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Blockchain Team Feature

Updated: Mar 21

This year marked an addition to the Dynamic Sustainability Lab with the never-before-seen blockchain team. Different from many of the lab’s policy-based researchers, the researchers within the blockchain team are composed of students studying Information Management focused on investigating and analyzing how blockchain can be used for monitoring, verifying, and reporting carbon emissions. 


For graduate student Lahari Chowtoori, however, sustainability was not always the focus; nor was this true for graduate student Vrushali Lad or undergraduate junior Jonah Komosinski. It was the interactions with one of Syracuse University’s School of Information Studies professors, Lee McKnight, that motivated the blockchain team to join the lab and take on their current project. 


“I helped Professor McKnight with a lot of projects, and especially with this humanitarian project: Africa Community Internet Program,” Chowtoori said. “He teaches blockchain and I was interested in blockchain too so when this project came in last summer, he introduced it to me and thought I would be a good fit.” 


Lad, who is currently pursuing her master’s degree in information systems completed an internship focused in blockchain under McKnight who introduced her to the current project. Komosinski was also introduced to the project after taking an intro to cryptocurrency and blockchain class with McKnight. 


“We got the opportunity to spend more time researching and learning how blockchain can be used in different domains,” Lad said. “And then we recently got introduced with Simba.”


Simba Chain is a company that simplifies secure data interactions and recently partnered with the Dynamic Sustainability Lab’s Blockchain Team. With the aid of Simba, the team is currently focused on their blockchain prototype that would allow the major players at every step of the supply chain process to see the emissions used in the creation and selling of a product rather than leaving it up to just one person. The team is also collaborating with SUNY ESF for expanded data analysis.


“We’re planning to launch a prototype in the Adirondacks so that we can monitor how timber is being transported right from the harvest stage to the final stage,” Chowtoori said. 


While many people may associate blockchain with the use of cryptocurrency, companies like Walmart and PepsiCo have successfully utilized blockchain to monitor the use of products within their company throughout various levels of the supply chain process. 

“Going forward, this is a technology that will have to be rapidly implemented into a lot of different areas of businesses,” Komominski said. “I just hope that more people give attention to it and try to understand blockchain because it’s important and how we can establish trust in a digital age.”


While the process of working on the blockchain prototype requires a lot of work from the team, the blockchain system not only lends itself to help with the input of carbon emissions, but also efficiency within technology itself.


“The blockchains that we’re talking about have nothing to do with being super energy consuming as some can be. The systems we use are 99% more energy efficient than proof of work so it’s a very clean technology in the way that we’re using it,” Komominski said. 


The team is heading to the 2024 Boston Symposium where they will not only have the opportunity to present their own project, but also to network with others.  


“This is a great opportunity because we’ll get to collaborate with people from government and companies and it’s a platform where we can interact and learn what others are working on,” Lad said.


While Komominski plans to continue his work on the blockchain prototype, this marks both Chowtoori and Lad’s final semester before graduating with their master’s degree. 


“At the end, we just want to show people that blockchain isn’t only used with crypto; there’s a lot of places that blockchain can be used in the energy sector,” Chowtoori said.

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