People of Blockchain: Derek Myers


Name and current occupation: Derek Myers, CEO, Zero Carbon Project

Describe your current activity: Establishing Zero Carbon Project

Short bio: “Derek Myers started his career with Macquarie Bank where he was involved in designing derivative products; and trading options and futures in bonds, bullion and the energy markets. After completing his MBA, he joined Accenture as a Strategy Consultant in financial services and energy markets.

In 1999 Derek established iVentures Capital to take advantage of software technology and innovation opportunities in the energy markets.

Derek raised funds to establish PowerEx an online power exchange for energy suppliers, generators and suppliers which he sold to Amsterdam Power Exchange to facilitate their entry into the UK energy markets.

Derek acquired Beond in 2003 and has since worked on developing its services, servicing its clients and building its team. He is the Chairman of West London Sustainability and Climate Change Commission.”

When did you first hear about Bitcoin/blockchain and how? In 2013 Philip Louw, our head of software, proposed a business plan to invest in servers to experiment in mining bitcoins. We were particularly excited about the opportunity of turning electricity into bitcoin and at the same time being able to provide a valuable demand side response service to the electricity grid, who were looking for flexibility to cover the intermittency created by increasing use of solar panels. Unfortunately, both of us got distracted with other day-to-day business priorities so we missed the opportunity to scale our experiments.

What was the first crypto-related activity you did? My first crypto related activities included attending Bokky’s ethereum and solidity seminars, trading ether price volatility, investing in energy blockchain projects, and establishing Zero Carbon Project.

What was the last non-blockchain related job/occupation you had? I spent the last 15 years building my energy and carbon consultancy business in UK, called Beond. We now have 30 consultants and over 700 business energy consumer clients including Vue Cinemas, Capita, Knight Frank, The Salvation Army and Salford City Council. It was a great lesson in growing a software technology business in a highly competitive market.

What made you migrate to the blockchain professional environment? I was inspired by smart contracts and how they can be used to create a decentralised autonomous organisation by interacting automatically with digital currencies. My vision is to create a global digital currency backed by global energy consumption, to advance business democracy and to empower individuals through decentralisation.

How do you see your role in blockchain and crypto? How do you think you can influence the industry? I have always taken the long view in business and intend to take the same approach with blockchain and crypto. I am passionate about building businesses based on innovative new sophisticated software applications that can solve real world problems. I am lucky to have a solid business foundation ready to leverage smart contracts to contribute towards tackling climate change. If we are successful by leveraging utility tokens as a catalyst for change this will be a great case study for the impact blockchain can make on on real world problems.

How do you see the actual situation with ICOs? Do you believe they should be regulated? ICOs and cryptos should be cautiously regulated to ensure criminal activities are not taking place, including market manipulation and money laundering. Regulations should not be used to restrict the free movement of money from jurisdictions protecting their currencies. I personally believe that regulations should not restrict participation of retail investors who should be free to invest their own funds and could develop risk management skills by doing so. Risk education is a much better solution to this problem than regulations.

From your point of view, what are the main challenges of blockchain at the moment? The main challenge of blockchain is the lack of decentralisation. Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains have validation networks which are too centralised and Ethereum blockchain development remains dependent on Vitalik. Other new blockchains are introducing different decentralisation approaches using delegated authorities which also have their weaknesses. My vision is a decentralised network of validation nodes controlled by individuals who have sovereign identities deployed to the blockchain. Scalability and speed can be solved by randomising smaller subsets of validators. Blockchain software becomes commoditised.

How do you see the future of blockchain? How will it evolve? Where do you think we will be in ten years’ time? Do you see crypto as some kind of universal payment system? Do you think that bitcoin will still be king, etc? Crypto will become accepted digital currencies in parts of the world supported by friendly regulators. They will complement the local fiat currencies. Their main purpose will be to interact with smart contracts to provide a rich range of new innovative services. There will be a range of competing cryptos including utility tokens, security tokens and hybrids. Bitcoin will be overtaken by other cryptos underpinned by concrete functions.

Disclaimer: for the “People of Blockchain” section we have developed a short Q&A with relevant people of the industry. All answers are presented exactly as offered. The content of the answers is not altered in any way and is the sole responsibility of the respondent.