Melanin Ventures OÜ

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The lack of energy access is a huge contributor to poverty in Africa. Basic activities such as cleaning, reading, schoolwork, and household business cannot be done in the dark. Kerosene lamps are widely used for lighting in rural areas of Asia and Africa where electrical distribution is either not available, or too costly for widespread use. Yet using kerosene for lighting is extremely inefficient, dangerous and expensive, and it has extensive health and environmental drawbacks.
According to the Acumen Fund, In Africa, kerosene causes some 400,000 deaths a year. Achieving reliable electricity supply for all would require mobilising a significant level of investment which can be done if a sustainable and incentive model are put in place to improve the financial and operational efficiency. A report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IREA) states that solar energy is projected to become the world’s largest source of energy by 2050, due to its decreasing cost and increasing convenience. The widespread use of renewable and solar technologies will rely on innovative forms of payment and distribution.
The current energy emitted by the Sun and radiated on Earth is estimated to be about 200,000 Terra Watts (TW) with a global energy demand to 20 TW. The process of energy trading is still based on legacy systems without any innovations or changes in efficiency. Additionally, the current electricity market is full of suppliers that cannot reach all the consumers, nor can the consumers get bids from all suppliers (Taming the Sun, Varun Sivaram 2017).
Indeed, the solar energy market in Africa is estimated to be potentially worth 2 Trillion Dollars. Despite being home to 17% of the world’s population, Africa currently accounts for just 4% of global power supply investment.
Furthermore, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), overall, 625 million people are without reliable power in Africa alone, despite that the continent has a very high potential for renewable energy such as solar. This is due to the fact that current solar-based solutions have a high capital expenditure (CAPEX), low transaction throughput, high transaction fees and an inability to efficiently and transparently measure performance.
Solar vendors are forced to sell their solution to consumers, mostly farmers, using debt based instruments which results in significant challenges in adoption of these solutions with many consumers being unable to afford access to reliable energy.


Melanin pitch youtube.jpg

To address this challenge, Melanin Solar a Branch of Melanin Ventures OÜ has developed a distributed energy solution called Melanin Smart Box(MSBX) that improves the current traditional centralised production, transmission and distribution system where consumers could only purchase electricity from a single provider to a decentralised system allowing multiple solar providers to produce, consume then sell excess electricity capacity like a commodity in an open market, where transactions are transparent, verifiable and secure.

Through this technology Melanin Solar will help create a solar based efficient Micro-grid ecosystem across Africa. It will support transparent energy supply chains transactions and play a role in energy metering, billing and confirmation of ownership of assets among other benefits.

The strategic use of blockchain technology, we will create a Circular Economy which will allow the Solar Vendors, who are the last mile service providers, to accept micro-payments recouping their investments quickly unlike traditional payment models that require expensive subscription billing.
Additionally, they can sell their supply to consumers through a peer-to-peer(p2p) energy trading market who can transact transparently and efficiently using this technology.

Through enabling and securing the network, the solutions main revenue model will be earning rewards from transactions within the eco-system. Data and infrastructure will be managed by using both existing technologies tools (AI, Machine Learning, big data) to collect data from the smart meters.

Introducing Melanin Solar:


  • Melanin Ventures OÜ is registered in Estonia with Melanin Solar registered as a branch trading in Kenya, East Africa.
  • Melanin Solar fully owns BitHub Africa one of Africa’s largest Blockchain communities.

Mission and Vision

  • Melanin Solar's mission is to deploy distributed systems that will enable sustainable solar access across Africa.
  • Melanin Solar's is doing this by building out Africa’s distributed infrastructure which includes a set of tools, protocols and applications.
  • Melanin Solar's medium term vision is to connect 500,000 households to our distributed peer-to-peer energy market by 2025.
  • Melanin Solar's main goal is to bring together Africa’s engineering talent to build our distributed energy solution.

Company Philosophy and Value.

Melanin Solar's core values are Integrity, Transparency and Sustainability In partnership, with Solar Vendors, the first pilot phase will consist of deploying our solution to existing Micro grid networks in rural areas.
Melanin Solar's software solution will create efficient markets and a Circular Economy where producers of the energy can sell excess units of power to community members using a mobile application.
Melanin Solar's solution will use the Cloud, Data-analytics, and Block chain for enhancing accountability and transparency.
This will allow both energy suppliers and consumers to interact within well predefined incorruptible rules based on smart contracts to ensure the automation of energy distribution within communities. Melanin Solar's solution is disrupting traditional model by removing the barrier of trust and bring down operational costs through the following ways:

  • Incentivizing the production of solar energy through a blockchain based reward model called Tokenization. This will automate the trading of excess energy within the micro-grid networks to consumers who need it resulting in efficient and profitable energy markets.
  • Connect micro-grid networks to build a distributed network that will allow consumers to buy electricity from their neighbours through peer-to-peer (p2p) transactions which have cheaper transaction costs. Solar energy companies and individuals can buy and sell their excess electricity to anyone in the micro-grid networks.

