Interview with Adam Richard, CEO of Volt Markets
I met Adam at a coffee shop named “Agora” in Houston. Through common friends, day drinking and several unintended refills of coffee, he introduced me to bitcoin, and down the rabbit hole I went.
But more than just his passion for the blockchain, which is both infectious and intimidating, Adam is an entrepreneur at heart. And while I didn’t know it then, around about that 4th beer – he put the enterprise builder bug in me.
I’m extremely glad he agreed to give us this interview, the first of many such interactions I hope. I hope this conversation can help shed some light into Adam’s world of blockchain and help us further our conversation for use cases in a variety of industry verticals.
Hi Adam, Thanks for taking the time out for our readers. To get right into it – how did you get into the blockchain/bitcoin game?
I got into Bitcoin in early 2013 when it started making headlines because of the price. I started spending my evenings reading everything I could get my hands on and quickly went down the Bitcoin rabbit hole. I wanted to understand everything I could about it and that ultimately led me to pursue many entrepreneurial ideas around the technology.
What is blockchain in your own words?
Blockchain is disintermediation. It’s a technology break-through that allows network participants the ability to play by their own rules and trust no one else with their assets.
Why Blockchain for energy market?
There are a few industries where the pain points are large enough and the openness to innovation are large enough to see real adoption. I see banking, healthcare, land titles, supply chains, and power markets as some with the greatest potential. I live in the energy capital of the world (Houston, Texas), so with easy access to energy companies and being in the state with the largest wind generation it made sense for me to focus on energy markets.
I am passionate about renewable energy, so I analyzed the likelihood of blockchain adoption in power markets. I found that energy attributes presented a lower risk to the network participants and had many pain points that the technology can directly solve. So, we started building a solution for energy attribute (renewable energy credit) origination and asset transfers on a blockchain.
Tell us a little bit about Volt Markets, what is the offering and how did it come about?
Today we are creating Ethereum smart contracts with our buy order agreement hashed into the contract, and the contract generates tokens equal to the number of RECs we purchased in the buy order. Those tokens are burned when we retire RECs on behalf of our customers.
We are also working toward a product that will originate RECs so the renewable energy generators save money and time. We want renewable energy generators to automate the asset origination in the hardware and software that handles their power generation and resource management.
Who is your product primarily geared towards?
Our product today is focused on REC origination. The platform is geared toward large power generators.
We also sell renewable energy credits to businesses that want to be more eco-conscious and sustainable. Our e-commerce subscription is easy and allows individuals and businesses to consume wind and solar power.
What are the advantages of your product?
The advantages of our solution provide autonomy to generators for their REC origination, the ability to certify assets and their chain of custody, permissioned transparency on the blockchain, and the ability to facilitate transaction settlement of RECs. This all happens in near real-time, is secure, auditable, and is scalable.
As a renewable energy expert, what are your areas of expertise?
I’m actually just very passionate about renewable energy. My true area of expertise is in understanding blockchain and cryptocurrency technology, and engineering a solution that will solve the problems plagued by insufficient systems that need to evolve.
Where do you see the use cases in the next 5 and 10 years?
I see this technology in demand where generators and consumers need to cut back-office costs around fees and need to reduce the time from energy generation to access to the tradable asset. Also, there are unnecessary costs and time wasted in transaction settlement, and in the auditing and reporting process. All of this can be automated, permissioned.
Which Blockchain platform do you use for development?
Right now, we are developing on the Ethereum blockchain.
Which type of blockchain is best for energy use case?
This is highly debatable, but the general consensus in the power space has been around Ethereum.
Which blockchain energy management systems have you come across that have excited you as a conceptual application? The TransActive Grid comes to mind.
The TranActive Grid is definitely exciting, as is Grid Singularity, and The Sun Exchange. With more and more energy independent communities popping up in EU (Germany being the prime example), decentralized energy producers seem to be the next big thing.
With more and more energy independent communities popping up in EU (Germany being the prime example), decentralized energy producers seem to be the next big thing. How can blockchain developers capitalized on this expansion?
I think we’re all trying to figure this out. We should look at and partner with open-minded companies like RWE and Sonnen; and build vertically integrated solution.
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