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MIT Energy Initiative’s Graham Turk hosts VIA’s CEO Colin Gounden on location at MIT for VIA Visionaries interview

The month of April is filled with reasons to celebrate our mission here at VIA: making our communities cleaner, safer, and more equitable. During April, we celebrate Earth Day, Drive Electric Earth Month, and one of our favorite VIA Visionaries interviews, which happened to be on location at MIT, with a dear friend of VIA’s, Graham Turk.

This VIA Visionaries interview was particularly special for us, it was the first time we were on location, and at MIT to boot. We’ve also known Graham for some time, dating back to when he was Head of Customer Care at Green Mountain Power, a company well known for providing 100% carbon-free electricity to 266,000 customers across Vermont.

Before recapping the interview, let’s dive into Graham’s impressive background.

Behind the scenes with Graham Turk and Colin Gounden at MIT.

Graham has dedicated his career to promoting clean energy through research, innovation strategies, customer care, and teaching. Currently, he is a Graduate Research Assistant at the MIT Energy Initiative where he studies the impacts of rapid electrification and explores tariff designs to promote the adoption of electric vehicles and heat pumps (an Earth Day great!). 

Prior to this, he held several roles at Green Mountain Power, where his innovative leadership led to pioneering programs in battery storage, electric vehicle charging, and flexible demand management. Earlier in his career, as a Fulbright Scholar at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden, Graham conducted research on energy markets and built a small-scale prototype of a peer-to-peer energy trading platform. His commitment to sustainable practices and his ability to unravel complex energy challenges make him an exemplary leader in the clean energy space.

Chatting live on camera at MIT for 30 minutes, Colin and Graham covered an array of topics including why he chose to join a utility, how he sees renters participating in the energy economy, and all about his blog, The Power Trip which covers energy market pricing (go check it out!). Early in the interview, Colin asked Graham about the project he was most proud of at Green Mountain Power and his answer reinforced why we consider him a VIA Visionary on this Earth Day:

We were able to work with the State House in Vermont. They had an old diesel generator in their basement and instead of replacing it with another diesel generator for backup, they put a battery inside of it that we were able to use for similar purposes, like bringing down costs for all customers. So, the Vermont State House at that point was the first state house in the country to have batteries for all of its emergency loads. A fun little trivia question, if anyone ever asks that at Thursday trivia!”

Colin chimed in with another fun fact: 

“It’s a good observation. Government buildings, in some instances, can be the first trials for lots of things. I want to say, The White House had solar panels put on it in the 70s, some of the first solar panels, because they could!”

Watch the full video below to hear Graham talk about other projects he was proud of at Green Mountain Power, including one with Tesla!

We’re thrilled to showcase Graham’s passion for clean energy and fixing utility rates for our communities as part of our “What’s your mission?” Earth Day series. Thank you again, Graham and the gracious folks at MIT, for hosting our first on location VIA Visionaries livestream.

Follow along on VIA’s website and social media (LinkedIn, X, Instagram, Threads) for the latest on how we are living our mission each day and to keep an eye out for our next VIA Visionaries interview. 

Arnab Chatterjee, Postdoctoral Researcher at EMPA, joined VIA’s CEO Colin Gounden for a chat about Swiss energy systems

If you tuned into our seventh VIA Visionaries livestream of 2024, you’ll know that our interview with Arnab Chatterjee was packed with things we value here at VIA: Energy efficiency! Smart buildings! User behavior! AI! Switzerland! If you happened to miss it, you’re in luck, we’ve got a solid recap of the interview and the full recording below!

Though this was our first time meeting Arnab in person, we’ve chatted virtually and have met a lot of the intellectually curious and energy-engaged folks at EMPA over the years.  So, naturally, we were excited to get Arnab in front of our team of VIAneers in Somerville and devoted followers tuned in around the world, to hear about his research at EMPA, which is focused on user behavior and energy systems. As you know, this particular topic is of interest to us – we recently made it to the final round of the ABB Scaleup Challenge 2024 in the Smart Buildings category, where we will showcase Skylight’s carbon reduction potential in Switzerland.

Here is a little background on Arnab:

Arnab Chatterjee and Colin Gounden discussing Swiss energy systems.

Arnab Chatterjee and Colin Gounden discussing Swiss energy systems.

