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About Michael Barnard

Michael Barnard is a C-level technology and strategy consultant who works with startups, existing businesses and investors to identify opportunities for significant bottom line growth in the transforming low-carbon economy. He is editor of The Future is Electric, a Medium publication. He regularly publishes analyses of low-carbon technology and policy in sites including Newsweek, Slate, Forbes, Huffington Post, Quartz, CleanTechnica and RenewEconomy, with some of his work included in textbooks. Third-party articles on his analyses and interviews have been published in dozens of news sites globally and have reached #1 on Reddit Science. Much of his work originates on Quora.com, where Mike has been a Top Writer annually since 2012. He's available for consulting engagements, speaking engagements and Board positions.



Author Archives: Michael Barnard

Energy Web Foundation In Its Own Words: 7 Questions (Blockchain Report Excerpt)

November 17th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

Energy Web Foundation (EWF) has great bones. It was founded by two leading organizations in the clean energy space: the influential Rocky Mountain Institute founded by Amory Lovins in 1982 and the more recently formed Grid Singularity, a blockchain- and grid-fo- cussed organization with core Ethereum blockchain developers, experienced energy executives, energy regulators and technology entrepreneurs


Smart Contract Sweet Spots: Basic Implications (Blockchain Report Excerpt)

November 10th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

One clear area where smart contracts have potential is in cross-border purchases of finished goods or raw materials where no business relationship exists. Herstatt risk already applies due to the exchange rates with the foreign seller, although at a lower level of risk. Projecting accounts receivable into a distant country is problematic at best


Yamaha’s Electric Motorcycle Plans Are Based On Its Kando Strategy

November 6th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

While bikers who yearn for the kando of a Yamaha electric motorcycle are still waiting, this is a company with a long-running commitment to leading electrification in the two-wheel and other spaces. Yamaha will deliver a motorcycle when it can do so with a capability set and price that make sense, and it will do a very good job of it


The Post-Westphalian Nature Of Cryptocurrencies (Blockchain Report Excerpt)

November 4th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

It’s worth elaborating on the post-Westphalian nature of cryptocurrencies for the purposes of this discussion. The Peace of Westphalia was a series of treaties signed in 1648 which formally ended both the 30 Years War and the 80 Years War, which were both Catholic vs Protestant wars and a war between the Roman Empire and a bunch of mostly Protestant nations


Electric Bicycle Extremes: What Are The Boundaries Today?

November 2nd, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

If you haven't seen an electric bicycle yet, it's likely that you just didn't notice the several that have passed you by recently. And if an electric bike hasn't breezed by you uphill or down, or just on the flats, you likely just aren't on the streets or trails at all


Retro Is High Design In Electric Two-Wheelers

October 31st, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

Electric two-wheelers occupy an interesting space in 2018. Insufficient to replace motorcycles for long-distance touring, with all due respect for riders like Ben Rich and his cross-country trips, but with a rising urban demographic, they increasingly wrap the future in the skin of the past


Electric Bicycle Fatalities & Injuries Are Rising

October 31st, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

Urban planners and traffic safety regulators are struggling to come to grips with electric bicycles. They offer tremendous advantages for urban mobility, they reduce congestion, they offload overloaded transit, every electric bicycle is arguably one less car on crowded city streets, and they don't pollute.


Smart Contract Business Drivers: Multiplying Parties, Default Costs, & Penalty Clauses (Blockchain Report Excerpt)

October 28th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

One of the purported advantages of smart contracts, including a third party such as a delivery organization in a contract, is actually an added complexity. Anything which involves multiplying parties to a contract increases its complexity, as is true with any solution to a problem. One of the original English formulations of Occam’s Razor was do not multiply entities without necessity.


Cities & Global Warming Have A Complex Relationship

October 20th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

Urbanization is one of the factors which allowed more humans to survive and hence the population to grow. Cities were integral to the success of the Industrial Revolution and without them, humanity wouldn’t have changed the climate as much


EWF’s Blockchain For Electricity Is Building Its Foundation

October 20th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

EWF appears to be positioning itself wisely and carefully in the emerging blockchain-for-energy space. It's not trying to boil the ocean, it's aligning itself with the regulated marketplace for electricity and it's partnering with serious organizations.


Smart Contract Business Drivers: Herstatt Risk (Blockchain Report Excerpt)

October 20th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

Herstatt risk or settlement risk is the risk that a foreign exchange rate will change after a contract is locked in at a specified amount of a specified currency. Obviously this is a two-way risk, as if the exchange rate goes up, the buyer will pay more; and if the exchange rate goes down, the seller will receive less. The more volatile the currency and the longer the time until settlement, the greater the risk


Smart Contract Business Underpinning (Blockchain Report Excerpt)

October 13th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

A smart contract that involves contracting a payment for services to be rendered or a product to be delivered involves three separate accounts: a purchaser, a seller, and an escrow account. Escrow is a means of creating trust in a contract where there is none. In an escrow situation, a third party holds something of value from the purchaser until a certain condition is met by the seller, at which time they deliver the thing of value to the purchaser


What Is Consensus? (Blockchain Report Excerpt)

October 6th, 2018 | by Michael Barnard

The entire blockchain concept is a solution to a computer science problem from the 1970s that was formalized in 1982 as the Byzantine Generals’ Problem. At heart, it’s a question of how a bunch of systems can collaborate with trust when malicious actors are trying to disrupt the system. Proof-of-work and proof-of-stake are different solutions on top of blockchain to that problem



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