Geographic distribution of blockchain projects in the energy industry
As we now have discussed the possible use cases and business models for the blockchain in the energy industry, it’s time to have a look at the geographic distribution of current projects.
Start-up companies account for the majority of new blockchain ventures. Even though it’s hard to find up to date info there have been calculations that from Q2 2017 to Q2 2018, start-ups raised more than $300 million to apply blockchain to the energy sector. Over 70 percent of these funds were raised through ICOs and just around 20 percent from traditional venture capital sources.
These various blockchain energy initiatives span every continent except Antarctica. This geographic spread means that blockchain ventures will meet with a wide range of regulatory regimes and electric power system characteristics, and they will have a big task ahead to become compliant, but at the same time, a great opportunity to learn across these different regions and conditions.
As we can see, the EU and USA act as vanguards for energy blockchain projects, but in the future it will be especially interesting to see how the technology will catch on in the developing countries. In Africa and South America for example, there is an abundance of renewable energy resources(solar, wind, geothermal and biomass) and simultaneously a lack of capital. In these areas the blockchain combined with the more lenient regulatory policies opens up tremendous possibilities by lowering the entry barrier for new participants.
Many big energy companies are also partnering up with start-ups to further research and unlock the possibilities of blockchain technology. Consortiums like the Energy Web Foundation(EWF), that is composed of giants like Shell and Japan’s TEPCO, as well as several energy blockchain start-ups like Electron and Grid Singularity are developing energy-industry standards for blockchain with the target to support applications that are interoperable and will ease the transition to blockchain.
The blockchain technology in the renewable energy industry is at a point where geographical location is not all that relevant, and climate change affects us all no matter where on the planet we’re located. What is more relevant is that we are able to bring both the much needed capital and the brain power to the renewable energy space and start tackling the obstacles (more on those later) together. Only then will the industry be able to evolve by sharing and analyzing research data from pilot projects, make it all interoperable with the best possible operating and business models, and then we will finally have all the ingredients for worldwide adoption.
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David Livingston, Varun Sivaram, Madison Freeman, Maximilian Fiege