It’s not all evil, crypto can also do good
Many people when hearing the term cryptocurrency tend to think of it as fake money because we can’t use it to buy a pack of crisps, for example, but it’s no longer something we can deny or ignore.
It is very much a real business, with almost 19,000 cryptocurrencies in circulation currently equating to around $1.75 trillion – about the same as the gross domestic product of Italy, the world’s eighth largest economy.
Cryptocurrency doesn’t have a good reputation amongst my Greenie friends because it uses a lot of energy. And I mean a lot. For example, according to a recent report by the White House, “Annual global electricity usage from the Bitcoin blockchain is estimated to be 90 to 145 billion kWh, with a theoretical range from 40 to 180 billion kWh.” But we all need to understand that the energy consumption is not from the transactions of the currency, it’s from the rewards that the miners receive for their work on a blockchain.
As an ESG and sustainability integration and communication specialist, last year I became interested in the technology behind crypto and the data traceability that comes with it. I spent around 30 hours trying to understand it, and I still call myself an amateur in this space.
So this article is not about educating you on crypto, it’s about highlighting the fact that what could be perceived as evil can be transformed into good and can be communicated in a powerful way if we understand it and understand what good it can do.
This is when I started reading and meeting several blockchain technology companies to demystify this matter, one of which was Zumo.
The data is telling us that consumers, regulators and investors are all interested in solving this technology’s sustainability impact and its downfalls. For example, the Crypto Climate Accord (CCA), the crypto industry’s own voluntary association on this issue, has put in place an ambitious 2030 net-zero target and is working collectively to define standards, agree on reporting and tackle the problem at source with ‘proof of green’ solutions that target the industry operators at the source of crypto electricity consumption.
Zumo’s whole purpose as a blockchain technology company is to bring the benefits of blockchain and digital assets to people and businesses everywhere. It provides sustainable, simple and secure technologies to unlock the benefits of crypto and Web3. Zumo is one of the first signatories of the CCA and it launched its own net-zero strategy in 2021.
Speaking with the firm’s board environmental adviser, Kirsteen Harrison, she says: “Some proof-of-work cryptocurrencies (notably Bitcoin) are big users of electricity. The good thing is, we know how to decarbonise electricity generation – the technology already exists, and the more we install, the more the price comes down.
“We can achieve this decarbonisation through renewables either directly (as cryptocurrency miners using renewable energy sources) or indirectly (via the purchase of renewable energy certificates, RECs). RECs are a market instrument recognised by the GHG Protocol that can be used by anyone in the crypto ecosystem to account for their own ‘share’ of the electricity use. If we do this at scale within the crypto sector, we have a real opportunity to drive demand for renewables globally.”
Amelie Arras, Zumo’s marketing director, adds: “Sustainability is a key value to Zumo. From the outset we wanted to bring the benefits of crypto to everyone in a sustainable way. We knew that we were not taking an easy path, we had big challenges, our first one was to break down two complex topics: crypto and decarbonisation, and now we use that knowledge to build meaningful solutions.
“Every step of the way we thrive to be transparent, simple and inclusive – that means inviting people to collaborate and join us on that journey. Our biggest strength was the buy-in from everyone internally and this has so far been key to our success.”
Until crypto becomes the norm, we need to communicate its features in a certain way. Here are my three recommendations to communicate its features:
- Cut to the action: tell your audience what you need from them and what role they play in your crypto story.
- Cut to the emotions: take your audience to the moment where your crypto story will generate extreme emotions and trigger a sense of belonging.
- Cut to the lessons learnt: cement with your audience what lessons they should have learned from reading, watching or listening to your crypto product or service story.
Crypto and its features are not difficult to communicate, it’s how you speak about it that makes or breaks your product and service. And before you communicate its features, make sure the facts and figures are accurate to avoid reputational damage and avoid being accused of green washing.
About the author
Gihan Hyde is the award-winning communication specialist and founder of CommUnique, an ESG communication start-up.
She has been implementing ESG campaigns in eight sectors, across six countries over the past 20 years.
Her campaigns have positively impacted over 150,000 employees and 200,000 customers and have closed over £300m in investment deals. Some of the clients she has advised include The World Health Organisation (WHO), HSBC, Barclays, M&S, SUEZ, Grundfos, Philip Morris, USAID, and the Saudi Government.
Get in touch with Gihan through LinkedIn or Twitter @gehanam.