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Here Are the Most Promising Ethical Cryptocurrencies to Watch Out for in 2022

Barely a day goes by without crypto being lambasted for its ethics, or lack thereof. It’s polluting the world, it’s a giant scam, and it’s a haven for criminals and money launderers, or so its critics say. But while there is (at the very least) some truth to many of the charges leveled against it, the industry is gradually becoming more ethically minded, particularly as it opens up to wider mainstream adoption.

Indeed, 2021 saw the steady increase of ethical cryptocurrencies and/or blockchain platforms, with 2022 likely to bolster this trend. And while we’re already familiar with coins that, via proof-of-stake, aim to be environmentally friendlier, we’re now seeing projects trying to be ethical in a more varied number of ways, and not just by cutting down on their energy consumption.

This article compiles the most notable of them, explaining what makes them ethical and where their native tokens can be acquired. It also concludes with an argument that, because of their programmability and decentralized governance structures, cryptocurrencies are potentially more ethical than traditional currencies and assets.

Could Bitcoin


The most recent example of an ethically focused cryptocurrency is Maricoin, a cryptocurrency launched on December 31, 2021, via a pilot involving ten businesses in Madrid, Spain. It’s aim is to support more acceptance towards the LGBTQ+ community, in that it will be accepted at LGBTQ-friendly shops and businesses that sign up to an ‘equality manifesto’ (presumably written by Maricoin).

By requiring businesses to sign up to such a manifesto — and to adhere to its tenets — Maricoin’s founders intend to encourage greater inclusion for non-heteronormative in Spain and around the world.

“If they violate any of the points of our anti-discrimination manifesto, for example if they fire a pregnant woman because of her pregnancy, they will be expelled from maricoin,” explained co-founder and CEO Francisco Alvarez.

It’s not yet clear which blockchain Maricoin will be based on, and while 8,000 people are reportedly on waiting lists to receive the cryptocurrency, it also isn’t clear how the coin can be acquired at the moment. Still, its organizers also intend to use the cryptocurrency and the proceeds from its operations in order to fund the establishment of LGBTQ-friendly businesses around the world.

STEM Genesis

Based in the UK, STEM Genesis bills itself as the world’s first NFT and cryptocurrency investment fund for financing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) innovations aimed at helping global issues. Launched in October of 2021, it held its first NFT sale on December 12, and will continue to auction a grand total of 2,200 non-fungible tokens throughout 2022 as part of its efforts to raise money for promising STEM-based projects.

Founded by researcher (at the University of Exeter) Dr Jackie Lighten, the aim of the project is to “create a new approach to fund research and applied technology irrespective of national or institutional affiliations,” according to Lighten himself. As part of this objective, it will launch its own token in the future, although it hasn’t revealed a specific timeframe for such a launch.


As its name suggests, KlimaDAO is a decentralized autonomous organization with the aim of tackling climate change. However, it aims to do this in a very novel way: by buying up carbon credits in order to make them more expensive, thereby forcing actual polluters to switch to relatively cheaper renewable sources of energy (rather than purchasing carbon credits themselves).

Its native token, KLIMA, is backed by carbon offsets/credits bought by the DAO, and has a minimum possible value of one base carbon tonne (BCT). It can currently be traded on Sushiswap.

As of January 2, KlimaDAO has purchased just over 14 million tonnes of carbon credits, up from three million in mid-October. This arguably makes it the most promising ethical cryptocurrency project around today.

Unfortunately the KLIMA token has been one of the hardest hit cryptos in the recent downturn and its value has plummeted from over $1,000 to less than $50, which might give pause to investors.

Source: Dune Analytics


We’ve already dedicated a whole article to Worldcoin, a cryptocurrency whose stated aim is to provide a kind of digital universal basic income for the entire globe. The introduction on its website declares that it’s a “new, collectively owned global currency that will be distributed fairly to as many people as possible.”

Launched by startup Tools for Humanity, between $10 and $200 of worldcoin will be given to anyone who agrees to have their eyeballs scanned by the company (apparently to prove their unique identity). The project has received $25 million in funding from the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and Coinbase, among others, testifying to its promise.

The only way interested members of the public can currently receive worldcoin is by happening upon someone with one of Worldcoin’s eyeball scanners out on the street. Tools for Humanity aims to sign up one billion people to the project, and also intends to dispatch over 4,000 eyeball scanners throughout much of the developed world.

Friends with Benefits

Riding at the crest of the Web 3.0 wave, Friends with Benefits is another DAO. This time, however, it’s a platform that seeks to foster a creativity-minded community of users. This may not fall into some people’s idea of ‘ethical’, but in a world where artists and other creative types struggle to even make art let alone make a living, it promises to serve as a substantial corrective.

FWB (as it’s known) has evolved into quite a diverse ecosystem since its launch in early 2021, with the platform now publishing essays and writing, hosting music and other events, as well as arranging in-real-life meetups in various big cities. It still remains in something of an embryonic, nebulous form, but with backing from Andreessen Horowitz and with its FWB token (tradable on Uniswap) rising by over 200% since launch, it could soon be big.

Other Ethical Cryptocurrencies Worth Mentioning

The above comprise the most notable ethical cryptocurrencies emerging right now. However, there are numerous others which have been launched in recent months that still merit acknowledgement. Here they are:

Cryptocurrency Has the Potential to Be More Ethical than Traditional Money

Again, these projects are all at early stages of development, yet their increasing emergence (all were launched in the second half of last year) suggests that crypto is seeking to become more ethical, particularly as it wrestles with its mixed reputation.

Yet despite crypto’s reputation, it has the potential to offer more ethical forms of money than witnessed up until now. That’s because, by incorporating smart contracts and programmability, cryptocurrencies can be designed such that they can be spent only in ethical ways. We see this already with Maricoin, and we also see it with China’s central bank digital currency, which can be programmed to have expiration dates.

Then there’s decentralization, with DAOs and governance tokens allowing ordinary users and holders to vote on how a cryptocurrency and its platform develops. This is another core aspect of crypto that lends itself to ethical norms.

As such, while much of the cryptocurrency market continues to have a reputation for sheer speculation and greed, it’s not beyond reason to expect that some of the platforms that gain real traction in the future will have some kind of ethical element to them.

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CryptoVantage Author Simon Chandler

About the Author

Simon Chandler

Simon Chandler is a journalist based in London. He writes about technology, markets and politics, and has bylines for Forbes, Digital Trends, CCN, Wired, TechCrunch, the Verge, the Sun, the New Internationalist, and TruthOut, among many others. His Twitter handle is @_simonchandler_

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