The World’s Darlings: NFTs and DAOs as sustainability promoters

3 min readDec 19, 2021

Sustainability transcends climate change. It includes the significant disparity between the “Haves” and “Haves-not” in society. More pronounced in the Global South, the World is facing some of the greatest challenges our society will ever see: economic instability, poverty-driven social unrest, and politically-inclined inequality. To some, the root cause of these problems stems from unequal wealth distribution by the ruling class. To others, profit-centered business models that have become more polarized led us to this state.

Over the past few decades, technology has changed and re-imagined wealth distribution. Computing powers and infrastructural architecture force humans to account for what and which value is exchanged and created. Unfortunately, this has created more problems in prioritizing financial gains over humanity. By merging technologies like blockchain with Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) and Decentralized Autonomous organizations (DA0s), we have started shifting our priority and maintaining our stance on humanity over financial capital. This is where 5ire comes in — a fifth-generation blockchain that aims to bring a paradigm shift from a for-profit to a for-benefit economy.

As we pilot these technologies from the backstage of the internet into real-life use cases, it’s essential to consider their environmental benefits and include these into their design and application. If we aim to eradicate hunger, eliminate poverty, and achieve a carbon-free world, our activities on and within the digital space must be sustainable. With sales increasing by about 1400% from December 2020 to December 2021, NFTs are increasingly growing in popularity and can be a disruptive tool to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Art is virtual, the Metaverse and Web 3.0 are still in their infancy, but hunger, climate change, and unequal wealth distribution are real. We mustn’t allow NFT’s popularity to fade into the ether; we must ride on its influence.

For many reasons, some NGOs and social impact organizations have lost the trust of their donors. This distrust led to investigations that exposed many charities as conduits for shady deals, contrary to their humanitarian mission. Many of these organizations devised dubious payment systems to amaze wealth from government subsidies. NFTs that are tied to charitable messages, especially those that preach sustainability, will address this problem. This verifiable proof of impact will enable sustainability-focus NGOs to focus on their core mission, enhance donor confidence, and accelerate efforts to realize the UN Sustainable Development Goals. As the blockchain community supports their preferred charities, society can leverage NFTs as a carrier of protocol and system for traceability — why is an amount spent, what for, and where.

By selling an NFT of the World Wide Web for about $5.4 million, Berners-Lee promised to donate all the proceeds to charitable causes. This demonstrates how the NFT ecosystem can increase awareness and participation in social projects. Similarly, people massively donated when Yale University celebrated “Earth Day” during their campaign for Open Earth — an initiative for climate accountability and technological impact project.

People have faulted the funding models for sustainability-inclined projects. Green Finance to fund sustainability projects doesn’t provide the anonymity and security needed by anonymous donors. DAOs are empowering communities to formulate their own rules to make blockchain-encoded decisions and 5ire is solving a core problem in the evolution of DAOs which is the applicable legal framework. DAOs will simplify funding and donation for public benefits and social causes as the industry grows. A worthy example is the 5irecapital, a DAO, powering a bottom-top community building and innovation. It establishes the potentials of decentralized governance where new ideas are incubated and scaled. With this funding, the communities or individuals set a price for solving sustainability-related problems and reward anyone contributing to the building and maintenance of social benefits.

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