What if web3 was a way to encourage us to be digitally sober?

Since its inception, web3 has already been criticized for its environmental impact. However, the French have decided to use this new generation of the Internet to encourage us to reduce our use of digital technologies. Explanations.

Social media, email, online shopping… If the digital technology that underpins our lives is good for us for several reasons, it is not for the environment. Our emails? They consume as much electricity as 15 nuclear power plants produce in one hour on a planetary scale. Electronic devices themselves are primarily responsible for the environmental impact of digital technologies, according to a report by Ademe and Arcep. Yes, the digital industry is polluting and also accounts for 2.5% of France’s carbon footprint, and according to many observers, this figure should continue to rise.

Web3 won’t fix anything. Barely launched, this future major iteration of the Internet has a reputation for being bad for the planet, especially given the blockchain that NFTs and cryptocurrencies are based on, as well as the metaverse, that digital parallel world that tech giants dream of taking over. above. If there are solutions to reduce this digital pollution, such as cleaning up your inbox or extending the life of electronic devices (repair, refurbishment, etc.), some people rely on the Internet3 to encourage us to limit our impact on the planet.

Fewer tweets to save the planet?

Such is the case with the Proof of Less project, which aims to encourage minimalism and digital sobriety through the Internet3. It was launched by four French people who want to encourage people to do better for the planet (limit screen time, online shopping, binge watching, etc.) with social and financial incentives. “It’s a bit of a snub in the sense that web3 is the industry that has the worst image in terms of climate impact, and we don’t think about it at all when we talk about digital sobriety or minimalism,” says Virgil Deville, one of the founders of project. Web3 and blockchain provide wide-ranging coordination tools, why not use them to try and influence people’s behavior a little? »

The principle is simple: during the challenge, participants bet a certain number of stablecoins. After the trial is over, those who managed to do less get back their bet and the share of those who failed. An example with the first call “Less Tweets” which, as its name in English suggests, is to tweet less. Specifically, the contestant’s goal will be to post “less tweets than the 6 month average per week for 4 consecutive weeks.” The project team will use the Twitter public programming interface to determine this 6-month average frequency and compare it to the frequency during the trial. To enter the contest, a person will need to tweet more than once a day, have more than 1,000 followers and 3,000 posts, while wishing to reduce the frequency of tweets.

Justified choice of the first task

The Proof of Less team chose Twitter as their first test for several reasons. One of them is the fact that most tweets are not original content but replies or retweets. “Twitter was still a social network that wanted to be pretty minimalistic at the core, it was only 140 characters. The news feed was conducted in chronological order, there was absolutely no algorithmic curation. Many people tell themselves that Twitter is not what it used to be, that it has a lot of noise and little original content or genuine conversations,” says Virgil Deville. The choice of a social network is also explained by the possibility of receiving data through a software interface, which is necessary for tasks in order to calculate the frequency and know who to distribute rewards at the end.

“Web3 and blockchain provide large-scale coordination tools, why not use them to try and influence people’s behavior a little? »

Virgil Deville

Co-founder of Proof of Less

This is also due to the desire of users to post fewer tweets, with the #tweetless hashtag and the presence of a crypto community on the social network. “She is very active because it is a meeting place for almost everyone. Twitter is a kind of agora really. As a result, we were interested in making it our first users, and it makes sense when we talk about products to go to Twitter, which is a good echo chamber,” says Proof of Less co-founder.

Youtube, smartphones… fighting digital addiction

If the first issue is about Twitter, the Proof of Less team already has some ideas for the next ones, such as our consumption on YouTube or the time spent on our phones, which is “sort of an entry point for all digital addictions,” Virgil Deville points out. with notifications and social networks. On the other hand, she wants to create these issues with the community that will be built around the project: “That’s why we invite people to join us on Discord. We would really like to be this center of discussion about everything that is digital sobriety and minimalism on the web3,” says the co-founder of the project. To this end, the team plans to develop a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO), a decentralized society with governance rules set by computer programs called “smart contracts”. Regardless of the authority, the decisions of the DAO are determined by the votes of its members. In other words, the tasks will be organized according to the interest generated around each subject.

In addition to these projects, the team is expected to launch the $LESS token this fall, which participants will receive upon successful completion of the challenge. These will be used to develop the donut-shaped NFT by creating new icing colors and adding toppings. These donuts will allow attendees to socially showcase their commitment to digital sobriety. “The darker the layer, the more minimalist we have and the more experience we have. Toppings represent the various tasks we have been involved in. Small blue grains of sugar are for Twitter, for example,” explains Virgil Deville. He also explains that for now, they have chosen the Polygon blockchain for these tokens and these NFTs because its environmental impact is less compared to Bitcoin and Ethereum, which currently operate on a proof-of-work basis. This energy-intensive process consists of thousands of computers working to solve the same algorithm and insert the transaction into the blockchain.

Finally, if at the moment it is necessary to have stablecoins to participate in trials, later this may no longer be mandatory: “We can imagine that in a more mature version of the project, users who do not come to the world at all can use their credit card to potentially buy a certain amount in stablecoins and, all of a sudden, to participate in the application, not necessarily having cryptocurrencies, ”concludes Virgil Deville. What is pushing more people towards digital sobriety?

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