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Stock Trading - Entry 21

How a City can Use a Blockchain to Give you Free Water

By Richard SoullierePublished 2 months ago 4 min read
Photo by Jonathan Borba on

After all that talk of blockchains and people repeating history one way or another by acting on nefarious or semi-nefarious intents, here's a ray of sunshine I have conjured up and am now sharing. The basic idea involves you helping your city track water usage so you get yours for free. Hear me out - there are only ten small steps.

Step 1: Fork the Helium blockchain. (For those who think forking is dirty, in tech speak it means to make a copy of something currently in use while you intend to alter the copy and use the copy for something else while the original continues being used as originally intended. Same root, different uses.)

Photo by Angel Balashev on Unsplash

Step 2: Alter the coding to the forked blockchain to enable the following steps. (Some might say this is the easy part.)

Step 3: Cut a deal with a manufacturer of small mining computers to develop one to mine the blockchain developed in step two, like this one (and no, steps 2 and 3 are not a circular reference). The deal will be based on a minimum number of guaranteed sales (based on the next few steps), allowing for a production run based on economies of scale. If done right, it would cost less than $500 per device - and that's Canadian dollars.

Step 4: Install water meters on homes that send out a short-distance wireless encoded signal. Devices that pick up that signal and decode them can then effectively read the water meter. (As an example, the City of Ottawa has already rolled this out.)

Step 5: Dust off the map of all the homes and buildings within city limits that have a city water connection. (Honestly, if this hasn't already been done before step 1....) Then, develop a map of the city showing areas where the miners of the new blockchain could operate. (Perhaps existing tools like HotspotRF might help with this.) By 'operate', I mean receive signals from nearby houses and buildings and then relay them through the miner's (home/business) Internet connection. Those miners would be home-owners, business owners, or a mix of both.

In fact, the HotspotRF tool clearly shows that many people are interested and willing to have such a device in their home/building!!

Step 6: Encourage residents, business-owners, or both in targeted areas to buy a mining device and set it up in their home or business. Incentivize would-be miners by providing them credits (to be applied to their water bill, property taxes, or both) for the blockchain mining they do. That's right, mine enough and you get free water! The savings then cover the cost of the device AND continue for as long as they mine. (With my household's current water use, I could recover the cost in less than a year if the device costs only $500.) This means no cost for cities, super-affordable upfront cost for interested residents, and those residents get cheap/free water.

Step 7: Develop a security and continuity plan. The goals of such a plan will outline the steps required to ensure coverage throughout the city at all times and to prevent against terrorist/hacking attacks.

Step 8: Show off how modern the city is and encourage others to follow suit. Other municipalities could then fork the code with minimal altering required after the first go. Also, tap on the shoulders of politicians who are trying to bolster the (North American) computer chip manufacturing sector and say, "Pssst, you're welcome, now scratch my back."

Step 9: Deal with blow back. People who manually walk or drive around to collect water usage data must be given different meaningful work for which many up-skilling programs exist - at least in Canada. Dinosaurs also exist who both (a) miss the milkman delivering milk to their doorstep every morning and (b) only ever dealt with garbage cans growing up and continue to only use garbage cans, no recycling or green bins. I would tell dinosaurs that fewer people will be lurking around their house at odd, random times as a result. (Who could do with less paranoia after all?)

Step 10: Say, "Thank you, Richard."

Photo by Howie R on Unsplash

If you want an example based on low hanging fruit, check out the City of Ottawa program that gives homeowners smart water meters, but still relies on drive-bys to collect the data.

Counter-point: Why not just get residents and building owners to use their own Internet connection for their water? People are known for bumming off of their neighbour's Internet (although I never have). In short, freedom of choice and life/circumstances do not form a solid base for a highly reliable, resilient, centralized data transmission system.

Full Disclosure: As of publishing this article, I have never owned Helium tokens, nor have I mined it, nor do I have a vested interest in manufacturers of blockchain mining technology (although now that I am finally thinking about it, I may investigate). I do, however, have a vested interest in improving social goods (including municipal functions) and saving money.

If you would like some background to all this, you can read why I suggest the Helium blockchain be forked in the three-part series I wrote and published a short while ago:

  • Part One (the practical implications of the tech behind it)
  • Part Two (all about the motivations behind the 4 profiteers)
  • Part Three (addresses questions on regulation and social engineering)

If you want a non-techy primer on blockchain mining, you can check out entry 16.

To find out what other ideas I come up with and what other stock-y and crypto-y things I look into next, subscribe for free below to become notified right when those articles are published. Otherwise, you will have to keep an eye out here where you will find all my entries in my stock trading journey published here on Vocal Media.

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About the Creator

Richard Soulliere

Bursting with ideas, honing them to peek your interest.

Enjoyes blending non-fiction into whatever I am writing.

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