The future of waste infrastructure funding?

First there was public finance, then there was private finance and now virtual currencies are being used to raise funds for waste infrastructure.

The British company 4NEW has announced it is sell an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) to raise funds for the world’s first ever energy-from-waste facilities entirely integrated on a blockchain network.

The firm will be offering 225 million coins in two separate rounds, which will eventually be listed on the crypto-currency exchanges for live trading.

Virtual currencies, like Bitcoin have grown in popularity in recent years, although remain controversial to some. Even Vladimir Putin is said to be considering a crypto-ruble.

Speaking to Environment Journal, the co-founder and chief executive of 4NEW, Sandeep Golechha, said the coins will be used on their blockchain ‘eco-system’.

‘Knowing all the various parts of the mechanism, we thought this was a good way of creating an eco-system, where there is just one currency available,’ he added.

‘It can be useable anywhere within our blockchain network,’ he added. ‘If people want to work in our network, then they have to use our currency. You are not buying the company, you are buying the currency.’

4NEW are looking to build three energy-from-waste treatment facilities in the UK next year, which are expected to be operational by 2019.

Mr Golechha said they are looking at small energy-from-waste plants, which can handle between 10,000 and 20,000 tonnes of waste a year.

He added they are looking at areas like Manchester, Birmingham and London .

‘All the main areas where you have large pockets of people where there is a huge generation of waste,’ he added.

‘If we can create a proper solution here and we can control the input quality of the waste, then we have a solution, which will work,’ he said.

‘It’s all down to how you sort your waste in the beginning. We’re looking at having our picking stations taking in actual household waste, sorting the waste out and then putting the rest into a energy-from-waste plant.’

He added because the energy-from-waste plants will be small and community based, the waste will have less far to travel, which is good for carbon emissions and keeps the waste in the UK.

‘We have very stringent rules in the UK as to how the waste should be treated, which is very different to India or Poland,’ he said. ‘We generate a huge amount of waste and we should try and deal with it ourselves. We often forget that it’s a really important thing to do.’

4NEW will be using its own blockchain platform, which are blocks of programming code, held together by secure keys, and allow fast financial and data transactions.

‘We’re trying to make sure that everyone on the system is identified, wherever they are,’ he explained. ‘The whole system will be transparent for everyone. We are also trying to keep everyone honest, so when something is picked up, it goes where it says it is going.

‘By adding that level of security and transparency, it does make it a lot more effective system. It allows lots more transactions to happen.

‘Our currency is more useable,’ he added. ‘People can use our tokens from day one, as opposed to waiting a year and a half to be available.

‘There’s a been a lot of hype about how some of these virtual coins are scams, and you will get that in any business you will do. If you invest in a company, you could have the same issues.

The most important thing to look at is what is the underlying use of the token and how is it going to be used.

‘I was having a discussion yesterday who is a big investor in these currencies and said “it’s all down to show how your coin will be used”.

‘We are in two industries that everyone needs. In this digital world today, you need to have power and your waste collected. It needs to go somewhere and it needs to be responsibly done.

‘With our plan, we believe that economies of scale of unfathomable proportions can and will be unlocked. Not only do we stand to make a huge and scalable dent in one of the gravest social and environmental issues of our time, but we’re confident in the future of 4NEW Coins and the smart meter ecosystem we’re building. Our ICO is both socially and financially grounded.’

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Jamie Hailstone

Jamie Hailstone

journalist

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