLD with value $699 (between these: .immersive; .multiverse; .freelancer; .cashback; .hologram)

you can chose on which blockchain you want to mint your NFT Domain/TLD on and minting fee is covered by Freename!


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Why do i Need a Wallet?

Freename domains are blockchain-based assets and would be minted and stored using a wallet. Users are required to mint and manage their domains using a Metamask or Coinbase-configured wallet. It must be a non-custodial wallet, meaning that one must own the private keys to the wallet in order to approve transactions via a signature.

To benefit from Freename Web 3 domains/TLDs, you must have a wallet. This is because Web 3 domains/TLDs are blockchain-based assets. Users can mint and manage their domains using Metamask or Coinbase-configured wallets.

Keep in mind that it must be a non-custodial wallet. You own the private keys to the wallet (in order to approve transactions via a signature).

Are the Domains Associated with ICANN?

ICANN does not manage freename.io domains. Freename.io believes their TLDs/domains must allow customers to operate independently. Freename.io wants to build a utility infrastructure, allowing customers to use their services for valuable and generative purposes. By leveraging blockchain technology, Freename Web 3 domains/TLDs have no centralized authority imposing rules and regulations.

What is a Wallet?

Every blockchain user requires a wallet in order to interact with the network. A wallet is essentially an account on the blockchain where transactions can be sent and received. It is also where one can store blockchain assets such as cryptocurrency or NFTs (non-fungible tokens). There is no personal information associated with a wallet and none is required to create one. A wallet consists of a public key and a private key. The public key can be safely shared with anyone who wishes to send assets to the corresponding wallet, however, the private key should not be shared and is the key to accessing the wallet in the event where access is lost or to create another instance.

A crypto wallet (cryptocurrency wallet) is software or hardware that enables users to store and use cryptocurrency. With cryptocurrencies, there isn’t any actual money to carry around in a wallet. They exist on the blockchain. Similarly to traditional bank transfers, crypto wallets enable users to send and receive cryptocurrencies, NFTs, etc.

A wallet consists of a public key and a private key. To receive assets, you share your public key associated with your wallet. You should NEVER share your private key.

How do i Claim my Earnings from Freename

ou can withdraw revenues generated passively through a cryptocurrency transfer. Connect your cryptocurrency wallet and, once your withdrawal request is confirmed, the desired amount is pulled from Freename’s reserves and conveniently delivered to you!

Claim your earnings by following these steps:

  1. Connect your cryptocurrency wallet to Freename.io
  2. Request a withdrawal
  3. Receive request confirmation
  4. Receive withdrawal directly to your wallet.

Can i Transfer Domains?

Yes. The domain is stored in your cryptocurrency wallet and can be transferred by you after you have minted it. Access your portfolio, select the TLD or Domain you wish to transfer and type the recipient’s address. Afterwards, you must paste the OTP code you received by mail to confirm the transaction. Keep in mind that currently, it is not possible to import the domain that has been transferred, but it will be possible soon!

Yes. Domains are transferable ONLY after a TLD/domain has been minted and stored in a user’s wallet.

To transfer the TLD (or domain), the user must:

  • Access their wallet
  • Select the item they want to transfer
  • Enter the recipient’s address.
  • Confirm the transaction by pasting the OTP received by email

In the future, Freename.io will support importing domains that have been transferred.

What about Trademarks?

Registering a trademark on your Freename Web3 TLD will allow you to protect your web3 TLD and your logo worldwide juridically.

From the moment you deposit a trademark request, your web3 TLD will be protected worldwide for 6 months awaiting for the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IGE.ch) to confirm and register the availability of your TLD.****

A trademark is any symbol, phrase, or word that allows customers to identify a company’s goods or services. Freename is a web3 domain/TLD provider that also provides trademark registration.