Arnab is a postdoctoral researcher at EMPA’s Urban Energy Systems Lab. Through his extensive experience around the globe, including research roles in Italy and his current work in Switzerland, he has cultivated a deep understanding of building performance, energy systems, and user comfort. In particular, Arnab is focused on incorporating user behavior into developing smart buildings, which includes occupant comfort and how they interact with automated building technologies. In addition, Arnab’s current work involves testing new technologies for practical applications, including notable projects like SWEET LANTERN, a Swiss Government funded, 8-year initiative to support the transition to 100% renewable energy.

Chatting on a beautiful morning at VIA HQ for nearly 30 minutes, Arnab answered questions ranging from how buildings contribute to energy and carbon emissions, to the way advances in AI will impact energy, and how user behavior compares in Switzerland versus the U.S. One of our favorite moments was when Colin asked Arnab to talk a little more about user behavior. And, we were intrigued to learn something new:

“Current building standards are a bit too restrictive on the temperature set points, creating issues on two different levels. First, we are adding too much operational energy usage by creating an environment that is too narrow and second, it doesn’t let the metabolic activity or the metabolic rate of the human body vary. This is not good in the long term.

What is the solution? 

Why not try to create an indoor temperature that varies a bit more? So, for example, having 21℃, and moving constantly for heating, why not let it vary from 18℃ to 21℃ [64℉ to 70℉]? So, we can kill two birds with one stone. We can save energy and let the metabolic exertion of the human body happen.”

To hear the full question and response, and Colin’s hilarious reaction “Any time people say the office is too hot or too cold, I’ll tell them, it’s for your metabolic rate!” – watch the video below!

We’re thrilled to have hosted our seventh VIA Visionaries livestream with such a passionate individual. As Colin said in the interview, “we have a value called love in = love out, if you love what you do it shows, and I think it clearly shows that you love buildings.”

Follow along on VIA’s website and social media (LinkedIn, X, Instagram, Threads) to hear more about our role in the LANTERN project and to keep an eye out for our next VIA Visionaries interview. 

From Zug to Davos: A whirlwind week in Switzerland

Last month, VIA’s CEO, Colin Gounden and Client Delivery Lead, Becky McClements ventured across the Atlantic to meet our Lead Software Research Architect, Madjid Aoudia in none other than, Switzerland 🇨🇭!

The trio had an action-packed week that is well worth the recap for our devoted VIA followers. So, who is ready to take an adventure with us from Zug to Davos?

Day 1: Zug

If you are new to VIA’s blog or just need a refresher, there are many reasons why we chose Switzerland as our European headquarters: clean energy, data privacy, and blockchain, our wheelhouse! Once our team landed in Switzerland, it was off to our office in Zug by train. Madjid and Becky also took the opportunity to snap a picture of our logo on the outside of the office, too!

Madjid Aoudia

Madjid Aoudia ready for his trip to Zug.

Madjid Aoudia & Becky McClements

Madjid and Becky McClements at VIA’s European headquarters.

Then, we met with one of our energy customers for a full-day workshop at our office, followed by dinner with executives in the utility space.

Day 2: Zurich + Lucerne

We kicked off day two in: Zurich! Our team met with government entities to discuss how we can support their data privacy initiatives. With a new data privacy code of conduct coming into effect in January, two agencies reached out to VIA for our expertise in data privacy. We look forward to continuing the conversation and deepening our support for Swiss data privacy efforts.

Later that day, we made our way to Lucerne, home of the HSLU iHomeLab. As we mentioned in our blog from 2022, “The year in Switzerland,” HSLU has been one of our research partners in energy and data privacy since 2018. We were thrilled to see the research they have been doing in energy efficiency and IoT and to have our Expansion Manager, Ray Neubauer join us!

VIA’s team

VIA’s team alongside the iHomeLab team.

Colin showing off some of the fantastic innovations at iHomeLab

Colin at iHomeLab.

Finally, to cap the night off, we had dinner with executives in the electric vehicle and automotive space. Stay tuned for more on this front!

Day 3: Davos

The highlight of our week was traveling to Davos for the Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC)’s 7th Annual Blockchain Central Davos event, hosted in parallel to the World Economic Forum. Colin was invited to speak on the panel, “Blockchain and AI Convergence for Enhanced Trust and Transparency” alongside Tanvi Singh, Managing Director, Global Digital Assets Technology Lead, UBS, John deVadoss, Co-Founder & CEO,, and David Treat, Board Chair, GBBC; Senior Managing Director and Global Metaverse Continuum Business Group Lead, Accenture.

