Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Carbon Tokens

The massive energy usage of cryptocurrency has caused a new irony: trading carbon tokens will actually increase your carbon footprint. Patent Forecast® has highlighted in the past how tokenized Cap and Trade has gained traction in IP-filing, including by the founder of Cap and Trade, but the energy usage problem might not only be a hiccup, it could be a death knell. However, innovations such as those described in an application published in October 2021 could help. 


The application, by an inventor named Jason Cooner, describes using proof of elapsed time, rather than traditional proof of work methods to validate carbon credit transactions. Proof of Elapsed Time is a technique developed by Intel in 2016, which lowers the required energy usage for an immutable ledger-based system. Cooner, the inventor of the patent, appears to have formed his own company called THE ITMO Inc. in 2019, around the time the application was filed, but the company now appears to be inactive. However, it appears that Cooner currently works for SDG Exchange, a sustainability marketplace dedicated to reducing emissions, so it’s possible this patent will still see monetization. If the patent does provide a hint at SDG Exchange’s activity, it will make the company an interesting competitor to companies like ClearTrace, with a technology likely to be more viable in a market quickly looking toward reducing energy usage. More broadly, the patent is indicative of future activity in both the market and patent landscape, as companies attempt to reap the benefits of crypto-technology while avoiding mounting criticism.

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