What is Blockchain?
Investopedia defines blockchain as “a decentralized, public ledger of all cryptocurrency transactions. Constantly growing as ‘completed’ blocks, the most recent transactions are recorded and added to it in chronological order, allowing market participants to keep track of digital currency transactions without central recordkeeping. Each node (a computer connected to the network) gets a copy of the blockchain, which is downloaded automatically.”
This technology rose in notoriety as cryptocurrencies, chief among them Bitcoin, have experienced recent exponential growth in value as more people accept them as transactional currency. Renewable energy seems fully intent on capitalizing on this new decentralized accounting system to foster its electricity generation foothold.
Blockchain Ventures and Energy
SolarCoin was created in 2014 by the SolarCoin Foundation. Its objective is to incentivize global solar-powered electricity with a maximum issuance of $98.34 billion in SolarCoins for 97,500TWh by 2050. As specified by the creator’s website, one SolarCoin represents 1MWh of solar electricity generation. This cryptocurrency has been granted in 58 countries to date. While financial entities and government agencies have called for caution around this crypto craze, other commercial applications have sprouted from these virtual coins’ root technology.
Power Ledger is an Australian start-up providing “an energy trading platform that allows consumers with solar panels on their roofs to sell their excess electricity to their neighbors. The energy system of the past was a one-way street: large-scale power stations that pushed electricity through networks to consumers at a given price. The energy system of the future is far more complex but rather flexible, with power stations virtually on people’s roofs, buying and selling energy, with energy flowing in multiple directions between consumers and generators. The Power Ledger system can deal with that complexity,” says David Martin, co-founder and managing director of Power Ledger. Energy transactions within this platform are carried out with a unit called “sparkz,” backed up by a blockchain bond called “Power Tokens.”
On May 8, 2017, US-based think-tank Rocky Mountain Institute partnered up with Grid Singularity, a blockchain technology company that designed an internet-based decentralized energy data-exchange platform, to create the Energy Web Foundation (EWF). EWF’s goal is to accelerate blockchain technology applications across the energy sector. To date, EWF has over 24 major global energy companies as affiliates. The initial 10 founding affiliates included Centrica, Elia, ENGiE, Sempra Energy, Shell, SP Group, Statoil, STEDIN, TEPCO and TWL. During EWT’s fundraising Round B in August 2017, the foundation reported raising US$17 million.
Stay tuned for part 2!
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