Paola Valencia, Director of Operations, & Strategic Partnerships, Home of, was the moderator, who did a fantastic job of keeping the conversation flowing and asking terrific questions. If you are short on time, don’t miss our favorite moments at the timestamps from the recording below:

  • 9:23: Watch Colin introduce himself and VIA in Swiss German!
  • 19:08: Paola says she was thrilled to see Colin’s name on the panel because she wanted to hear how VIA has been using AI and blockchain with actual companies and how those use cases impact humanity.
  • 35:40: Colin provides his thoughts on the next big thing in the next six months related to AI and blockchain.

Thank you again to GBBC! The whole event from start to finish was world class and we are grateful for the opportunity (and the high quality pictures below 😉).


Day 4: Wrap up!

After the eventful day in Davos, not to mention the fact that we ran into people we know from Boston, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. (the Americans were out in full force!), we closed out our trip by meeting with another automaker and more government officials in the evening.

As we reflect on the week, we wanted to acknowledge a few small things that make a big difference. Everywhere we went, there was next-level hospitality, people made time in any way they could to meet with us, and embraced VIA with open arms. All of these points keep us coming back (and the spectacular scenery isn’t too bad either!).

This trip laid the groundwork for what is sure to be some exciting announcements this year 📣.


View of the mountains during our train ride.

U.S. Department of Energy’s national lab concludes VIA’s software has the potential to become the industry standard to help EV fleet managers meet decarbonization goals

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) research lab, Idaho National Laboratory (INL), known for their nationwide leadership in electric vehicle (EV) batteries and extensive multi-decade research on charger reliability, conducted a rigorous evaluation of VIA’s carbon tracking proofs and confirmed it has the ability to become an industry standard in helping EV fleet managers meet decarbonization goals.

In a recently published article by INL, “The proof is in the software,” INL’s team discussed in detail how the evaluation reviewed VIA’s mathematics (zero-knowledge proofs), code, and working software, and concluded:

The mathematical approach and the software worked, and it has potential to become an industry standard for providing credible, verifiable, and privacy-sensitive carbon data.

The DOE is interested in cyber secure ways of verifying data used to accelerate the transition to clean energy. INL was appointed by the DOE as the laboratory of choice to evaluate how well VIA’s software works to verify sensitive carbon data during charging events without revealing private data such as EV charging time, date, location, and owner. Speaking of the process, VIA’s CEO Colin Gounden said:

Working with INL on this evaluation was an exceptional experience for us at VIA. Not only did they have expertise in zero-knowledge proofs, they asked thoughtful questions and were very responsive. Validating that VIA has the potential to become one of the most trusted sources for verifying carbon data while keeping information private and secure, has been invaluable.

VIA is currently working with large fleets in the U.S. and Switzerland, totaling more than 54,000 vehicles. VIA aims to expand the number of fleets to help EV managers worldwide meet their decarbonization goals.

If you are interested in learning more about the DOE evaluation, carbon verification, or how we can help your team achieve decarbonization goals, contact us!

Ann Davlin, Partnership Development & Commercialization at Constellation sat down with VIA for a conversation about the future of sustainability and climate solutions for VIA Visionaries interview series

Earlier this month, VIA hosted another thoughtful chat as part of our VIA Visionaries interview series. As we always mention in each interview recap, we’re honored to have the opportunity to interview individuals who share the common mission with VIA of making our communities cleaner, safer, and more equitable. 

Throughout Ann Davlin’s remarkable career, energy and climate have been a constant theme across investing, researching, and government. Given her passion for sustainability and climate solutions, we knew this was going to be an enlightening chat for our VIA Visionaries followers.

First, a little background on Ann:

Ann’s impressive career has spanned multiple sectors, including government, private equity, and sustainability-focused organizations. From fundraising for ocean protection and leading sustainable energy projects to government roles such as Special Assistant – Deputy Undersecretary, Environmental Security at the Office of the Secretary of Defense and various positions at The White House, Ann’s versatility and profound ability to strategize across fields have made her an excellent leader in the energy space.

During the live-streamed 23-minute interview, VIA Visionaries audience members were treated to snippets of knowledge from Ann about her first-hand experience working in government and energy roles. Colin asked questions ranging from, “How important is sustainability and climate to defense?” to “Where does hydrogen fit in the climate solution landscape?” We have to say, though, you couldn’t beat the response to the first question Colin asked.

