In late Feb of 2016, the Cambridge MIT Enterprise Forum a non-profit organization had a focus group dedicated to determining how Blockchain technology could positively impact how clean energy and electrical grids could be built.
This was sponsored by Massachusetts Clean Energy Center which is an agency in the US which is predominantly government funded. There were some notable presentations from companies including IBM as well as cryptocurrency start-ups such as Consensys and more.
Probably the most fore-running start-up to speak was a firm from South Africa called Bankymoon, who have an innovative business model in the energy sector, more recently they offer financial services.
“Almost every municipality in South Africa is in arrears with the utility suppliers and are unable to recover the costs from their customers.”
They noticed an area in which blockchain technology could assist utilities and potentially reduce inflated in prices due to the current system. Most utilities operate on a post paid system whereby you pay after receiving your bill. Due to widespread non-payment, prices have risen due to 3rd party debt collection costs.
Their flagship product is a service whereby electricity users may be able to top-up their smart prepaid meters with a host of cryptocurrencies. They also have an innovative smart contract system that could automatically settle these payments. Payments are sent to the cryptocurrency address assigned to the meter and an exchange takes place crediting the meter at current market rates.
A recent development was the idea to in essence crowd source micropayments for public utilities. Any interested party could donate and benefit from its use or just as a form of philanthropy. The idea is to help struggling schools innovate the way in which they receive donations.
Schools in need will be given the meter and anyone in the world could donate electricity by sending cryptocurrencies.
It is scheduled to launch at the end of March 2016.
What do you think of the idea of cryptocurrency powered smart utility meters? Let us know by leaving a comment.