Energi Mine, the UK-based blockchain energy company has announced a new project that will bring an entirely new kind of electronic debit card to consumers in the UK.
Partnering with global cryptocurrency card provider FuzeX, the Manchester-based company is launching a new e-card that will allow users to view and spend their cryptocurrency tokens as they would a normal debit card.
The new card, as well enabling users to view their other credit and debit card balances, will allow customers to spend Energi Mine’s cryptocurrency - EnergiTokens (ETK). Users can earn ETK for their energy-saving efforts via a variety of environmentally friendly behaviours such as purchasing energy-efficient fridges and freezers to using low-carbon public transport.
The device is the same size and dimensions as a normal credit card, and is EMV compatible - meaning consumers can use the device normally at checkouts in local currency as they would any other card. The only difference is that payments are automatically debited from user’s cryptocurrency balances and an e-paper display on the card shows their balances before spending.
Omar Rahim, CEO of Energi Mine, answered some questions about the new project and where he sees it going:
This seems to be quite a novel application of Blockchain, how do you see it expanding?
Omar Rahim: FuzeX’s proposition to increase cryptocurrencies’ utility as an actual currency by enhancing its real world usability leaves the door open for expansion across a huge range of markets and territories as cryptocurrencies continue forging a path into the mainstream. The partnership with FuzeX and Energi Mine highlights this, as the FuzeX card enables ETK holders to access their token with ease and spend them however they wish. With mass adoption of ETK firmly on our agenda, we see this partnership playing a pivotal role.
How would you characterise the target user of the e-card with Energitokens?
OR: Energi Mine’s main focus is to drive EnergiToken (ETK) into mass adoption, which is why partnering with companies aligned with that goal, like FuzeX, is so important to us. Growing the ecosystem and the community is paramount to both of our long term success, and our desire to have as many people as possible participate in reducing global energy consumption. Due to the nature of rewarding individuals for energy efficient behaviour on a mass scale, we appreciate that not every person who will hold ETK will be crypto savvy. So we want to make spending the tokens as easy as possible, encouraging future adoption and participation.
How does this new partnership affect the Energi Mine business model?
OR: Our platform encourages people to save energy and financially rewards them for doing so, ultimately we want to encourage them to adopt a permanent change in mind-set and behaviour which will result in them being awarded a greater number of tokens, thereby creating a positive feedback loop. The partnership with FuzeX is an important part of such a loop, as it enables ETK holders to spend their tokens widely, and so encouraging further adoption.
Are there any other countries you aim to bring this to?
OR: The roll out of ETK will be global, creating a system that sits alongside energy markets. Currently 60% of our ETK holders are based in South Korea, which is a key market for us, but we are establishing a network of partnerships around the world which will spur adoption.
What would you say to critics who argue that volatility in crypto prices make them unusable as payment?
OR: Volatility in crypto is likely to remain in the short-medium term at least, however there are clear examples of cryptocurrencies being utilised as a means of payment application today, such as with Microsoft, Paypal and Expedia. As adoption of crypto becomes more widespread, and utility tokens permeate the mainstream, more and more crypto currency holders will require a means of spending theirs easily and quickly without the hassle current users frequently experience today.
Are there any other ways that EnergiToken can be used?
OR: part of the partnership, once EnergiToken is listed on the exchanges, ETK will feature on the card enabling holders to easily convert into fiat. Following the release of our phase 1 app, ETK can now be used for payment towards charging electric vehicles, with additional options like being used to pay electricity bills and pay for energy efficient appliances being added in the coming months.
What do you see in the future for Energi Mine?
OR: Energi Mine will be at the forefront of a shift in the UK in terms of both energy consumption and attitudes towards how we save energy in our day-to-day lives. This will see us move away from a market dominated by the self-serving practices of the big six energy companies to a situation where people become more self-sufficient and renewable energy becomes the main source of power for the UK. The EnergiToken platform will be at the forefront of this. This will be facilitated by our blockchain based token, ETK, which incentivises energy efficient behaviour and promotes the decentralised trading of energy. These two trends will be integral to the shift in the global energy market where larger energy companies will be forced to adopt a business model that focusses primarily on transparency rather than profits.
Featured Image Credit: "Credit Cards" by "Sean MacEntee" via Flickr; licensed under "CC BY 2.0"