Right off the bat, Ann shared with us the story about how she ended up in the White House as one of her first roles. As Colin put it, “While you’re currently with Constellation Energy, you started with the White House – a place most people end their careers. Can you tell us more about your experience there?” We absolutely loved hearing her response:

After college, I didn’t really know what to do. I ended up in DC, my best friend had an extra room in a group house. I went to the Russell Senate Office Building to do an informational interview and ran into a friend I met over the years, Winston McGregor. She said, “Oh my god, my office is hiring!” So, I went and did an informational interview with Senator Ted Kennedy’s office manager and then I walked over to Winston’s office and I became a legislative associate for Al Gore doing environmental policy.

To hear the rest of her story as they both referred to as “serendipity,” watch the video below! 

The line up of special guests for our VIA Visionaries exclusive interview series keeps growing! Next month, Maj. Gen. Kim Crider (ret.), former Chief Technology Innovation Officer for the United States Space Force and now founding partner of Elara Nova (a space consultancy company) will join us for a live-stream chat on Monday, December 4th. Be sure to follow VIA’s website and social media (LinkedIn, X, Instagram, Threads) for the latest on this series and more!

Hilary Flynn, Managing Director, Investments at MassCEC joined VIA for a chat about policy, investment, and climate in latest VIA Visionaries interview

We created the VIA Visionaries interview series to showcase exceptional people in both the energy and technology spaces. These individuals share a common mission with VIA of making our communities cleaner, safer, and more equitable. 

For our latest interview, we were privileged to spend time with Hilary Flynn.
Hilary has such passion and drive when it comes to commercializing new technologies, investments, and policy development, that we couldn’t wait to ask her to share her wealth of knowledge with our VIA Visionaries followers. 

Here is a little background on Hilary. 

Hilary has had a remarkable career spanning policy and research at major think tanks and analyst firms and technology innovation and investment at a global utility. To break down her exceptional career, she has been with MassCEC as Managing Director, Investments for nearly two years. In her role, she oversees the 2030 fund, an early stage climate tech venture capital. Before joining MassCEC, Hilary was with National Grid for six years in different capacities – from identifying innovation to her latest role as Head of US Offshore Wind and Vice President of NG-RWE JV. Prior to National Grid, Hilary was a consultant for major research firms, working closely with renewable energy, utilities, and policy.

With a packed house at our headquarters in Somerville, which included VIA team members visiting from around the globe, our CEO, Colin Gounden, chatted with Hilary for over 30 minutes on a live streamed event. Colin asked Hilary questions about why she chose energy, the mission at MassCEC, and what role state organizations like MassCEC play in climate change mitigation and clean energy transition. 

Through the conversation, you can tell just how proud Hilary is of the work MassCEC is doing, so when Colin asked Hilary, “There are so many programs at MassCEC. Is there one in particular that is a favorite, or you really want others to consider more actively?”, we enjoyed hearing her response, here is a snippet:

My program, which is terrific, it’s called the 2030 fund. It’s an investment fund that we launched last year. It’s $50 million, effectively a tripling of the budget from what we had historically. We make equity investments and provide venture debt to startups. I think many people who know us know us for the grant program or some of our education programs, and they’re not always aware that we also act like a venture capital firm, and in a good way. We call ourselves public strategic, so we’re very friendly, but we’re unique. There aren’t too many states that have such a venture capital fund, particularly one for climate. So, we make early-stage investments in pre-seed, series A climate tech companies…”

To hear the entire response and the full interview, watch the video below! 

We’re thrilled to share that we have quite the line up of special guests for our VIA Visionaries exclusive interview series. Ann Davlin of Constellation, the largest producer of clean, carbon-free energy, will join us for a live-stream chat about the Future of Sustainability and Climate Solutions on Thursday, November 2nd at 2:30PM ET. Be sure to follow VIA’s website and social media (LinkedIn, X, Instagram, Threads) for the latest on this series and more!

Shalaya Morissette, Chief of the Minority Business and Workforce Division at the U.S. Department of Energy joined VIA for a chat about equity in energy for VIA Visionaries interview series

Our network of people who believe in VIA’s mission to make communities cleaner, safer, and more equitable has been growing exponentially this year. Through our outreach, we have the privilege of meeting exceptional people in the energy industry who are also making a positive impact on the world.

