BlockchainBusiness & Finance

‘We Want to Build Centers of Excellence Around Blockchain’: John Belizaire, CEO Soluna

Soluna is on a mission to use clean, green, sustainable and reliable source of energy to mine cryptocurrency. Started by Brookstone Partners to use a wind farm in southern Morocco to power a data center and bitcoin mining operation, Soluna aims to be the power source of the current blockchain revolution we are witnessing.

Talking to BlockPublisher, John Belizaire, CEO of Soluna said;

“Wind projects are challenging because the only way to monetize them is to sell the power to the grid and that’s becoming challenging because in the past one could bid and there was much focus on driving renewable energy that developed countries were giving really high prices for creating a wind farm and sometimes they would pay even without the grid in place.

In current financial situation, governments can’t afford to give money away, they’ve got to make a business case for where they’re putting their capital in, that have actually depressed the revenue prospects of projects like this. The amount of money one can actually make by investing in this is challenging but if you combine the revenue stream, mix it so it is diversified, you just don’t have energy sales, you have this computing operation which is becoming a much more valuable and highly revenue generating opportunity”.

Talking about how the idea behind Soluna became a reality, John stated;

“The grid took a long time to get there, it had a lot to do with the Morocco’s finance strategy for the project and in sort of getting it started. But once it started, it has been moving at a pretty good pace. They started thinking well we’ve got this ability to generate power but we don’t have any place to send it and that is known as a trap power problem. There are lots of these power islands around the world where there’s a power resource that either the government or a private entity built and they have no place to put the power.

Computing is becoming a global phenomenon, there is a global research for computing capacity and cloud computing that has really transformed how one views the location of their computing site. The types of applications they’re developing and evolving, we’re really talking about high-density applications. There is cryptocurrency mining, which is a high density application of computing, it can be done anywhere in the world, produces a digital asset that has value and we can we use this trap power for that application but then can we do it for other things”.

SEE ALSO: Remarkable Story of the Man Driving Soluna: World’s First Vertically-Integrated Blockchain Computing Company

John told BlockPublisher where Soluna stood at the time he joined the company and where it stands now and said;

“When I was brought in, they had just sort of completed the analysis of the thesis, a year worth of interviews by meeting people in the blockchain space and equipment providers. What effectively was a conceptual idea and some initial modeling to a company, I was brought on to really take this project and transform it into Soluna, which has a mission to essentially be a computing company that happens to own its own resource. We bought the rights to that special purpose company in Morocco that was focused on the development of a location and the good thing is, we stand on the shoulders of all of that work that has been done on the site.

Turbine technology, battery technology and computing technology has advanced so much that now the site went from being able to produce 600 MW to 900 MW of power. The wind speed in that area is so good that the data we collected, showed that it has a capacity factor that is record breaking. It is not only good but it’s probably one of the top wind sites in the world and that affords us the ability to take this mission that we have, to be the utility scale backbone to the future of blockchain and high-density computing space where we actually own our power resource.

Now there is a business model that can go all around the world and as a company, that is what we want to do. We want to start in Morocco and we want to do it in other parts of the world, especially in developing countries, where there is a need to develop these resources even though it is really hard to attract investors through this business model. We would not only bring in the investors but also build an ecosystem where we are bringing this training and academics to those areas. We want to build centers of excellence around blockchain and high-density computing like AI, machine learning, graphics rendering, where they are doing a very complex calculation and sending results back to some location. It’s not like streaming Netflix or running an e-commerce business.

We’re basically a very giant calculator that’s leveraged by a global network of high-density computing services, that is what Soluna is about. We have got a lot to do but the prospects and the ultimate benefits it will bring to the world, our team and the countries that will be involved, outweighs the challenges ahead of us and that’s what excites me about this opportunity”.

Hassaan Malik

Co-founder of BlockPublisher, Hassaan is a technologist at heart with a keen interest in blockchain. Email: hassaan@blockpublisher.com

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