Melanin Solar's Kenyan subsidiary BitHub Africa, targets to train 2,000 engineers to deploy and maintain Melanin Solar. BitHub has already organized over 20 meetups, seminars and events across Africa since 2016.
BitHub Africa has already partnered with institutions such as UN Habitat and Strathmore University to training Blockchain and IoT engineers.

In February 2020 BitHub Africa and its wider community launched the Whive blockchain protocol on main-net to support the development of the Melanin Solar project.


Melanin Solar's hardware and software solution called Melanin Smart Box in short MSBX removes trust barriers and brings down transaction and operational costs by providing direct access to distributed solar energy markets called crowd-grids using a digital platform powered by blockchain, Internet-of-Things(IoT) & machine learning (AI). Melanin Solar's main goal is to incentivize decentralization of production, transmission and consumption of solar energy by allowing multiple solar providers whom we call prosumers to distribute excess electricity capacity like a commodity in an open p2p market where transactions are transparent, verifiable and secure.

Melanin Smart Box (MSBX)

This is a hardware device that contains 3 components: Blockchain Node, Controller & Relay Firmware. This device generates Whive Rewards and allows for p2p energy purchase transactions by consumers from producers. The MSBX is currently a prototype due to be piloted in Q4 2020 in rural Kenya.

See our MSBX Prototype 0 Demo


Melanin Solar has had the following roadmap to develop deploy its distributed energy solution Melanin Solar:

Major Milestones

  • Registration of BitHub Africa Q1 2016
  • Commencement of Community Building Activities including meetups across 7 African countries Q1 2016
  • Research on the Whive Protocol Sustainable Energy Usecase Commences Q2 2017
  • Development of Whive Protocol Commences Q3 2018
  • Energy and Crypto-currency Mining Research M.O.U Signed with Strathmore University Q2 2018
  • Launch of private test-net Whive Protocol Q2 2019
  • Launch of public test-net Whive Protocol Q4 2019
  • Launch of Whive Protocol by BitHub Africa Community Q1 2020
  • Commencement of BitHub Africa's Melanin Academy for Blockchain Engineers Q3 2020
  • Launch of Melanin Mining Pool (MMSP) for the Whive Protocol Q3 2020
  • Piloting our peer-to-peer blockchain based distributed energy solution; Melanin Solar proof of concept in rural Kenya Q4 2020


These companies are all exploring the distributed energy market leveraging Blockchain technologies. Melanin Solar's approach is unique as we have leveraged the community to build the Whive Protocol as a public good which allows us to get as many contributors as possible to develop a robust underlying Technical Infrastructure that can scale globally.



  • Melanin Solar has built and deployed the Whive blockchain technology that supports the implementation of the Melanin Solar distributed solution
  • Melanin Solar has a great technical team with experience in Blockchain Technology
  • Melanin Solar has built a strategic partnership with a solar energy partner to pilot our solution
  • Melanin Solar through its subsidiary BitHub Africa has built one of the largest Blockchain communities across Africa
  • Melanin Solar through its subsidiary BitHub Africa has trained Blockchain engineers who are contributing to the Melanin Solar distributed solution


  • Lack of adequate funding resources to develop, deploy and scale up the MSBX solution across target markets
  • Lack of direct access of hardware components needed to develop, test and deploy the MSBX solution


  • Presence of Solar Vendors servicing 700,000+ Solar households across Africa whom we can partner with to roll out the MSBX solution
  • Solar technology continues to become cheaper and more efficient resulting in increasing demand creating a market for our solution
  • Solar systems are replicable, scalable and mobile; hence easily deployed and adopted
  • A huge pool of talent from the youngest global population in Africa that can be trained to deploy the MSBX solution


  • Despite becoming cheaper the 'capital expenditure' required to deploy a solar home system is still expensive for the typical consumer which may result in lower uptake
  • Few engineers are currently available to deploy and maintain our solution Africa wide
  • Absence of clear policy around Blockchain technology from regulatory agencies
  • Competition from legacy energy players with more resources
  • Lack of access to manufacturing hubs for the MSBX solution within Africa
  • Security breaches and attacks to Melanin Solar's infrastructure


Melanin Solar is founded by John Wainaina Karanja and Chris Kakoba Mugisho who have been working together for the past 9 years on previous startup projects.

John the C.E.O is in charge of the articulating and ensuring the company’s vision is implemented through timely development of product and team building and resourcing.

Chris the C.O.O runs the day to day operations and he’s in charge of product roll-out and streamlining of company structures.

Melanin Solar's has a great development team, working on both open and closed source solutions within the company.

Behind this there is a team of experienced advisors and partners. Melanin Solar's is keen to identify strategic partners and investors going forward.


  • Blockchain Engineers: can learn about building and maintaining the MSBX platform through the http://Melanin.Academy on-boarding site
  • Solar Vendors: can enquire about the solution through the https://Melanin.Solar website
  • Technology Partners: can also reach out to Melanin Solar's through the https://Melanin.Solar website
  • Educational Partners: can partner with the academy and subsidiary https://BitHub.Africa
  • Investors: can engage Melanin Solar's through our email [email protected]
  • Protocol Contributors: interested in the community built underlying Blockchain technology can visit https://Whive.IO