So, when we met Shalaya Morisette, Chief of the Minority Business and Workforce Division at the U.S. Department of Energy, we knew we wanted to host her at our headquarters for one of our VIA Visionaries interview series.

First, a little background on Shalaya.

Shalaya has been with the U.S. Department of Energy for just over a year in her role within the Office of Economic Impact and Diversity. Prior to joining the DOE, Shalaya spent over five years with National Grid, where she served as a safety and compliance officer. She has devoted the majority of her career to education, including teaching high school students engineering in energy, and serving as a board member for her alma mater, Georgia Gwinnett College. Shalaya is a highly regarded leader in the clean technology space, as evidenced by high-profile speaking opportunities around the globe. She has served her community in numerous ways including President of the Greater Boston chapter of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, the first African American board member of New England Women in Energy and Environment, and committee member of Browning the Green Space.

We knew given our common vision and Shalaya’s impressive background, this was going to be an interview for the books!

Speaking on camera on Labor Day in Somerville, our CEO, Colin Gounden asked Shalaya questions about her decision to work in the energy sector, who inspires her, and the ways companies can improve on their equity and diversity. Some of our favorite moments from the interview were when Shalaya beamed with joy as she talked about her daughter and teaching her about energy (catch the 6:35 mark for a cute story!).

For us at VIA, our favorite moments are always centered around our team and it’s clear Shalaya feels the same. Another favorite quote from Shalaya during the interview was when Colin asked, “Is there a special moment, favorite memory, or something you are most proud of in terms of accomplishments [in the last year at the DOE]?” 

“Oh, there are several. Most of them involve my team. I have an amazing team of people that are incredibly dedicated and talented. But, I will say, Alaska. One, I never thought I would get there. But, going to Alaska and seeing their fabrication lab. They have an amazing lab dedicated to natives there. And they have every piece of equipment. There is so much intention. They are still doing things like making drums the old school way…”

To hear the full response to this question (9:20 mark) and the entirety of the interview, watch the video below. Spoiler! you might hear a little something about a moose!

We’re thrilled to share that we have quite the line up of special guests for our VIA Visionaries exclusive interview series. Next week, Hilary Flynn of MassCEC will join us for a live-stream chat about Policy, Investment, and Climate. Be sure to follow VIA’s website and social media (LinkedIn, X, Instagram, Threads) for the latest on this series and more!


Department of Energy selects VIA to demonstrate zero-knowledge proofs for increased cybersecurity of DERs

SOMERVILLE, Mass., July 26, 2023VIA, the leader in secure verification, ingestion, and analysis of private data, announced today that it has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for an in-depth review of zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) to maintain cybersecurity of distributed energy resources (DERs) to aid grid flexibility.

The project includes funding from the DOE and technical support from Idaho National Laboratory (INL), Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), as well as demonstration with Enel, one of the world’s largest renewable generation and DER companies.

Enel North America’s Director of Innovation, David Rodriguez, commented, “Distributed energy resources, such as rooftop solar and battery storage, hold significant value in increasing the flexibility and reliability of the energy grid. To unlock that value, it is absolutely critical to maintain accurate data on the assets. VIA’s work in zero-knowledge proofs offers an innovative and a promising solution to ensuring data verification of energy availability and carbon intensity, while maintaining absolute data privacy and the highest levels of cybersecurity. We look forward to collaborating with VIA on this very important topic.”

Kate Ravanis, VIA’s COO stated, “ZKPs are an ideal solution to the dilemma of verifying carbon while maintaining individual data privacy. This is critically important where DERs from multiple owners, and sometimes competing owners, are required to coordinate to enable grid flexibility.”

This is the third VIA ZKP initiative supported by the DOE this year. In February, INL began evaluating VIA’s ZKPs to track carbon used in charging (smart charging) and discharging (vehicle-to-grid integration) in electric vehicles. In May, the DOE announced funding for industrial decarbonization through the Arizona State University’s EPIXC consortium, of which VIA is a member.

During the testing, VIA is demonstrating the ability of ZKPs to work with near real-time data to verify carbon intensity from distributed energy resources. In addition, DOE is also evaluating the quantum-resistant version of VIA’s ZKPs. Initial results are expected in October 2023.

