Former journalist and communications expert Jean Lasar, pictured, is launching survcoin in Luxembourg
Photo: Katya Macdonald
Ten years after the birth of bitcoin, interest in cryptocurrencies has never been so high, despite the mammoth energy consumption of mining. If only there were a way to harness the drive to accumulate wealth and turn it into good.
That is precisely the goal of survcoin, a new dedicated currency rewarding people for reducing their carbon emissions, which is being piloted in Luxembourg .
“The idea is to be greedy but direct your greed at survcoin, be competitive, but try generating more survcoins than your peers to enter a virtuous circle which is aimed at decarbonising rather than amassing wealth,” survcoin creator Jean Lasar told Delano on 23 February.
The project is still in its infancy, having secured funding from Oeuvre’s “Yeswecare” initiative at the beginning of February. In its early stages, Lasar is gathering partners offering low or zero carbon services and projects in the areas of mobility, habitat, food, energy. “All the areas where there is room for decarbonisation because it’s in almost all aspects of our lives,” Lasar explained. Once he has a critical mass of partners, he will launch the survcoin pilot on an existing blockchain. Unlike bitcoin, which last year used as much electricity as the whole of Romania to mine, survcoin would be based on proof of stake as opposed to proof of work. “This makes for much more slower consumption. It’s more frugal,” in terms of energy consumption, Lasar explained.
Photo: Pexels. Survcoin would reward people with coin for cycling instead of travelling by car, for instance
Lasar likens the final product to activity app Strava in that it would offer a gameification to users who could compare their decarbonisation actions and ultimate carbon footprint while being rewarded with survcoins. He hopes to measure decarbonising actions by connecting the platform with existing apps which measure a person’s activity but also car-sharing apps while taking into account peer-reviewed information on things like when a person eats a vegetable-based meal.
“It has to be plausible that not just do people accept the coin and have transactions based on it but also they can measure there’s an impact,” Lasar said. Eventually, the social entrepreneur would like to take his project global.
Lasar, who formerly worked as a journalist and then in communications, said he had been looking for a way to mobilise people to lower carbon emissions for several decades. “I couldn’t understand why we just keep on drilling and burning.” He sees crypto as a way of “thinking outside of the box”.
“I’m not saying we should adopt crypto instead,” Lasar stresses, but beyond being just another cryptocurrency, he hopes that survcoin will help people redefine what value creation is.
“Because we need to take value creation as something good for society. But, the reality is it may well be that when it’s called value creation it can contribute to an enterprise of destruction.”