John Clippinger is Chief Innovation Officer and Founder at Swytch.io. He has held senior positions in government and large enterprises as well as founding multiple software companies. He recently founded the Token Commons Foundation in Zug Switzerland, where his team is developing protocols for decentralized governance, self-sovereign identity, and the issuance of Swytch, a utilisation token.
Here at Swytch, we are involved with using blockchain based crypto tokens that incentivize and facilitate the general industry transition from old-style (fossil) fuels, to new, clean, renewable energy sources. This paradigm shift is very close to happening, but there are still barriers to the switch that remain in place. This is what we hope to do with our product; to remove some (if not all) of these major roadblocks.
Carbon Pricing is the problem that needs to be tackled
The big issue that we are facing right now, in tackling climate change, is the fact that you do not have pricing of carbon. Therefore, there is no real incentive for people to change. But if you can start to price the carbon, and rewarding those who produce sustainable energy, creating viable local markets, and creating liquidity in those markets, you may have a solution.
Therefore, the mission is to create a protocol. A token that incentivises, on a global scale, the transition from fossils to sustainable. Take sovereign wealth funds, like in Norway, for example. They may be looking great right now, sitting on $3tn, but we know that is all going to evaporate in the next 5/6 years. It is very clear, we cannot continue to be betting everything on the petrodollar, or in the value of carbon, and therefore I think there is going to be a hell of a wake-up call. We know the tragedy of the commons. When you think of the climate as a common collective burden, you see that it is really in everyone’s interest to fix this problem. Then the next question is: to keep it alive and generative, how do we do that? And that’s where we come in: when you realise the full cost of carbon and you want to make the transition, you buy Swytch, you produce Swytch, you hedge against this market.
Various cities and organisations around the world are getting on board with this energy revolution, they are open to change
Take Barcelona, for instance, as a whole they are very open to these ideas; their mayor is very supportive, in fact. That’s part of the Catalonian experience, they provide us and others with a very receptive environment. For example, they want to introduce tokens for housing, and also for transportation. There is also a company in the Netherlands and Israel that is creating tokens for reward-style programs. What I am seeing, however, is that it is very difficult to work with traditional governmental bodies, because you are meeting with a lot of resistance, despite the amazing things that all these different technologies can do. For now, the really interesting developments are happening when we are working on the edge of cities, it’s those bodies that are most receptive to change.
Everyone here at this event (Energy Unblocked) is now working in this alternative economy. If the current traditional economy starts to collapse, and is no longer viable, I am in the other side, I am hedging against that. And you find that a lot of other people are looking at that as well.
The new ‘prosumer’ model is what will be driving this change
What we have being seeing lately, is the rise of the ‘prosumer’ model. In the traditional capital market, you have the producers on one side, and the consumers on the other. But our token is designed on the premise that you can do both; you can augment your account, you can deficit your account, you can produce more value by using Swytch. There is a new way for people to generate income, so if they want to provide a service like cleaning up a park or similar, they can issue tokens around that. And, even better, they don’t have to offset it by debts. So I think that we are moving into a whole different world. We are at the convergence of many exciting technologies, that’s what makes this all possible If you want to create liquidity, whilst also mitigating risk; how do you do that? You do that with real-time learning in the device. We never had that before. That, to me, it’s a huge breakthrough. All these technologies that develop opensource, we can use when designing our smart tokens. We have baskets of this things that perform dynamically in a certain way. That’s new. And that’s really wild. So we are part of a next generation of tokens that are themselves programs. And they are adaptive programs. So you get smarter and smarter tokens that change their behaviour in order to maintain some kind of outcome. And what’s more, you don’t have pump and dump, because it’s an algorithm that controls that.
Furthermore, what this new technology does, is allow anyone, anywhere, to access this market. So we have a mobile app. So say I’m in Africa, I can produce so much SWYTCH at this cost, and I can set up a unit and I can trade this anywhere in the world. Or I can be doing this in California. But I have different configurations of different prices. And the oracle is making the adjustments, it’s a machine-learning oracle.
You have to be careful about AI, however. I was at an early stage of AI and people were sold it and they were all sorts of kinds machine learning levels, specification, and it gets all over-sold. We are a whole group that have been doing it for many years in MIT. There is a lot of bullshit being done. There is no doubt about that. And there is very very ambitious projects, and they are pointing in to a number of. And they are raising a lot of money. And there are really cool ideas. But they are early. But in my mind there is no doubt that something is gonna shake up. Because you are starting to see things at a working scale. We are building this whole new infrastructure and is just popping up. And things are falling by the wayside. I’m sure that 80% of the things are falling up by the wayside. And the rest is gonna remain. And they are going to be the new Google.