Are you a community or business with electric vehicles or DERs? Reach out at to learn more and join the DOE demonstration.

About VIA

VIA’s mission is to make communities cleaner, safer, and more equitable by using AI and Web3 technologies. Using its Web3 platform, VIA enables real-time data verification, automated ingestion, and privacy-preserving analysis across multiple private data sources including energy and environmental data. The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), Fortune 50 companies, and energy providers around the globe trust VIA to help them solve their toughest data privacy challenges.

Blockchain for Europe and IOTA Foundation feature VIA’s Web3 solutions in recent report

Blockchain for Europe, a members-only organization that serves “companies driving innovation, integrity, and empowerment through blockchain,” partnered with IOTA Foundation, a non-profit that develops next generation protocols, to write a comprehensive report on the ways blockchain is supporting global sustainability efforts.

The report titled, “An Overview of Blockchain for Climate Action and Sustainability,” includes VIA’s Web3 solutions in a section that covers global climate change initiatives. The authors discuss Skylight and a more recent initiative for EVs:

VIA’s Web3 platform will then also allow verification of the fuel mix of the charge and discharge of EV batteries, incorporating VIA’s zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) to maintain the privacy of sensitive data that currently creates friction for the data owner in the decision to share this information.

For the full report and details written about VIA’s Skylight and ZKPs application for EVs, visit the Blockchain for Europe website. If you would like to speak directly with a member of our team about the ways we can help your organization using Web3, contact us!

GreenBiz highlights VIA CEO’s insights about electric vehicles

As we enter 2023, many of us in the energy space are eager to learn about the year’s outlook. If you are one of those people, you are in luck, because VIA’s CEO Colin Gounden was selected to share some valuable insights in a recent article by GreenBiz. This feature is a part of an extensive 2023 predictions piece in the transportation and mobility sector. The author of the article Vartan Badalian, GreenBiz Group Transportation Analyst, offers his thoughts on the race to net zero. Vartan highlights challenges, opportunities, and trends shared by world transportation leaders, such as Delta Air Lines, Lyft, Enel X Way, and many others. 

While more than 20 experts provide their views, Colin’s comments are the only ones related to Web3 and also bidirectional charging:

We expect a dramatic rise in vehicle-to-building and vehicle-to-grid charging. With extreme weather, aging infrastructure and record supply chain shortages, the new generation of bidirectional electric vehicles will be a highly attractive source of energy flexibility for grid operators. Web3 technologies like zero-knowledge proofs will help verify that the electrons returning to the grid are from renewable sources while maintaining the privacy and anonymity of EV owners.

To read the full article on the GreenBiz website, click here. Curious to learn more or continue the conversation? Feel free to reach out to Colin directly on LinkedIn or email our team at

VIA’s 2022 Highlights in 60 Seconds –
How the VIA values shaped our 2022

One clear theme for VIA emerged in 2022: W3. What do we mean by that? VIA CEO Colin Gounden explains in under 60 seconds.


Examples of Living Our VIA Values in 2022

The VIA values are expressed not just in our day-to-day interactions and culture, but also as a guide for decisions we make as a company. Here’s a look back at how we integrated our values into everything we did in 2022.


Love in = Love out

Our Love in = Love out value is all about taking pride in what you do. VIAneers got to express their pride in our mission captured in the video below.

Be each other’s biggest fan

For the first time in three (3!) years, we hosted our semi-annual Power Up in person at our Montreal office. This was our largest company onsite ever with nearly 20 new VIAneers hired this year. VIAneers got together to share ideas, lend support, and brainstorm.

As a company located across multiple countries, we know that getting ALL of our VIAneers in one space was not an easy feat. In true VIA fashion we’d like to share a shout out to our People & Operations team for organizing and coordinating a fabulous multi-day onsite!

Stay curious

As a company at the forefront of cutting-edge Web3 technologies, not only do we need to be curious about what others are building in the community, but we share our own learnings as well.

In 2022, VIA was featured in a record number of podcasts. One standout interview was with Nasdaq’s TradeTalks, where VIA CEO, Colin Gounden, explained the connections between Web3, blockchain, the U.S. DOD, and clean energy in 6 minutes.

Not only were we giving talks remotely – we did it in person too! Chainlink invited VIA to speak at 2022’s must-attend Web3 event, SmartCon 2022. Didn’t get to be there? Luckily for you we have a 90 second summary of Colin’s talk!


