James enters parliament but not as an MP; those who know me, know that politics has never been my strength. No, I was invited to attend the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blockchain meeting on Sustainability and Climate Change.
Here are some pictures.
The chairman was Rt Hon. Martin Docherty-Hughes (SNP).
The speakers were,
- Alistair Marke, Director General, Blockchain & Climate Institute
- Josh Graham, CEO, EHAB
- Prof. Yu Xiong, Associate Vice President, University of Surrey
- David Pugh-Jones, CMO, Cudos
- Priya Guliani, EMEA Director, Government Blockchain Association
- Jordan Murkin, Technical Lead, EDF R&D
Alistair Marke gave a comprehensive and accurate talk on the use of blockchain to remove friction in carbon markets by facilitating trusted transactions and increasing market depth. This was expanded on by Priya Guliani.
Professor Xiong spoke very softly and I could not hear what he said. I look forward to reading the meeting notes.
Mr Pugh Jones pitched his companies vision of distributed compute. He did not differentiate his product from better known tokens such as Golem but seemed to want government regulation of his competitors.
Mr Graham pitched his companies weather insurance services. Smart contracts are involved. This is a well-know usecase and it is useful that it has been read into evidence.
Jordan Murkin discussed a peer-to-peer solar energy project conducted in Brixton. This was very interesting and it is great that EDF is working in this areas to discover the technical and regulatory challenges facing community solar.
After the speakers presented their evidence contributions were invited from the floor. On behalf of my client RED an electricity and sustainability company in Romania I asked,
“Does the panel think that the Government could support community solar projects more effectively by buying tokens than giving grants?”
Mr Murkin replied that grants might still be required because raising capital was difficulty. I responded,
“Project can raise funds by issuing tokens but this must be supported by regulation and law”.
Some other questions were asked including about bitcoin’s energy use and the panel pushed the “bitcoin bad, blockchain good” narrative that crypto-veterans will be familiar with.
The meeting served its purpose and it is great to see our elected representatives actually learning about the things they seek to regulate.
In honour of my visit to the mother of parliaments I will make a rare political comment.
No better demonstration of the idiocy of the Scottish independence movement is needed than the effective chairmanship of Mr Docherty-Hughes. Should the SNP be successful in their tragic campaign then the 70m citizens of the UK will denied the benefit his service and he will be limited to advising the 5m citizens of Scotland on what is happening in London because no-one is every going to move to Scotland to start a software business.
This disconnect between the global reality of technology and the some of our parliamentarians was also demonstrated by Baroness Uddin who asked why there were hundreds of thousands of graduates in Tower Hamlets in service jobs but people in Canary Wharf commuted miles. She asked this question in room where probably more than half the audience came from outside the UK. London thrives not by recruiting the top people from the UK but the top people from the world and there are a great many more foreigners than Britons.