Project CircularX

Circular Economics/Design + The Computing Trinity

Tian-Yuan Zhao
Oct 26 · 5 min read

There are multiple layers to this project, so from a high to medium to low level, this is what Project CircularX is all about:

Why, How, and What is CircularX?


My motivation for CircularX comes from the fact that ever since I started university I’ve come up with a trichotomy called “Innovation-Thinking”. This trichotomy explains the WHY of my problem-solving mindset and mentality. It’s a trichotomy that aims to solve problems in a scalable, sustainable, and systemic manner. “Innovation-Thinking” is essentially about 3 forms of thinking combined: Design + Exponential + Systems Thinking. To learn all about it, please read this:

In an ideal world, I’d love to be able to solve all of the world’s problems with this way of thought, but I’m not a prodigy like Elon Musk. Therefore, I’ve chosen to address the #1, most important, most critical, and most necessary problem to solve from a global perspective — climate change. This massive problem is obviously very hard to solve all at once but for the sake of having a Goldilock’s Effect in terms of breadth and depth, I’ve chosen to focus my efforts with this project on the following SDGS:


Inspired by the following:

The Venus Project and Capitalism 2.0

Dematerialization & Ephemeralization

Circular Economics

Circular Design

I’ve written this article about the basis for CircularX, to which I borrow from Andreesen Horowitz’ writing on the “cryptonetwork cooperative”:


One major problem within the grand scheme of SDG’s 7, 11, and 12 is plastic pollution, to which I believe can form one core, crucial, and critical way to nip this grand challenge in the bud.

Therefore, how might we produce and consume plastics in such a way that is sustainable without having to rely on politics and inventing new technologies? One such nonprofit organization has already taken the initiative to solve this problem in such a way that I believe is the best way:

The Perpetual Plastic Project solves the plastic pollution and climate change challenge in a systemic and sustainable way, but presently in its current model — it doesn’t do so in a scalable way.

Now, I’m going to pause for a moment to share this article about Patagonia:

Patagonia solves big challenges, in particular, climate change in a scalable manner, but not in a systemic or as sustainable as it should be. What do I mean? The B Corp article states that Patagonia operates in both a charity-model by donating a portion of their sales to the cause as well as selling from and to affluent individuals not directly to those affected by the problem(s).

Therefore, it’s more of an indirect solution than a direct solution.

There seems to a trade-off in today’s Capitalism 1.0 economy between these 3 concepts of scalability, sustainability, and systemic impact.

However, why should there be? I advocate that there shouldn’t be any tradeoffs between the 3 because Capitalism 2.0 is on the horizon, because Web 3.0 . is in the making, and because Industry 4.0 is already here.

We have all the tools in place now to build the next generation of businesses that — digital cooperatives (as spoken about, though the terminology is slightly different “cryptonetwork cooperative” instead of “digital cooperative”) that I believe will tackle the world’s largest challenges in a scalable, sustainable, and systemic manner.

This is why let’s go back to answering the question of “how can we scale The Perpetual Plastic Project”? I suggest we do so vis-a-vis utilizing the open source tools of the PPP into a digital cooperative.

We’ll start with the neighbourhoods where the PPP machinery is at the highest concentration.

We’ll then hook these machinery to a blockchain network — i.e. the Ethereum Supercomputer. The reason for this is so that they can be a part of the cryptonetwork cooperative as spoken about earlier. Then we’ll be able to better track the production and consumption of plastics within said neighbourhood vis-a-vis a localized marketplace of plastics. Presently, given that Ethereum is upgrading to become a Proof-of-Stake blockchain, the cooperative would have to have each household that has the PPP machinery to behave as a stake. The reason why Ethereum is chosen is that it’s the whole reason why we’re even talking about blockchain in 2019, it’s the one that has the most support and is at the end of the day a “killer ecosystem”. Now, the reason why this can be scaled is because each neighbourhood could behave as a masternode to the whole entire cooperative that could grow from a local-to-global landscape.

Eventually, I would like to have it so that we evolve the cooperative to not only be about tackling plastic pollution but also organic waste, electronic waste, and renewable energy production/consumption/exchange. How?

Project CircularX could have a built-in economy and DAO that would motivate and manage the way organic waste is dealt with vis-a-vis insect farming, electronic waste is dealt with vis-a-vis a variation fo the PPP but one that involves the incorporation of product such as Voltera (an Additive Manufacturing company within the electronics industry), and renewables can be dealt with vis-a-vis microgrids and neighbourhood-wide solar and wind energy production.

At the end of the day Project CircularX aims to tackle the global climate change problem in such a way that address the fact that we need to produce/consume more responsibly (SDG #12), by having more sustainable cities (SDG #11) vis-a-vis a scalable business model that incorporates circular-design/economic principles/methodologies, and intends to utilize as minimal and/or renewable energy as possible throughout the process (SDG #7).


This is where I talk about anything and everything that falls within the realms of design-thinking, exponential-thinking, and systems-thinking.

Tian-Yuan Zhao

Written by

Toronto-based Digital Product Designer Who puts the “passion” in “compassion”


This is where I talk about anything and everything that falls within the realms of design-thinking, exponential-thinking, and systems-thinking.

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