Energy is the backbone of technology and thus our future. Consequently, the cryptocurrencies of greatest interest to me are those connected with energy. A few popular examples include: WePower (WPR), GRID+ (GRID), Power Ledger (POWR), Restart Energy (MWAT), GENERcoin (GEC), KWHcoin (KWH), Greenium (GREEN), Pylon Network (PYLNT), LO3, and SolarCoin (SLR). And of these energy-based cryptocoins, SolarCoin stands above the rest especially in consideration of its long term potential to succeed. Here is a summary why:
1. SolarCoin is simple to understand
The world of cryptocurrency is full of confusing language and terminology that only makes sense to a small group of individuals (predominantly the people writing the linguo). Also, it is difficult to determine the practical use for most coins as their explanations are summed up with a slew of large words with rather empty meanings. For example, one popular coin is defined as follows, “a community-based blockchain project that utilizes blockchain technology and digital identity to digitize assets, to automate the management of digital assets using smart contracts, and to realize a ‘smart economy’ with a distributed network.” These words may sound “smart” but they don’t say anything distinctive about this coin and how it stands apart from any other coin. Mass adoption would be more likely to occur when the purpose of the coin (or token) can be explained in simple language that a sixth grader can understand.
SolarCoin is one of the few cryptocurrencies that is built on a simple idea that makes sense and that can be explained to a 10-year-old. SolarCoin is given freely to anyone who produces a megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity using a solar panel. In other words (in 6th grade language) if you have a working solar panel, then you can get free SolarCoin.
2. The energy of the future is solar power
Over the next 10-20 years, solar power is expected to become the dominate form of energy production in the world. While solar power has been around for over 100 years, mass adoption has never taken place due to both high cost and low efficiency. However, both of these variables have been changing drastically in the recent few years. The cost for solar panels has now reduced to the point that it is a worthwhile consideration even for the average home owner. We can expect the price of solar cells to continue to drop over the next 5-10 years while at the same time continuing to improve in energy efficiency such that solar energy production will rise sharply. Solar panel prices follow an experience-curve called "Swanson's Law," which states that every time the number of shipped panels doubles, the price drops by about 20%. As stated in a presentation prepared by Bloomberg (2017), "Solar power just recently became the cheapest electricity in the world and it is only going to get cheaper."
Furthermore, fossil fuels are becoming outdated and increasingly scarce while at the same time leading to carbon emissions, pollution, and arguably global warming. Solar is currently the fastest rising source of renewable energy in the world. Elon Musk stated back in 2015 that he thinks solar will become the world’s biggest energy source by year 2031. Tony Seba has indicated similar. And as published recently on Greentech Media, by the year 2022 solar is expected to be “the dominant source of new electricity generation in the Unites States.” An investment in SolarCoin is an investment in the future of solar energy.
3. Value is proportional to the number of users
SolarCoin is freely given, thus adoption on a large scale seems inevitable especially with the rise in solar energy. SolarCoin was established in a way that a substantial increase in circulating SolarCoin will likely only happen in conjunction with a substantial increase in the number of users (though this relationship is not necessarily linear). This is different from many of the other cryptocurrencies, especially those that arise from hardware-based mining. For example, a coin that is mined can generally be brought completely into existence by just a small number of miners (mining difficulty is a function of the total network hash power). But there are 98 billion SolarCoin that cannot be “hashed” or “mined” into circulation. The only way to bring a substantial increase of SolarCoin into circulation is to submit claims for SolarCoin grants by producing solar power. In other words, it is seemingly impossible to bring all 98 billion SolarCoin into circulation unless the number of users in the SolarCoin network far surpasses the number of current Bitcoin users. (I speculate it could take between 100-500 million users to bring all SLR into circulation, however this could vary depending on how many large facilities vs. small installs have joined the network).
Furthermore, the SolarCoin network is built in such a way as to maintain the current number of users without losing them. SolarCoin grants are given out bi-annually over a 40-year period (that began in 2014), thus as long as a user continues to own a working solar panel(s) then ongoing SLR grants are given. In 2018, it is estimated that 62 million households worldwide will use solar technologies (though growing drastically). And since SolarCoin is given freely to these households, it is only a matter of time before the majority of the people in this large solar photovoltaic community hear about SolarCoin and take advantage of the SolarCoin grants.
In summary, SolarCoin is one of the best long-term investments is because 1) value is proportional to the number of users, and 2) the network of SolarCoin users will only continue to grow and not diminish over time.