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Interview with David Sønstebø

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Sustainability through Innovation

Sustainability through Innovation

Hello world

Let’s draw a link between sustainability, which is the challenge of the 21. century, and innovation in the realm of the Internet of Things and Blockchains.

Bitcoin’s success was a combination of a pioneer-technology paired with the possibility to change the world’s financial problems; a solution where one currency replaces others.

Cryptocurrency as an object of speculation also generated several bubbles within the last years. Not surprisingly, many people’s involvement was incentivized by money, or worse, greed.

The diversification and evolution of Blockchains, however, lead to new fields where the incentive became innovation itself.

Sustainability in the field of IoT and Blockchains can be an important part of the challenges of the 21. century.


The Anthropocene

A good start for understanding the responsibilities of the future is to outline what has happened in the past and what will happen in the future; in this way, the history of mankind is important in understanding our recent issues.

This expansion is, other than seen in the animal kingdom, not necessarily driven by survival. Humans tend to take everything, wether they are required or not.




The industrial revolution and the time that followed, including electrification, was and is the main reason scientists refer to the Anthropocene. The age, when humans became a part of the stratigraphic geology of the earth.

As part of this transformation, the energy consumption rose exponentially .

The extreme hunger for energy lead to the climate change, a problem people in the western world are still trying to fathom. Then there are people with no access to education or those who just don’t care.

While the carbon dioxide levels are rising, we still raise our annual energy consumption to new levels and run our power-plants with coal and natural gas.

Fortunately, we have an agenda in turning this problem into a solution.


The Energy Transition

“China set a world record, again, in 2015 by adding more installed capacity of both wind and solar in a single year than any other country (32.5 GW of wind and 18.3 GW of solar). By the fourth quarter of 2015, China overtook Germany with the largest installed capacity of solar power in the world (with a total of 43 GW).”
Heinrich Böll Foundation, 2016


One strategy to curtail the consequences of the climate change is the transition from fossil to renewable energy resources like wind-, water- and solar-energy.

The need of these new resources is revealed when we take a look at the carbon cycle of the earth, which is significantly affected by human emissions ( figure 1 below,

Approximately 9 billion tons of carbon a year are emitted by human activities.




The continuing industrialization beginning with the western world, which is now spreading through countless developing countries demands new solutions on a global scale, not just in certain areas of the world.

As mentioned, the first step is and will be the energy transition. The upcoming demands of billions of renewable energy-systems, the industrial transition to better technologies, in general, generates millions of new jobs and opportunities for the economy.

Considering the remaining need of heavy construction vehicles in the field of heavy industries, it’s likely to say that this energy transition will take time.

The economy will still depend on fossil resources as these systems are multi-spherical and not easy to change.

One way to accelerate this infrastructural transition is to change the energy-consumption on a local or personal level in our daily lives.


Intelligent consumption


Here is where innovative Blockchains can make a difference.

Let’s imagine a system functioning on a Blockchain, which is able to reduce the energy-consumption worldwide.  This system is able to replace countless other systems, where energy would be wasted.

This system would also be decentralized to prevent it from being captured or turned off.

A distributed network where a political decision wouldn’t matter because of no institution but the connected peers had the authority to change its behavior.

The first non-political system on a global scale, to unite humanity and to improve the life of billions of people.

Millions of sensors would observe climate conditions and as a consequence adjust climate control systems so that energy wastage would be prevented effectively.

These adaptive systems could be installed everywhere and on any device. The most prominent use-case would be adaptive streetlights.

We don’t need light were no one is walking or driving, so why wasting energy?

The installation of these innovative solutions could spare a lot of energy and money. As a positive feedback-loop of sustainability, this money could be used to built even more

renewable energy facilities.

Another big part of an environmentally friendly system would be to observe and detect humidity levels in soils.

Big agriculture farms are usually in sunny regions but as a matter of fact, sunny regions often cope with low levels of subterranean water which is not regenerative and decreasing fast (Figure 2, USGS).




Humidity-adaptive systems for modern irrigation of agriculture are therefor the only solution.

In the end, it’s the peoples choice to support those systems and the become a part of it.

To close the circle: Blockchains can be and will be an important part of the future and even if this vision is given with an aftertaste, not all Blockchains or tangles are the same!


Have a great day,











As the ecosystem of IOTA grows everyday I felt the need of a blog, to summarize all important information. No bells and whistles, just information.

As an active member of the IOTA-community, I will lay the focus on foundation-related news, as well as speculative-related information.

Feel free to visit me once in a while and spread the word if relevant news come up.

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