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Can GameFi and Carbon currency reverse blockchain’s climate stigma?

Rob Schmitt of Toucan Protocol believes that blockchain games (GameFi) could have a much better environmental reputation if games integrated carbon offsets.

Nonfungible tokens (NFTs) and blockchain technology have developed an unfortunate stigma in some parts of the community because of their adverse environmental impact – but can that perception be changed by integration carbon offset into the NFT game?

GameFi, or gaming finance, combines with NFT and gaming. According to app tracker DappRadar, blockchain games account for nearly $12 million daily from over a million players. Toucan Protocol COO Rob Schmitt thinks that mass and those users can be exploited to benefit the environment.

Schmitt told Cointelegraph that using carbon offsets as a factor in blockchain games could create “the most planet-friendly system we’ve ever seen” to date. He envisions a GameFi space that uses carbon offsets as in-game currency and urges game makers to get creative.

Games don’t have to have entire economies based on clearing, but they should be nested in a way that makes sense,” he said. Schmitt says there are already game teams working with Toucan to incorporate carbon offsets into their work, such as Atlantis World.

The narrative that ‘blockchain is killing the world’ is an argument we can turn around with carbon offsets.”
The Toucan protocol encodes certified carbon offsets on the Polygon network (MATIC) as Basic Tonnes of Carbon (BCT).

Demand for game companies to go green is growing as game studio Space Ape Games, which publishes Fastlane, went carbon-free in 2019. Green Geeks reports that game publishers SuperCell, Rovio and Sybo are offsetting their company’s carbon footprint.

The perception that blockchain technology is bad for the environment is often propagated by the traditional gaming industry. Major online game store Steam banned any titles with NFTs or cryptocurrencies last October. In February, game provider Itch.io tweeted that “NFT is a scam” that is not useful for anything other than “the destruction of the planet“.

That negative perception betrays the lack of awareness about carbon emissions associated with different consensus mechanisms. The Polygon network and several other gaming-focused chains and NFTs use a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus algorithm, which means that power consumption and environmental impact are greatly limited.

Cointelegraph reported in April that the Polygon team aims to make the network carbon neutral this year. Other blockchain networks that support NFT gaming and have a meager or neutral carbon footprint include Wax (WAX), Solana (SOL), and BNB Chain (BNB). Ethereum (ETH) is expected to move to PoS in the coming months with the most recent estimate for Consolidation in August.

While climate devotion everywhere is a lofty goal, Schmitt concedes that “everything doesn’t have to be climate action.” Furthermore, players don’t necessarily know that the games they enjoy may not be carbon neutral as it doesn’t need to take a lot of action on their part to have an effect. Schmitt says:

The vast majority of games will not involve climate action, but only a small fraction of that will be needed to do much good.” He said that climate activism doesn’t need to be a primary focus for game developers, especially if they’ve already implemented work on climate-friendly blockchains.

Developers should focus on making interesting games first, and they can attract new audiences with carbon offset integration.”