STEPN promises to build a greener Web3
The dark side of NFTs
Over the past year or so, NFTs have been launched squarely into the mainstream, a part of what some have dubbed the web3 movement. While enthusiasts are quite bullish on how web3 will transform the internet, some critics are raising alarms.
Perhaps the most serious is the question of sustainability. Climate change is already ushering in irreversible changes to our climate, from hotter temperatures to more severe storms to increased drought. Just this year, the 2022 IPCC report assessed that urgent action is needed to deescalate extreme weather conditions that are already wreaking havoc on the earth’s ecosystem. Critics often point towards the energy used up by crypto mining.
What can startups do? The NFT market has gained a tremendous amount of momentum over the past few months, and projects can do their part to lessen their impact, reduce energy usage, and encourage their users to be aware of the climate impact of their actions.
A greener web3
STEPN is trying hard to do its bit and then some. The occasion of Earth Hour gives us the perfect opportunity to highlight our efforts to contribute towards carbon neutrality.
STEPN is a move-and-earn app that rewards users for moving outdoors. To earn tokens, users purchase a digital sneaker from its NFT marketplace and walk, run, or jog outdoors. By marrying real-world activity to digital gameplay and achievements, STEPN has designed a powerful app that incentivizes daily use and encourages healthy habit-building.
Beyond its fitness aspect, STEPN is committed to offsetting its impact on the environment. Let’s take a look at how STEPN is already doing its part:
A] Building on the Solana blockchain.
To provide some context, Bitcoin and Ethereum require so much energy because they use a laborious, complex system to verify transactions called proof-of-work (POW) — in other words, using computers to solve complex math problems. This requires a large number of servers across the world, consuming a massive amount of electricity.
Solana, which STEPN is built on, uses POS — a newer, far less energy-intensive system, which turns the POW system on its head. Ethereum, for example, is said to be switching from POW to POS sometime in the next year, and some believe that this will cut Ethereum’s energy consumption by as much as 99%.
Even further, the Solana foundation, in general, has dedicated significant resources toward lessening its environmental impact. Last year, it announced that (thanks to carbon offsets), the blockchain achieved carbon neutrality for 2021. It plans to continue staying carbon neutral through 2022, and its site promises that it is committed to “monitoring and minimizing Solana’s energy impact — and making sure the Solana ecosystem remains efficient.” They’ve even hired an energy and climate adviser, Robert Murphy, to provide counsel and expertise in its endeavour to go green.
B] Carbon offsetting
STEPN plans to donate a portion of its Treasury profit pool to purchase Carbon Removal Credit on the blockchain. In the spirit of empowering its users, holders of GMT will be able to vote to decide how much of the pool will be donated to offset carbon. Others, who want to give more, will also be able to donate their GST earnings to donate to Carbon Credit buying/burning — though this is completely voluntary.
In the future, STEPN is also looking into partnerships with climate innovators in web3 such as Nori, a carbon removal marketplace that helps brands offset their environmental impact. Briefly, the marketplace allows anyone to calculate their carbon footprint, buy carbon removals directly from farmers, and then compensate third-party verifiers who audit the removal.
C] Healthy humans, healthy planet
And finally, STEPN is also making a big difference in the health and fitness of its users — which now number more than 200,000. By combining the power of move-to-earn, gamified fitness, and web3, STEPN has the potential to nudge a huge population of people into developing the healthy habit of running and walking every day.
Why does that matter? Well, planetary health and human health are inextricably interconnected systems — improvements in one are linked to, and empower, improvements in the other.
It’s clear that adverse climate effects have a negative impact on our health. Air pollution, for example, is responsible for millions of lost lives every year. But the other way around, healthier humans also lead to a healthier planet. Studies have shown that becoming more mindful of your personal health has knock-on effects when it comes to mindfulness about environmental sustainability. The actions for both tend to go hand in hand. For example, younger generations, especially Gen Z, express more desire than any other generation to live healthy, sustainable lives.
Climate change is one of the most pressing issues in the modern era. At times, the actions of web3 can seem counterproductive, but it doesn’t always have to be that way.
Everyone can make a difference, and it often starts with smaller steps, whether it’s raising more awareness or making greener choices. While its main mission is to improve the health of millions around the world, STEPN is also committed to making green choices and doing its proper due diligence in making sure we take care of our planet.