Crypto and climate is a duo that feels closer to chalk and cheese than Barbie and Ken, isn’t it? But that’s not necessarily true.
Although Bitcoin is sort of very bad for the planet (because it uses proof of work to operate, which we’ve covered in more detail here), there are alternatives that are far less detrimental to the planet. Ethereum is one of them – since its merge to Ethereum 2.0 in September, its energy consumption has reduced dramatically. Better still is Algorand, which is actually carbon negative (meaning it reduces carbon emissions rather than adding to them).
And the latest crypto to soar out of nowhere also happens to be environmentally conscious. It’s called IMPT and there are already a lot of YouTube videos with horrible WordArt text claiming that it will make you a billionaire.
So what is IMPT?
Here are the basics: IMPT is a crypto token on the Ethereum blockchain and you can buy tokens directly from their platform, which means you don’t have to go through any third parties. But the big USP is that it allows people to gain carbon credits from their normal online shopping, which IMPT then issues as NFTs that the person can choose to trade. IMPT partners with environmental projects that will offset carbon, as well as businesses who need their carbon offsetting (and are therefore the ones buying the carbon credits that you get a slice of when you buy their products). Eventually, they also hope to introduce a voting system that allows people who stake the tokens to choose the projects that IMPT works with in order to offset carbon.
Rewind. What is a carbon credit anyway?
A carbon credit is a way to buy CO2 emissions, which sounds strange but is actually a big part of the efforts to reverse climate change (or, at least, stop global warming from ending the world). The idea is that a big company like Google could emit, say, a thousand tonnes of carbon, which is bad. But to offset this, they could then buy a thousand tonnes worth of carbon credits. This money is given to a business to spend absorbing a thousand tonnes of carbon, meaning that, by the end of the process, Google has actually been carbon neutral. IMPT is allowing people to buy these credits and trade them by using blockchain technology. One thing that makes it even more interesting is that carbon credits often lack transparency, but given that the blockchain tracks all transactions, it will be inherently transparent.
Is this token actually that good though?
Every single crypto is a risk, but with IMPT there are actually some very specific risks. Firstly, it’s still very new, so there’s every chance it could fail due to technical fault, or even be something more malicious like a rug pull. Then there’s the question of the legitimacy of the claims itself – as in, is this really a good sustainable product and idea? It sure might be. On the face of it, IMPT is providing a way to trade carbon credits which is great in itself, while also making it pretty accessible.
But some people have questioned why a super climate conscious token hasn’t chosen a carbon negative blockchain, such as Algorand, to be as green as possible. We’ll have to see whether answers come from the team at IMPT as their project gains more attention, but their whitepaper does say that “Our tokens are built on the Ethereum blockchain as Ethereum has decreased its carbon dioxide emissions by 99.99 per cent”. They might feel that’s good enough, given that Ethereum is also the largest blockchain that supports NFTs. There’s also a bit of a debate around whether carbon credits are a perfect solution in themselves, but that’s a debate for another day.
Right, so why are people saying it’ll make me rich?
Because it’s good for clicks, isn’t it? That aside, it’s also because the token is still very new. In fact, IMPT is at the time of writing, only in “presale” stages. This is a term for when the crypto can’t be bought on public exchanges just yet, but can be bought directly from the company. Stocks have the same model and it’s where the idea of “getting in at the floor” comes from. In the first round of presale, tokens were less than two pence, which leaves a huge window for them to rise.
Think about it: if you bought £2 worth, you’d have over 100 tokens. If the tokens became worth £1 each, you’d have made over £200. If you’d bought £20,000 worth and they increased in value to £1, you’d have a million quid. The floor thing is best visualised as getting in a lift at ground level and then walking out and realising you’re on top of the world or whatever.
People have quickly cottoned on to this investment opportunity. More than five million dollars has already been bought during the first two weeks of the presale, which is a lot of buying – especially when the token isn’t on exchanges like Binance or Coinbase just yet.
But the newer a coin, the bigger the risk, as we’ve already mentioned. So as with every investment, only play with money you can afford to lose. Because there’s every chance you’ll lose the lot. Still, it’s nice to see crypto and climate getting along more… in theory.