A logbook with examples of cryptocurrencies and blockchain that restructure forest ownership and decision making.

Amsterdam, Nederland

Sovereign Nature Initiative

"The Sovereign Nature Initiative reimagines humans' relationship with nature beyond extraction and exploitation in attempting to respond in the Anthropocene , a time when a radical reconsideration of the values of Western modernity has become inevitable."

Their manifesto states that as a nonprofit, Sovereign Nature Initiative aims to reconfigure nature's value . At the intersection of ecology, economy, and emerging technologies, projects within this initiative (see Plantoid, and Terra0 within this logbook) propose to rethink economic practices such as blockchain to change our relations to ecological processes.

Screenshot of the SNI Manifesto

Screenshot of the Sovereign Nature Initiative homepage and Manifesto. Image Source: Sovereign Nature Initiative [screenshot]. Retrieved March 25, 2022 from https://sovereignnature.com/

Cryptocurrencies and Energy Consumption

A discussion on the potential for cryptocurrencies and blockchain to change forest governance or come up with new digital infrastructures that determine forest futures has to include insights on the by now controversial issue of energy consumption for the mining of these cryptocurrencies as well as the electronic waste that is created in continuously upgrading computational power.

In the case of Bitcoin, the energy that is needed annually to power and cool computers for Bitcoin mining seems to be growing exponentially and can nowadays be compared to the annual energy consumption of a smaller country (see this image from an carbon -footprint-electricity.html">article published in the New York Times). Ethereum, is currently another high- energy consuming cryptocurrency , but is also preparing for a shift to a carbon -footprint-proof-of-stake/">new validation system in the first half of 2022 that is estimate to use only 1/10,000th of the energy that Ethereum currently consumes. Besides these currencies, there are thousands of other currencies, some more experimental than others, and some that do not rely on a validation process that uses large computational power such as Bitcoin and Ethereum 1.0, but instead rely on concepts such as "proof-of-stake" (e.g. the Ouroboros protocol), an "Open Representative Voting" system (e.g. Nano, where account holders vote to confirm blocks of transactions). Other alternative systems using less energy are also further explained and reviewed here. However, it is important to remain critical of how promises or claims towards more sustainable validation systems are eventually realised.

The question of how cryptocurrencies and blockchain change forest environments brings up a variety of challenging issues and interrelated concepts. These include questions regarding their sustainability such as energy consumption and co2 emissions, which directly impacts forests in terms of resource usage. At the same time, newly emerging systems for cryptocurrency mining and validation are also offering possibilities to rethink how value and trust is created on financial markets, which inspires some artists, designers, and developers to experiment with forests and ecosystems differently.

bitcoin energy usage

Graph of the Average years of a U.S. based household-equivalent electricity to mine one bitcoin. Image Source: New York Times [graph]. Retrieved January 28, 2022 from https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/09/03/climate/bitcoin-carbon-footprint-electricity.html

London, United Kingdom

Understanding Blockchain: Furtherfield

In trying to wrap my head around the possibilities, limitations, and risks of blockchain technologies in the context of forests, many questions come up. Some of these questions simply seek to better understand how this all works and what artists, designers, and developers see as the potential for imagining different ways of governing the environment. Other questions are about the potential dangers and risks involved with these new governing formats, contracts, and use of resources.

This video is part of an exhibition curated by (de)centre for Art and Technology Furtherfield called New World Order where different artists and developers discuss what they're working on and what new forms of governing they're trying to experiment with through their work on blockchain .

Genoa, Italia


Plantoid, another project featured via the Sovereign Nature Initiative, is an autonomous entity and blockchain -based life form in the shape of a robotic plant that can grow and reproduce when humans feed it with Bitcoin. The project is made by artist Primavera de Filippi to show the potential of decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs). More about this project can be found here and here.


Image of a Plantoid exhibition by Primavera de Filippi. Image source: Primavera de Filippi [image]. Retrieved January 28, 2022 from http://plantoid.org/#gallery

Berlin, Deutschland


Terra0 is an artistic project, that conceptualizes 'a forest that owns itself'. The project is described on its website as follows:

"terra0 is an evolving prototype built on the Ethereum network that aims to provide automated ecosystem resilience frameworks. Via instantiating a Decentralised Autonomous Organisation atop areas of land to manage them, terra0 aims to create technologically-augmented ecosystems that are more resilient, and able to act within a predetermined set of rules in the economic sphere as agents in their own right."

The designers/developers present this project here:

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