Learning never goes out of style

At VIA, we’re always learning. We began the year by being one of only ten companies out of more than 100 applicants selected to join Wharton University’s Stevens Center Cypher Accelerator program, where we learned from the biggest names in blockchain such as a16z and Pantera.

Then, we ended the year with another innovative accelerator program, when we were selected as one of only nine companies out of more than 200 applicants to learn from industry leaders at the AWS Sustainable Cities Accelerator for Infrastructure.


Ready, set, RESILIENCE!

In 2022, not only did we improve and upgrade our current technology infrastructure, we added brand new features to our Web3 platform. We wrote multiple blogs about zero-knowledge proofs, homomorphic encryption, and even shared some open source code.

Respect a challenge and challenge with respect

The energy sector faces tough challenges in war, weather, and waning infrastructure globally. This year VIA rose to that challenge with the launch of Skylight, our Web3 platform to support ultra-fine grained demand response. Read about how we leverage zero-knowledge proofs, NFTs, and more in our latest white paper.

And that’s a selection of our 2022 milestones! We couldn’t have done it without the contributions and continued support of customers, partners, and of course our very own VIAneers. 

In last year’s end of year reflection blog, we aimed to scale up in 2022 – all of which came true. After all, the best way to predict the future is to build it. In 2023, VIA is looking forward to announcing our contributions to communities big and small globally.

Top Burning Questions Q2: Why do we work with the DoD, and what does it mean to have a top secret cybersecurity accreditation?

Question: Why do we work with the U.S. Department of Defense, and what does it mean to have a top secret cybersecurity accreditation?

In short, our work with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is in direct support of our mission. Long-time readers will be familiar with our core mission to make communities cleaner, safer, and more equitable.

Of course, the DoD provides humanitarian assistance ranging from providing food and shelter to individuals impacted by natural disasters to evacuating refugees from war-torn regions.

Air Force personnel load a supply of rice and soy-based meals for shipment to Guatemala. Photo by U.S. Air Force.

There is also a strong tie to energy, where we focus almost all of our commercial solutions. As a nation, the U.S. is the single largest consumer of energy on the planet. Moreover, a whopping 77%1 of the energy consumption of the entire U.S. Government is by the U.S. DoD. In our view, if we aim to accelerate clean energy, then working with entities like the U.S. Air Force to adopt electric vehicles and move to renewables is a must.

In addition, working with DoD installations on the topic of electrification helps us learn about how we can support civilian communities. A military base is like a city, with tens of thousands of people, thousands of buildings, roads, and vehicles. How we make a base more efficient directly helps us make urban environments cleaner.

Last, but not least, there’s the cybersecurity element. The standards required for our Web3 platform to run at the DoD include things like zero-trust architecture, hardened containers, and continuous vulnerability checks. Everything we do at the DoD can be brought to our commercial customers who are equally concerned about cybersecurity attacks. In our view, there is no higher standard for cybersecurity, and therefore no better way to make our communities safer.

We’re just beginning our work at the DoD. We look forward to a long relationship to support the DoD’s mission and, at the same time, bring our knowledge to improve the lives of residents in local communities.

Are you a community transitioning to clean energy and electric vehicles? We’d love to hear from you regarding your journey and share your learning with others.

DataDrivenInvestor highlights Tech on Reg podcast interview with VIA CEO Colin Gounden

Dara Tarkowski, host of the Tech on Reg podcast, published an article on DataDrivenInvestor, a media platform at the intersection of technology, finance, and society. The article covers key points from the recent podcast interview she did with VIA’s CEO, Colin Gounden. Dara commented that the conversation with Colin around technology and clean energy was both relevant and timely: 

“In light of the global energy crisis and the perennial, devastating effects of climate change, it’s about time we talked about how technology can disrupt our reliance on fossil fuels.”

In the article, Dara breaks down the different insights Colin gave on data privacy, federal intelligence, energy data, and equity. One quote from Colin highlighted in the article that stands out is when he describes the reasons why local and national government agencies are investing in energy independence:

“I don’t know that it was the case a few years ago when we started, but it’s becoming the case now, for two major reasons. One is that since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, cyber attacks on the power grid infrastructure have gone up tenfold. That’s a big concern for local and national governments, because these attacks go much deeper than simply disabling popular websites. Modern life requires a lot of electricity, so protecting our grid is fundamental in our societal hierarchy of needs. If you lose the internet, it’s inconvenient and you kind of go back to life in 1976. If you lose power, you go back to life in 1876.” 

