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Energy Business and Blockchain #4 The latest trends in energy ICO
In my previous article, I looked at the dawn, present and future potential of energy trading platforms, the most popular application of blockchain technology in the energy sector. In this article, I will cover energy-sector ICOs. After first taking a bird’s-eye view of overall ICO trends beyond energy, we will then consider the future of ICOs in the energy sector. The current state of ICOs Following a sharp increase in ICOs in 2017, the first half of 2018 saw ICOs continue to boom with over 100 each month. A downward trend began in the second half, however, and according to Coin Schedule, January 2019 had only 24. Figure 1 shows Coin Schedule’s number of ICOs implemented each month from January 2016 to January 2019.1  1. Although the numbers differ depending on the source, this data is quoted from Coin Schedule, which provides data from 2016 to the present. I believe it is sufficient to observe the trend. Other sources include ICObench and Coindesk ICO tracker.   Figure 2 shows the change in the amount of capital raised through ICOs and the cryptocurrency market capitalization over the same period. The peaks are shifted slightly from the cryptocurrency market cap but show the same trend – a current downturn. The March and June 2018 peaks consist primarily of the super-large Telegram and EOS ICOs, which raised $1.7 billion (approx. 187 billion yen2) and $4.2 billion (approx. 462 billion yen) respectively. 2. The exchange rate is 110 yen per $1. Overview of energy-sector ICOs According to Coin Schedule, of ICOs implemented in 2018, “Energy and Utilities” projects raised $322 million (approx. 35.4 billion yen), 1.5% of the total. From the second quarter of 2017 to the first quarter of 2018, blockchain-related energy-sector startups raised almost the same amount, $324 million, 75% of which…
Energy Business and Blockchain #3 Setting off the second wave of energy trading platform
In my previous article, I presented the trend of democratization of energy infrastructure investment that used be largely led by nations and corporations with large capitals, and the trend of proliferating infrastructure funds and financing that uses cryptocurrencies. I also reviewed benefit of applying characteristics of blockchain technology to energy infrastructure investment. In this article, I will discuss penetration of energy trading platform, the most popular application of blockchain technology in the energy sector. The first wave that started in 2016 2016 was the year when blockchain technology was first brought to the energy industry and exciting pilot projects that envisages future of energy industry started in different parts of the world. First, in April 2016, LO3 Energy, a startup company in the U.S.A. started operation of Brooklyn Microgrid in a corner of of Brooklyn, New York. It allows local residents to trade attributes of clean electricity generated by rooftop solar PVs of the local community in a peer-to-peer (P2P) fashion using blockchain technology. A novel concept of sharing energy among neighbours in the era of abundant distributed energy resources such as solar PVs drew attention.   In May, in the headquarter of Nasdaq in New York, a demonstration was conducted that converted electricity generated by solar PV in the Western U.S.A into certificates tradable on Nasdaq Linq, a blockchain-based market, using IoT technology developed by a Nevada-based startup, Filament. This demonstration presented that electricity can be easily traded using blockchain technology after being converted to a digital asset.   Subsequently in August, Power Ledger, an Australian startup company commenced a pilot of a P2P energy trading in National Lifestyle Village in Western Australia. Further, the company also started another pilot in Auckland, New Zealand, partnering with Vector Ltd., a New Zealand distribution utility. Like LO3 Energy, those are the…