The launch of Energi Mine’s new cryptocurrency Energi Token means that users are rewarded for being energy conscious.

Omar Rahim, CEO of Energi Mine, was an energy trader in a past life and has worked for big energy companies, oil companies and funds throughout Europe.

Now he is working to push innovation in the industry with the help of the company’s new cryptocurrency Energi Token – a type of digital cash – which launched on September 15th.

“It’s an energy token built on the blockchain,” Rahim told BusinessCloud.

“It’s an ecosystem designed to reward energy efficient behaviour so if you take low-carbon transport or buy an efficient appliance you’ll get energy tokens.

“These then have a financial value and can also be used to charge your EV (electric vehicle) or pay your energy bills.”

The Manchester-based company is on a mission to innovate within the industry, and also builds artificial intelligence technology that tracks energy markets and helps people achieve lower energy bills.

“It hit me there was an informal tier system in the market,” Rahim continued.

“You’ve got the big funds at the top with banks, then energy companies, then consumers. The only reason that consumers were paying too much was a lack of access to information.

“We’re looking to really bring the cost down by demystifying the whole technology.

“What we’re trying to do, and I try not to use the word disruptive, but we’re trying to change an industry that’s been monopolised for the last 40-50 years.

“We’re really democratising that, and it’s resonated with a lot of people.

“Ultimately our business has to be solving a real-world problem and that problem is a lack of transparency in the energy market.”

However although it’s aiming to do good with its tech, the biggest challenge the company has faced is a fear of the very technology it’s using.

“We’re trying to addressing the fear factor around what AI is and often stories in the mass media tend to be negative so our challenge is to explain how it can be used in a practical sense,” Rahim said.

“It often gets a bad press because people see it as killer robots, but AI is advancing at such a pace anyway.

“It’s taking away some of the more basic tasks that will allow humans to focus on more complicated things.

“The big effect will be that we’ll have more time to spend on leisure activities and intellectually stimulating tasks.”

A key result of this progress for Rahim and his team is on a more localised level, putting the North on the map.

“I really feel passionately about bringing tech to Manchester because previously lots of our partners were in Silicon Valley or London,” he said.

“Manchester’s getting more of a reputation for having tech businesses – we’re building a cutting-edge AI and blockchain business here and we want the tech community to engage with what we’re doing.”