To discover the second major reason Colin touches on, head over to the DataDrivenInvestor website and read the full article

The Merge and what it means for clean energy

As we outlined in our most recent blog post, there’s massive pressure across the board to reduce energy costs and prevent power blackouts. For governments, utilities, industry, and many consumers, improving how we consume and manage energy has become a number one priority to maintain grid reliability.

One area that’s about to do its part to relieve this pressure is blockchain. Colloquially called “The Merge,” a long awaited change in the validation (or “consensus”) mechanism on Ethereum will be finalized in September.

By most calculations, the new upgrade will use roughly 2000x less energy than the current consensus mechanism. Like most innovations these days (e.g., speech recognition, file compression, self-driving cars), math is at the heart of this improvement.

The key change is in the “proofs.” In a completely decentralized and anonymous network, how can you verify that a transaction between two parties actually happened, when there’s no intermediary? For example, if you and I are trading bitcoin and one of us disagrees on the amount that got transferred, who do we go to as an arbiter? Different mathematical proofs are used to verify which transactions are real. In short, the current proof (proof-of-work) is greedy for energy and the new proof (proof-of-stake) has the same level of validity but is much more energy efficient.

This is good news for everyone. Not only will one of the most popular blockchain mechanisms significantly reduce its carbon footprint, transactions (e.g., minting NFTs, smart contracts) will be significantly cheaper as well. The timing couldn’t be better. As we’ve written about, the use of smart contracts and Zero-Knowledge Proofs have huge potential to support the transition to clean energy.

You’ll have seen a lot of blogs and posts from VIA recently about our work in Zero-Knowledge Proofs. We also use an energy efficient proof-of-stake approach, although our work is focused on creating proofs for energy data. Connections to Ethereum through oracles were in our original 2018 white paper and part of our roadmap. Until The Merge, however, VIA has had a private blockchain dedicated to a few users (e.g., U.S. DOD) for secure, digital asset custodial tracking. With the changes to a cheaper, more energy efficient Ethereum, we plan on leveraging EVMs post-Merge, for our newest applications.

War, weather, and waning infrastructure: The urgent need for community-led grid resiliency

To keep your lights on, the electric grid runs on one simple principle: power generation must be greater than power consumption. 

While simple in principle, this is a challenge in practice. Consider the following headlines from the past 30 days:

Power is experiencing a perfect storm that’s impacting consumers the most (high prices and blackouts1). The challenges are global, although with regional variations.

In Europe, sanctions against Russia are limiting fuel supply that has led to fuel shortages, price spikes, and, worst of all, outages2. Compounding the supply issues is an aging generation and grid infrastructure. For example, France, normally self-sufficient or a net exporter of power, has 31 of its 57 nuclear power plants shut down due to unexpected maintenance3. This hits at a time when Europe and the U.S. are facing record heat waves4. As air conditioning is not as widespread in Europe, the bigger concern is that in a severe winter, when energy consumption generally doubles, outages will be even more widespread56.

In the U.S., sanctions against Russia have increased fuel prices but have not impacted supply directly. What’s more problematic is that while solar and wind generation is on the rise, connecting the power to the grid is slow, sometimes taking over a year, due to regulatory reviews and backlogs or the lack of energy capacity7. An aging infrastructure is also struggling to keep up with electrification. This is already having an impact in both New York and Texas as heat waves in the U.S. have been record breaking in temperature and duration.

To solve for this, many utilities are engaging their customers directly. The idea is that when consumers lower their electricity usage, they keep demand lower than supply. While many traditional businesses have done everything in their power to build a direct relationship with their customers, most consumers only know their utility through their monthly bill and when the lights go out.

Similar to how the first generation internet helped improve customer engagement (e.g., email, online billing, order tracking), we see Web3 as a way to bring grid operators closer to their customers through direct engagement on the transparency and tracking of their electricity usage. Technologies like Zero-Knowledge Proofs, smart contracts, and tokens can help grid operators incentivize, coordinate, and track individual consumer usage while maintaining complete data privacy.

You’ll have seen some of VIA’s tech stack already demonstrate some of this functionality through our blogs. In the coming weeks, we’ll be talking more about how VIA can provide a turn-key solution to power providers and grid operators.