Researching a use case for blockchain and crypto in community-backed weather forecasting

Researching a use case for blockchain and crypto in community-backed weather forecasting

Blockchain and crypto come to a local weather station near you – or at least that’s what one group of engineers based in Athens are trying to achieve. WeatherXM uses a combination of blockchain-based data validation with cryptographic incentives to get people around the world to capture their local weather data for more accurate forecasting.

Cointelegraph sat down with Manolis Nikiforakis, Founding CEO of WeatherXM and Chief Technology Officer Nikos Tsiligridis for an interview in Athens, Greece. They talked about how Web3 tools provide the best solution to the lack of quality and quantity of weather data available.

WeatherXM founders left to right: CEO Manolis NikiforakisStratos Theodoro, Chief Technology Officer, Nikos Tsiligaridis, and Head of Engineering Stratos Theodoro.

The company is deploying a new infrastructure for community-supported weather stations built with oracle devices based on blockchain. It creates smart contracts for information collected from local weather stations, from which decentralized weather data is produced. Smart contracts verify the location of the station and the irreversibility of the data collected from the location.

“Then we monetize these services and give the value back to the original people who created the data in the first place, the owners of the weather stations, which we call the weather miners,” says Nikiforakis.

The original network utility icons are WXM and Data Credits (DC).

“By using crypto incentives, we have transparent and fair mechanisms in place that will ensure that once value is produced and acquired by a third party, it will be rolled out back to society.”

According to the project’s founders, the project includes weather enthusiasts and those with a more technically savvy background.

Currently, more than 700 weather stations have been established around the world, from the United States and Europe to Vietnam. Nikiforakis sa Over the next few months, at least another 2,000 will be shipped to users to start collecting data.

Weather stations with Web3 hardware developed by WeatherXM in Athens, Greece.

The creators of WeatherXM said that decentralization is ingrained in the project. Allowing people to publish their own stations to a specific location creates a “by people, for people” approach to collecting weather data, rather than creating a major central organization.

“The more dispersed the decentralized weather community is, the better it is in terms of overall accuracy in collecting weather data and for providing data on locations with no known data.”

Developers motivate weather miners with rewards based on location and data quality. Those who live in rare locations and have proper weather station fixtures (i.e. off the asphalt rather than under a canopy) reap higher token rewards.

Since stations need an active internet connection, rural stations are much rarer.

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Roughly a third of global economic activity is highly affected by weather, such as international trade, shipping, and agro-industry. For ordinary people, knowing the weather can influence clothing choices. For companies, it has a significant impact on the ability to waste or save resources.

“There is an entire industry that deals with weather data from an insurance point of view,” Sai Nikiforakis adds, adding:

“This means that our infrastructure can enable smart contracts to secure the weather of the future in ways that traditional weather forecasts or today’s weather networks cannot.”

These types of blockchain-based solutions will be important in developing regions that rely heavily on weather-sensitive economic activity. For example, in Africa, 44% of the working population in 2020 had agriculture-related jobs.

The team said WeatherXM used the weather data it collected to serve extensive operations such as Athens International Airport and a major regional communications provider.