- Invizion recently presented its novel blockchain-based plan for waste management to the United Nations.
- The company is raising money via its token to help partners build out its system.
In the end, someone will try to put virtually everything on a blockchain. Even garbage.
That’s exactly what Russ Lema and Daryl Taylor, co-founders of Invizion, are trying to do: Their Houston, Texas-based company tracks the movement of waste and garbage through blockchain technology. Why? They want to bring a greater sense of accountability to what we throw away.
“There is no ownership of trash,” Lema told Decrypt. “When you’re done using it, you throw it in a bag, you put it in a trash can and you set it on the street. You don’t care about it from there.”
Invizion, which recently presented its waste-tracking system at the United Nations Global Compact, at the 75th United Nations General Assembly, is emphatic that we see how much we discard. And with blockchain ledgers, they’re confident the data is virtually incorruptible.
The founder’s vision of Invizion
The two founders, while sharing a common vision, arrived at Invizion from different starting points. Taylor was introduced to blockchain technology during the Bitcoin gold rush of 2017. Yet unlike many who joined him in the speculative frenzy, he sensed that there was value to the technology beyond immediate profit. He stuck around after the bubble burst: “I learned from a mentor that if you do something just because of money, you’ll probably leave because of money. I had seen that year after year after year.”
The blockchain technology behind the mania intrigued Taylor. “That’s where I really started to do more research, and that’s sort of where through a mutual professional contact, I met my partner Russ Lema.”
Lema, raised by his grandparents, grew up around computers in a small town north of Lake Tahoe, California, where his graduating high school class numbered fifty kids. He fought seasonal California fires in his free time—long before they tinted skies an incandescent orange and destroyed billions in property damage as they did this past month.
“I started in blockchain back when you could still mine BTCs using a CPU,” said Lema. “That’s how far back I started in it.”
Invizion was the brainchild of their meeting—a company committed to transparency in its operation and tracking of data, with a focus on creating value beyond mere profit.
What’s under the hood
Under the hood, Invizion’s is both straightforward and—as blockchain technologies tend to be—very much a work in progress. Its objective is to track the life cycle of garbage from its disposal in bins outside our homes to its ultimate burial or conversion to green energy.
In the narrowest sense, Invizion is just a brain, a solo computational engine using blockchain. It hopes to bring a range of partners onto its system to transport trash, using retrofitted trucks that register weight change, and convert it into green energy. Invizion is promising to disburse 90% of its funds—“more than $100,000” to date raised between “private friends, family, business contacts, and exchange offerings” of its token, NVZN—to its partners.
Thus far, however, no funds have yet been distributed.
CETS Technologies, an industrial engineering company based in the United States, recently announced a partnership with Invizion. Its mobile stations will “will intake any waste material and turn it into energy in a series of processes that are completely environmentally safe, and leave no harmful byproducts such as gases, solids or airborne carcinogens—CETS mobile stations produce clean, low-cost, electrical generated energy,” according to a press release.
When waste is produced, NVZN tokens are used to give it a certificate of origin. From there, every movement of waste can be easily recorded on the blockchain with the help of IoT devices, up until it’s safely and properly disposed of.—via Invizion’s Medium post.
So why blockchain? Taylor and Lema say the technology’s value lies in its ability to automate a historically manual process: the registration of waste at various checkpoints. “You go to a dump, it’s a guy with a log sheet writing down your license plate, your driver's license. Who knows what’s going in, what’s coming out, what’s being recycled?” said Lema. Blockchain offers both a hands-off framework for tracking and makes the data virtually incorruptible—the ultimate mechanism of transparency in a sector that desperately needs it.
Lema said that unintentional errors, particularly in the accounting process for waste management, can multiply. “I’ve seen firsthand that those numbers can be skewed to blazes. Because human error happens. So you can automate that process, which is currently lacking, and then with the tracking you can increase efficiency.”
Adds Taylor: “Now that we have identified that the problem is the waste, the solution—that’s what we’re helping them build. And coming up in June 2021, we’re actually going to be at the [U.N.’s] Leadership Summit where we’re going to be presenting that proof-of-concept model.” The pair hopes that, with increased spotlight from the UN, they can begin marketing to municipalities across the United States and abroad.
With eyes forward, Lema is both optimistic and alarmed. The accountability problem is glaring, but “tracking will help that—it will say, ‘hey, your house produced 7.7 pounds of trash for the past week.’ The world average is 3.3. In Houston, the average Houstonian produces 6.6 pounds of trash a day. A day. One day.”