Blockchain technology is the basic structure on which most cryptocurrencies operate and has become one of the most important technological improvements in the 21st century. In other words Blockchain is a safe and secure system that stores information, generally done in encrypted individual blocks. These blocks form together a chain of secure data in the form of blocks thus called the blockchain. Bitcoin’s blockchain was the first and guided the technology as a transactional system.
Research on blockchain shows
Bitcoin’s blockchain uses an electronic accounting ledger, with each block holding a limited amount of transactions made with the cryptocurrency. It is verified by a worldwide network of miners and is completely decentralized. The technology is not perfect and has some flaws. One issue is the electricity. The energy issue is that cryptocurrency mining uses a lot of electricity and this has put a spotlight on mainstream power generation which is mostly from unclean methods.
This has led to a new burst of Blockchain technology that provides applications and innovations to the way we use energy and how we go about providing useful data in the industry. According to a research made by Solarplaza, from the 90 companies involved in its analysis, over 50% of Blockchain projects that work within the energy industry are situated in Europe. The top three countries are the US, Netherlands and Germany.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) trading companies account for the most use cases. Around 50% of these projects are using the Ethereum Blockchain. Most of these projects were formed between 2016 and 2017 so they are fairly new. Of these projects 25% are planning an Initial Coin Offering or a token sale.
In order to unite energy companies and Blockchain solutions providers, Solarplaza organized its first Blockchain2Business conference in Amsterdam. A lot of experts and pioneers from energy production to tokenization of energy were brought together with those who want to know more about opportunities offered by this technology. The list of projects involved in Blockchain is too long to list.
Peer-to-peer features and the energy industry
A majority of these companies have peer-to-peer Blockchain systems that offer multiple industry related services. Some of these projects are offering decentralized energy trading services. Like LO3 Energy, they are the developers of the Brooklyn Microgrid. It enables the community to buy energy through the platform. Producers of solar energy can sell excess green energy to the consumers connected on the platform. This is just an example of a multitude of remarkable offerings by companies providing platforms for people, businesses and industries to trade energy. It is interesting to note energy giants BP, Shell and Statoil are part of a consortium developing an in-house Blockchain platform for energy commodities trade.
Blockchain technology is also reforming energy utilities functions. Some of the companies have pioneered Blockchain platforms. WEF award winners Electron are placing platforms for energy meters, from user registrations to meter data privacy. A number of other utility-based projects are offering customers platforms tracking energy consumption and providing cheaper energy prices. This includes the likes of IBM, who teamed up with TenneT to create a pilot platform using Blockchain technology to balance supply and demand of electricity to ensure a supply of it.
A number of cryptocurrencies have been created to smooth the energy trading platforms. A simple use case is Spectral energy’s Juliette coin, which is used by residents in an Amsterdam community to pay for electricity. ElectriCChain has created SolarCoin, which is a reward-based cryptocurrency for a network of belonging solar power generators. For every MWh of electricity produced, you get one SolarCoin, which is around 0.50$. A number of online energy platforms will also be present at the conference in Amsterdam.
The Future is green
Many of these platforms offer global networks to create preferable communication between energy producers. They also offer multiple applications that allow the industry to monitor energy production and consumption. There are platforms that offer supply chain solutions for energy goods like oil and gas. Some offer platforms for consumers to browse the cheapest available energy options in their country.
Some are aimed at the electric vehicle industry using Blockchain to help users manage and pay for charging stations and more specific needs like car sharing and rental. Others are providing people with cutting-edge opportunities thanks to the Blockchain technology. It seems that Blockchain is changing many industries and it will be interesting to see how it will change the energy industry.
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