More Than the Degree

Master’s thesis: blockchain technology + climate change

Writing my thesis in the Harald Herling Learning Centre.

I study the master’s program of Creative Sustainability in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Also, I took the EIT Climate-KIC program. I started working on my thesis research in 2019.

I preferred to write my thesis in different places to change the scenery from time to time. In the Otaniemi campus, I prefer the places with big windows that bring in sunlight and give me chances to relax my eyes by looking at nature outside. One of my favorite places is the Harald Herling Learning Center, where I could book a quiet room to study alone. My second favorite place is a quiet sitting corner in the Dipoli. Besides, there’s also a Creative Sustainability home base in Väre, which provides a quiet study space for students. These places helped me concentrate on my thesis. 

A quiet corner in Dipoli
A quiet corner in Dipoli

For me, writing my thesis is quite a long journey since I picked a difficult topic, I aimed to examine the potential of blockchain technology in expanding voluntary carbon markets. This is not a typical thesis topic for a design student, but I’ve always been interested in exploring how new technology can bring solutions to sustainability issues. I chose to study blockchain technology because the United Nations has recognized its promising potential in addressing climate change. Also, carbon markets are effective tools to reduce carbon emissions, since global carbon reduction is crucial to limit the temperature rise to under 2°C above pre-industrial levels, thus preventing catastrophic climate disasters.

The cover of my thesis.
The cover of my thesis

In order to gain in-depth knowledge of blockchain technology, at the beginning of my thesis research, I took online courses and attended a blockchain convention in Barcelona with the support of the Aalto Design Grant. Check this article for info on the Design Grants.

The four steps of my research.
The four steps of my research

In this journey, I enjoyed learning new knowledge about blockchain technology and how carbon markets work on reducing emissions on a global scale. I received guidance from my supervisor and advisor Jouni Juntunen. Besides, my academic writing skills had improved significantly with the support from the Aalto Writing Clinic, thanks to the teacher Matthew Billington. Every student can book eight sessions of writing clinic per school year via MyCourses. Enroll yourself first in the Writing Clinic on MyCourses.

Writing a master’s thesis could be quite stressful, it helps a lot to have a study group to support each other. Moreover, every Aalto student can book a session with a study counselling psychologist, check the info here about the Aalto Starting Point of Wellbeing.

After I submitted my thesis, I had to do a thesis presentation about a month later, which I accomplished on Dec 10th.  It was such a relief afterward. In the same week, I completed my last course at Aalto as well. Now, I deserve a nice holiday before starting a new chapter of my life.

Hsiao-Pei Liao,

MA of Creative Sustainability 

Aalto study options

Contact email: aaltosquad(at)

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