SAF Grantee: Yale Openlab

Social Alpha Foundation
3 min readMar 19, 2019


Ivy League university and leading institution for climate change research will utilize Social Alpha Foundation grant to develop a planetary scale, decentralized carbon emissions tracking tool

Social Alpha Foundation, the not-for-profit, grant-making platform which provides no-strings funding to companies and projects utilising blockchain for social impact, has announced a six-figure anchor grant for the Yale Openlab, a newly launched joint initiative between the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale and the Yale Center for Business and the Environment. The initiative is spearheaded by Martin Wainstein, Founder of the Yale openlab with Stuart DeCew, Executive Director of the Yale Center for Business and the Environment and Kassie Tucker, Managing Director of Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale.

Martin Wainstein

Martin Wainstein, PhD, founder of the Yale openlab and Innovator-in-Residence at the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale, said: “Climate change is a global issue that requires immediate attention. Our Earth’s atmosphere can hold a limited amount of CO2 emissions before the global average temperature rises above levels deemed as safe for humanity. At present, if emissions continue to be left unchecked, our limited carbon budget could be consumed in as little as 15 years. This challenge requires people and organisations to collaborate at an unprecedented scale, and reimagine traditional business models and paradigms.”

The Social Alpha Foundation grant will allow the Yale openlab — which develops and incubates open source and disruptive projects that seek to address our planet’s most pressing environmental challenges — to become the go-to institution for connecting blockchain technology and climate change solutions.

The grant will support two of Yale openlab’s main focus project tracks: first, the consolidation of its skill-based blockchain education ecosystem, which features blockchain bootcamps; and second, the launch of a state-of-the-art initiative called the Open Earth Challenge, which seeks to build an open source, blockchain-enabled framework to achieve decentralised, immutable consensus on the Earth’s carbon budget. The latter will consist of a series of open design and product sprints, initially consisting of high-level stakeholder consultations with invited experts, ranging from top-level climate scientists to blockchain and data architects. The long-term goal will be to propose the framework for international adoption to track and provide transparency to the world’s carbon lifeline.

Wainstein continued, “The Paris climate agreement has set the world on a path to zero emissions by 2050, but we lack the global tools that can help us track our environmental actions in a trustless and competitive world. We believe a constellation of blockchain technology, data oracles, and internet-connected sensors under open source protocols and standards may provide the fabric for globally trusted procedures to emerge, and we are immensely grateful to Social Alpha Foundation for allowing us to inspire and educate the next generation in how to apply blockchain capably and ethically for environmental impact.”

Nydia Zhang, Co-founder and Chairman of Social Alpha Foundation, which also counts New America’s Blockchain Trust Accelerator among its grantees, said: “Yale openlab’s unparalleled expertise in climate change research, longstanding credibility at the governmental level, and its open innovation framework means new ideas, products, and services will be conceived in a transparent and shareable, rather than proprietary, format. We look forward to seeing how Martin and the Yale openlab team will leverage blockchain and distributed ledger technologies to enable collaborative projects which are part of this emerging third wave of the internet, and how this will positively impact the environment.”

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Social Alpha Foundation

A non-profit grant-making organisation that supports individuals and collectives utilising Blockchain technology for positive social change.