Can Blockchain Improve Weather Forecasts? WeatherXM Believes It Can


Accurate weather forecasts are pivotal for sectors like agriculture and are crucial in preventing and mitigating damage from severe weather events or natural disasters. Achieving precise forecasts, however, is complex. The founders of WeatherXM have been dedicated to enhancing the accuracy of weather forecasts for the past 12 years.

In 2012, Manolis Nikiforakis, Stratos Theodorou, and Nikos Tsiligaridis launched an app that enabled community members to provide grassroots weather updates. They later transitioned to consultancy roles for enterprise customers, such as the Athens airport, in weather-sensitive industries. Currently, they are developing WeatherXM, a network of community-monitored weather stations that collect and share local weather data using blockchain technology.

Nikiforakis, WeatherXM’s CEO, mentioned that the startup has already deployed 5,000 of its own weather stations across more than 80 countries. These stations gather local ground weather information and are monitored by volunteers who are compensated with WeatherXM’s cryptocurrency token, $WXM. All collected data is freely available for personal use, with commercial enterprises having access to paid services.

“We strongly advocate for open source,” Nikiforakis stated. “We believe WeatherXM’s mission is pointless without collaboration from diverse groups and expertise. We are making all this data openly accessible. You can view what every weather station reports in real time.”

The startup recently secured a $7.7 million Series A funding round led by Faction, an early-stage blockchain-focused fund associated with Lightspeed, with contributions from VCs including Borderless Capital, Alumni Ventures, and Red Beard Ventures, as well as other investors. This funding will help WeatherXM expand its team and begin monetizing its commercial users.

Tim Khoury, a partner at Faction, expressed interest in investing due to the project’s attractive community-driven blockchain use case, which had both a supply of willing participants and demand for its outcomes. The potential TAM for more precise weather data was a significant factor as well.

“Many deep networks struggle with demand,” Khoury explained. “If there’s no demand for what’s produced, you cannot sustain the network over time.”

As an individual who has experienced basement flooding during inaccurately predicted storms, this project immediately caught my attention. Initially, the blockchain and crypto token strategy of WeatherXM puzzled me.

Nikiforakis explained that the crypto incentive structure is essential for this local weather network. Paying individuals to oversee weather stations would be too costly and complex to scale the network effectively. They learned from their first app that people are willing to provide weather data for free, so WeatherXM’s structure aims to incentivize users just a bit more.

“[Using crypto] also helps ensure that [weather stations] are placed in critical areas, especially in developing and rural nations,” Nikiforakis said. “The crypto rewards help coordinate efforts. This is a community project, and the crypto acts as a governance tool, allowing people to vote on how the project operates.”

While I’m not particularly optimistic about blockchain or crypto, utilizing this structure here makes sense. It aligns with the startup’s commitment to open-source data, which requires blockchain technology to be effective.

During a panel I moderated this week focused on how communities can prepare for climate emergencies and disasters, it was repeatedly mentioned that data like this needs to be open source to facilitate cooperation between public and private entities for better disaster planning and response.

WeatherXM’s open-source data, especially from stations in underserved or rural areas, could benefit communities facing increasing climate threats without large budgets or resources.

The mission is compelling, but time will tell if integrating weather data with the blockchain will garner enough demand to make a significant impact.

“We aim to create an ecosystem around our technology and ideas to advance the industry and improve meteorology overall,” Nikiforakis said. “We oppose the traditional approach where data is siloed and inaccessible without credentials or payment. We are going against the grain by making data accessible to everyone.”

Rebecca Szkutak
Rebecca Szkutak
Rebecca is a senior writer that covers venture capital trends and startups. She previously covered the same beat for Forbes and the Venture Capital Journal.

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