MF 183 : Veronica Garcia-Heller on Moving Forward with Blockchain to Accomplish a Big Why
Updated: Jun 17, 2022
Veronica Garcia-Heller is CEO and founder of Bitlumens, a company aiming to bring electrical power to rural Latin American villages thru blockchain. Today, Veronica will share how small steps lead to accomplishing big whys.
Successes at a glance:
CEO and Founder of Bitlumens.
An innovating company utilizing blockchain and the internet of things (IoT) to bring electrical power to rural Latin American villages
Former Energy Consultant at The World Bank, Castalia, IADB and IBM Switzerland.
Former Investment Consultant at Credit Suisse and UBS.
Veronica started her career as an investment consultant at Credit Suisse and UBS. Veronica got tired of the rat race and went back to university in Zurich to focus on learning more about energy economics. Following this, Veronica joined IBM Research Labs, conducting research on solar plants. It was during this phase of her career that she fell in love with renewable technology. Veronica eventually moved to the US where she did energy consulting for highly prestigious organizations and companies including The World Bank and Castalia. As blockchain came to the forefront, Veronica started learning more about it and saw the potential for an entire infrastructure for renewable energy. This led to her leaving her job and starting Bitlumens.
Veronica’s big why:
Veronica wants to provide ready access to electricity to rural Latin American villages via blockchain, solar panels, and charging stations, as the current infrastructure makes it expensive and difficult to access electrical power. Veronica shares that currently there are 1.2M people in Guatemala, 625k people in Honduras, and 250k-300k people in Panama that do not have access to electricity from traditional power grids. As a result, these countries have to resort to deforestation with severe environmental and economic impacts. By incorporating solar systems and technology, Veronica seeks to provide increased access to power while reducing deforestation within local farms.
Biggest challenge Veronica faces today:
Veronica faces a two-fold problem: 1) educating investors around the world on what is blockchain while educating the blockchain and cryptocurrency community on why she is going into farming and rural areas, and 2) getting access to the rural communities that will benefit the most from this technology.
Moving forward past that challenge:
Veronica has put together a great team and as an economist, she is a big fan of education and testing hypotheses with evidence. Veronica is also attending and speaking at conferences on blockchain around the world.
Good resource to learn about blockchain:
Start with posts from Vitalik Buterin, co-founder of Ethereum.
Practice or daily habit that defies conventional wisdom:
Veronica uses her phone as her office using multiple communication platforms such as Telegram and Skype for different members of her team as opposed to using one platform for all.
Veronica also de-emphasizes emails as a primary mode of communication, preferring one-on-one communication with apps or face-to-face meetings.
One small step or choice to move forward:
Actually, it is several steps for Veronica! Veronica will be deploying a smart contract on the Ethereum network, bringing in the digital wallet, and just recently launched an app on Google Play app store.
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Who is Veronica in five years:
Veronica will be working on multiple grids and on machine-to-machine trading structures to bring autonomy and clean energy in rural areas around the world.
“I think it’s important that we all find our passion and apply it and to not care about criticism and if people think that your solution is not good. If you’re passionate and you really like it and you have done your research and you have done your testing just keep moving forward … small steps are really important.”