Moldova, an impoverished Eastern European country with a population of 4 million people, may soon emerge as an unwitting brand ambassador for cryptocurrency-powered, eco-friendly renewable energy.
The United Nations Development Program has partnered with South Africa-based blockchain startup, Sun Exchange, to power one of Moldova’s largest universities, the UNDP announced in a statement .
Sun Exchange is a marketplace where you can purchase solar cells with cryptocurrencies to power businesses or schools. The exchange uses SolarCoin, a cryptocurrency launched by blockchain startup ElectriCChain.
If all goes according to plan, the Technical University of Moldova will have all its energy needs met through crypto-powered solar energy. The university will get one megawatt of energy installed this summer, thanks to enthusiastic crowd-funding efforts, Reuters reported.
This program could be a boon for the landlocked nation, which imports 74 percent of its energy, and is one of the poorest countries in Europe.
Moldova’s energy costs have spiked more than 50 percent during the past five years, spotlighting the need for a cheaper energy source. This latest crypto-funded project could help Moldova become less dependent on energy imports such as oil and gas from Russia.
Moldova is a perfect fit for this solar-energy project, because it has more than 10,000 square meters of unused rooftop space on public buildings that could be used for solar panels, said Dumitru Vasilescu, a program manager with UNDP.
If the Moldovan crypto-powered project is successful, the UNDP plans to replicate it in neighboring nations. “Ultimately, this could revolutionize the renewable energy market for Eastern Europe and Central Asia,” said Vasilescu.
Abraham Cambridge, the CEO of Sun Exchange, said he’s not surprised that Moldova has embraced cryptocurrencies and blockchain, in light of how the industry could bolster its struggling economy.
“It’s no wonder this is one of the fastest-growing crypto markets,” Cambridge said. “The system has all the right incentives in place. It reduces the costs of going solar dramatically for the end-user. And it makes it easy for anyone in the world to own a solar cell anywhere in the world, and from it, make a steady source of sunlight-powered income.”
As CCN.com previously reported, Moldova is using blockchain technology to stamp out child-sex trafficking. Hundreds of Moldovan girls are kidnapped and smuggled to Turkey, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries to work as sex slaves.
Children in rural areas are easy targets for sex traffickers because they often don’t have identification, so kidnappers can transport them across borders using fake IDs. But Moldovan authorities have realized that blockchain, the technology behind bitcoin, can provide children with forgery-proof, paperless ID documents using their fingerprints and facial scans.
Meanwhile, in neighboring Ukraine, lawmakers are drafting legislation to legalize cryptocurrencies, as CCN.com has reported. Ukraine has been at the forefront of comprehensive crypto regulations since January 2018.
“Given the rapid development of cryptocurrencies in the world, this issue cannot be left out of the state’s attention,” said Ukraine’s security council.
Featured image from Shutterstock.