VIA Spotlight: Girard Newkirk, Founder and CEO of KWHCoin

Girard Newkirk, Founder and CEO of KWHCoin, spoke with VIA about his journey from retail executive to founder of a decentralized virtual global power company. KWHCoin aims to deliver reliable, clean, renewable energy access for disadvantaged and underserved communities across the globe using blockchain technology and smart contracts.

Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Pender County, North Carolina and attended East Carolina University, where I studied Political Science and Finance. I have two beautiful children: a six-year-old son and four-year-old daughter. My professional background is in retail, and most recently, I worked as a Vice President for Macy’s in the Silicon Valley District.

Prior to founding KWHCoin, you were a retail executive for over a decade. What inspired you to leave that industry and pursue building this platform for renewable energy resources?

I have always been interested in finance, energy, and building systems to provide access and social impact for the disadvantaged and underserved. But the real turning point for me was my daughter’s stroke. She had a stroke at birth and struggled to survive. This experience put into perspective the need to live a purposeful life. As she lay in the NICU, I promised her that I would work on something to make the world a better place for her and my son and so, here we are.

KWHCoin aims to “improve the lives of the 1.2 billion people across the globe without reliable energy access.” What are some of the key ways KWHCoin works to accomplish that mission?

As we began to travel to and interact with markets in Africa and the Caribbean, we quickly learned that the solution needed was more than just energy trading and a blockchain. We discovered we had to develop an entire ecosystem to support the needs and overcome current barriers that kept 500 million households without energy. So, we modified our original plan. Now we have become an energy solutions provider as well as a platform for sustainable infrastructure development.

You talk about the “Internet of Energy,” and how the internet can act as a digital rail to deliver clean, localized energy to members of the network. Tell us about your vision for the global impact of an Internet of Energy.

I think the energy generation and distribution systems of the very near future will be much smaller, localized, and driven by both demand response and the coordination of software for efficient delivery. We envision all distributed energy resources as being critical to grid reliance, so we decided to design our platform as a mechanism for distributed energy resources to collaborate and communicate in a transparent environment. This enables each energy resource to become its own energy company and this independence will flourish in the coming years.

VIA uses its blockchain-based Trusted Analytics Chain (TAC) to establish secure access to confidential and distributed energy data, making it available for AI initiatives like predictive maintenance. How do you see TAC, or similar applications, fitting into KWHCoin’s goal of establishing a decentralized virtual global power company?

I see TAC as being a critical component to the development of the Internet of Energy. Security and coordination are the hardest and most important elements to the success of decentralized energy development and TAC is a bridge to connect data, energy usage, mitigate security threats, and foster collaboration.

The United Nations’ scientific panel released a report in October describing a strong risk of climate crisis as early as 2040. How do you think KWHCoin’s work is helping to combat some of the contributing factors of climate change? What further action do you think needs to be taken to prevent some of the more severe consequences of climate change?

I think we immediately need to invest in sustainable infrastructure development and work together to build compensation models that will attract investment and reward the public for good behaviors that contribute to the deployment of more renewable energy sources.

We often describe blockchain now as the internet in the early 90’s: it’s difficult to imagine the impact it will have on everyday life. That being said, how do you think blockchain will influence the way we live in the next 5 – 10 years?

I think we will see an array of disintermediation. The public, if we execute distributed systems and technologies effectively, will benefit tremendously from lower cost and more security of their data.

Would you like to add anything else?

Thank you for this opportunity. We encourage everyone to check out KWHCoin and join us on our mission to electrify billions and build a more sustainable planet.