What blockchains may be able to do for your business, and what they can’t
WEPOWER IS a Lithuanian startup that aims to change the way renewable-electricity projects are paid for. The government-guaranteed prices that have propelled growth in wind and solar energy around the world are being cut back, says Nick Martyniuk, WePower’s founder. So his firm wants to help developers of renewables raise money by selling the rights to the electricity their plants will produce once built. Customers will buy a smart contract now, running on Ethereum’s blockchain, that will provide them with power later.
Using a blockchain offers several advantages, says Mr Martyniuk, who used to work as an energy trader. Big energy users such as foundries and aluminium smelters already negotiate such contracts with power stations, but they are often complex and time-consuming. Contracts on a blockchain could be offered off the shelf, allowing smaller companies—and perhaps, one day, individuals—to use them too. Such contracts would be as easily tradable as any other crypto-asset, creating a secondary market in power agreements.