Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has a new startup blockchain called Efforce. Since leaving Apple in 1985, Woz has been involved in a bunch of interesting projects including teaching children in elementary school, and had some Chief Scientist roles in various companies, and also started Woz U, a tech-based online education program.
- I’ve always found Woz to be pretty wholesome, charitable and strong on topics like human rights. He does Cameos but donates all the money to charity — good stuff.
Now, he’s part of a team launching Efforce, a big new crypto-project that’s launched over at efforce.io, where you can see Woz himself talk about, quote: “the first decentralized platform that allows you to participate and benefit from worldwide energy efficiency projects.”
Wait, so what?
- Efforce is described as acting as a digital marketplace that companies can use to raise funding for energy efficiency projects.
- This is done via WOZX, a new cryptocurrency token for funding, and blockchain is used to redistribute the profits to token holders and businesses using the platform.
Here’s how blockchain Efforce says it works
Why should you be cautious?
- Normally, a new blockchain project that doesn’t fully describe why exactly a blockchain has to be used, has a flashy name involved, and issues its own cryptocurrency… well, those projects have been borderline scams at times in the recent past. The BBC’s enjoyable podcast investigation, The Missing Cryptoqueen, neatly dug into the enormous scam that was OneCoin.
- Efforce is vastly different from the OneCoin Ponzi scheme but applying caution here makes sense.
- Woz is involved as a co-founder, not just a consultant. Though, there are six listed co-founders.
- And the pre-mined tokens at least seem somewhat tied to something useful — from the whitepaper on the Efforce website: “Each token represents an Energy Performance Smart Contract, which guarantees the savings obtained over a certain period of time, thanks to a specific energy efficiency project. The energy savings generated become a tangible asset held by token holders, who may decide to sell them or use them to reduce their electricity bills.”
- Less good: the value of the project hit nearly $1 billion in 13 minutes after launch, a classic example of a “pump and dump” that can go on in crypto projects.
- And the whitepaper is pretty thin on the tech details, never a good sign.
- Plus, while it’s all for energy-efficiency projects, what’s the carbon cost of computing time needed to run the cryptocurrency? (At least it’s running on the Ethereum network, which sips power compared to Bitcoin.)
- In essence, what I think we have here is a way to track investments in climate efficiency projects.
- A bunch of this feels un-Woz, so let’s hope it is actually something great for the environment, and that the clout of Woz means something, 45 years after he founded Apple.
- There are so many fundamental questions and enough red flags that I personally wouldn’t touch it.
- And there are others in the green/crypto space doing good as TechCrunch profiled back in June this year, for investing directly in solar power projects in Africa.
- And non-decentralized direct solar investments exist too, like Trine.com out of Sweden.