Four years ago my colleagues and I gathered the entire EPA dataset from over 400 municipalities in order to set up a blockchain platform to democratize and crowdsource pollution data collection. We called it YourEPA and it embodied everything that the Sharing Green Economy represented. At the time I didn’t completely understand how significant the connection between the the two concepts were, even after a colleague told me flat out: “YourEPA is the Sharing Green Economy.”
The following is the original description of YourEPA that helped get us into Madrona Venture Lab’s Blockchain Startup weekend:
YourEPA is democratizing environmental data collection to create the world’s most comprehensive and crowd sourced environmental data set.
The basic idea for YourEPA is to use distributed ledgers and to democratize environmental data collection. Now, you may wonder: “Why does environmental data NEED to be democratized.
The United Nation’s Environmental Chief, Erik Solheim, put it best:
He said, “The profit of destroying nature or polluting the planet is nearly always privatized, while the costs of polluting the planet or the cost of destroying ecosystems is nearly always socialized.”
To change this, we are working on a method that converts the typical “Proof of Work” blockchain concept into a “Proof of Information Capture” concept.
In a cryptocurrency like bitcoin, new currency is “mined” by powerful computers solving complex math problems. With YourEPA, currency will be “mined” by contributing verifiable environmental data from IoT sensors that anyone can purchase and use to “Mine” YourEPA’s coin.
The benefits of these contributed data will be accessed via token burn, which creates an economy for it. By doing this, we believe we can create the right economic incentives to produce the most comprehensive, robust, and granular data set on environmental data the world has ever seen. We have copied, backed up, and created processes to continuously update the entire EPA data set. We found that the EPA’s data is not comprehensive, is starting to not be updated, and is not granular enough for enforcement, let alone research. But these data will form the “genesis” block for YourEPA’s distributed ledger. And it is our hope that by enhancing the genesis block with democratized data collection, we can help humans protect our planet by helping us understand our impact on our environment better than we have before.