One day before a major unveiling in Prague, Nevada-based Blockchains LLC announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding with the state’s primary electric utility, NV Energy, to work on energy projects powered by blockchain technology.
Although additional details were sparse, the announcement provides more hints as to the purpose of Blockchains, which in January quietly purchased on more than 67,000 acres at the Northern Nevada industrial park that also hosts Tesla’s Gigafactory. It also comes a day before the company’s scheduled “global launch” on Thursday at an event in Prague.
In statements, leaders of both companies said they hope to collaborate on blockchain-focused concepts that “place the customer in control of energy creation, consumption, storage and transactions, specifically noting energy storage, conservation and renewable energy as possible areas of collaboration.
“These types of collaborative efforts, which return the power and control in transactions to the customer, are the very essence of blockchain technology,” Blockchains CEO Jeffrey Berns said in a statement.
The statement also noted that any projects “incubated and ready for implementation” would first be presented to the state’s Public Utilities Commission. Commissioner Ann Pongracz opened a commission docket in late September that seeks to investigate whether a blockchain-based platform would be more effective at tracking credits measured under the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard.
Best known through the digital currency Bitcoin, blockchain is essentially an alternative way to make transactions, recording data into a permanent, online ledger open to users and distributed across the internet. Blockchains uses the Ethereum platform, which allows users to develop applications to execute contracts or track a supply chain.
Berns, a California trial attorney, said earlier this year that the Nevada-based company had been in “stealth” mode for nearly six years but is now promising the company will become the “blockchain center of the universe.” The company had opened a 25,000-square foot headquarters and hired 71 people as of June, but hasn’t given many details as to what it plans to do with the land it has purchased.
The company filed an application with the PUC in late August to build and operate a new fiber optic network in Storey County that would serve businesses within the industrial park and “future residents” in surrounding areas.
The company and Berns have also recently gotten involved in political contributions, giving $10,000 each to gubernatorial candidates Steve Sisolak and Adam Laxalt, Washoe County Sheriff candidate Darin Balaam and Supreme Court Justice Lidia Stiglich.