A user must reach out to the trademark department to register a trademark. To get your trademark filed for review at the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, a user must provide the following:

  1. Complete a Know your customer (KYC)
  2. A list of TLDs they wish to trademark
  3. Proof of payment

Once these conditions are met, it takes one week for the trademark to be reviewed and logo/TLDs to be provided with six months of worldwide protection.

Is Minting the same as Buying?

Purchasing a TLD (or domain) on Freename and minting it on the blockchain are two distinct steps. When you purchase a TLD (or domain), the transaction is recorded in Freename’s database and not on the blockchain. Minting a TLD (or domain) on the blockchain requires a second step: log into the user’s personal area, select the TLD (or domain) and press “mint TLD” (or domain): done! Don’t worry, once you have purchased a Freename domain, no one can take it away from you!

No. Buying and Minting a TLD/domain are two different things.**

Buying **is the process of recording a transaction on Freename’s database and not on the blockchain.

Minting is the process of pushing a user’s domain from Freename.io data onto the public ledger of a blockchain and into a user’s wallet. Giving the user full control over the TLD/domain.

It is very easy to mint a domain/TLD once you purchase it. Simply:

  • Log into your personal area
  • Select the TLD (or domain)
  • Press “mint TLD” (or domain)

What is Domain Minting?

Minting is the process of publishing a Freename domain (or TLD) on the blockchain via your wallet to gain full custody of the domain. This means that the only person that has control over the domain (or TLD) is the person who controls (has access to) the wallet.

Minting is the process of pushing a user’s domain from Freename.io data onto the public ledger of a blockchain and into a user’s wallet. Giving the user full ownership over the domain.

Minting on Freename.io is as simple as the following steps:

  1. Go to the Freename.io website
  2. Enter the TLD/domain you want to buy in the search bar
  3. Add the TLD/domain to your cart
  4. Go to checkout
  5. Create a Freename.io account
  6. Purchase the TLD/domain with cryptocurrency or a credit card
  7. Go to “portfolio and incomes.”
  8. Click on mint TLD/domain

Which domains are Protected?

Protected domains and TLDs are domains and TLDs that we’ve detected are associated with a brand, organization, or notable person. We believe it is important to increase adoption for the next generation of the internet by helping to onboard brands into the Web3 era. If you are interested in applying for a Protected domain, please contact us.

TLDs/Domains associated with a notable person, brand or organization are considered Protected Domains. Protected domains help onboard brands in Web 3 increasing adoption. Protected domains also protect users from others impersonating/stealing their domains.

Reach out to Freename.io to apply for a protected domain.

Why use Freename?

Freename domains are unique by their very nature: only with Freename you can register domains with unique TLDs for your digital identity while passively earning money!

Freename.io is not only the leading TLD and Domains platform in Web 3, but also lets users generate passive income!

Owning a Freename Web 3 TLD entitles users to receive passive income whenever a domain is bought on their TLD. Users can register and mint TLD/domains of their choice if available.

What is a Domain?

A domain name is a string of letters and/or numbers that points to the IP address of the corresponding website. Generally, it is easier to remember a name than a long string of numbers.

A domain name is an address that people type into a browser bar to find a website. It consists of a Top-Level Domain (TLD), everything that comes after the dot, and the Second-Level Domain (SLD), everything that comes before the dot.

For example, “Freename.io” is the domain name, “Freename” is the SLD and “io” is the TLD.

Which Chains are Supported?

Freename has a multi-chain approach. You can choose on which Blockchain to mint your Web3 Domains and TLDs ranging Among Polygon, Cronos, and Binance.

A user can mint a Freename.io domain/TLD on the following blockchains:

  • Polygon
  • Cronos
  • Binance

Freename plans to expand its multi-chain approach by adding blockchains upon which domains can be minted.

Are there Renewal Fees?

No! Once you’ve bought a Freename Domain or TLD, it’s yours forever, no renewal fees ever!

No. There are no renewal fees on Freename.io. Once a user has paid a one-time payment for a domain/TLD, they own it. Forever.

This is the significant advantage of Web 3 domain/TLD over traditional alternatives.

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