Live from EventHorizon Blockchain Energy

Checked in at Vienna late yesterday evening. Let’s throw some blogposts out there while Singularity hasn’t taken over yet… Find the agenda on what’s happening at the Hofburg palace.

Will the energy market become smart like a Philharmonic orchestra — educated players collaborating with each other via the conductor — or like a jazz-band, direct communication and corporation. (Michael Huebner, VP ISGAN)
Centralised systems are like big oaks, eventually a big storm will unroot them. A decentralised network of many nodes are like reed. They’ll bend down individually, but will come back up. (Christoph Frei, Secretary general World Energy council)

Tuesday — February 14th


Vitalik Buterin gave a presentation on the need and advantages of decentralised systems. This was similar to his recent blog, where he gives some deeper insight in the defining concepts. This was the most technical — albeit it wasn’t all that mathematical — of the day.

Technical posibilities

The debate / short presentations of Gavin Wood, Heiko Hees and Christoph Jentzsch was moderated by Edwald Hesse. Gavin gave a quick high-level introduction to blockchain tech, emphasising on the possibilities for — of course — the utilities sector. Polkadot, the interledgering / multichain technology, was also discussed when the topic of multiple blockchains was handled.

Christoph discussed the coupling of blockchain to IoT-devices, in essence linking the virtual and physical worlds together. More details about the rise of these virtual agents lead to the concept of an ‘economics of things’.

Heiko engaged the current issues of different blockchain technologies, scalability. The new Raiden platform that’s being developed for the Ethereum network allows for faster transactions. He ended his part with a short demo how Ethereum can be used between electricity producers and consumers as a pay-per-use model.

Energy consortiums

The analogy with the banking consortiums, who’ve been investing heavily in this technology, was made pretty quick. Two talks from members of the Rocky Mountain Institute — Amory Lovins & Hervé Touati — made it clear why the energy sector needs to change to coming years.

In order to keep the global warming phenomenon under control — or less devastative — a faster adoption of clean technologies is needed. This is no new information. But with the foresight of electrical cars the demand for electrical energy will be much higher. A single grid, run centralised with a few big producers, cannot handle both changes. The amount of energy that would need to be transported becomes to big for the current wires — bigger copper wires would be needed. Matching production en consumption on a more lcoal / distributed scale could solve and accelerate these.

A view From Policy makers and Business ‘folks’

The afternoon consisted of two panels where the possibilities, challenges and opportunities regarding blockchain technology in the energy sector where discussed.

A very interesting day!

Wednesday — February 15th

Use cases from different Start-ups

Yesterday the event mostly talked about the possibilities for the future. Today, the focus will be about how to get towards this future. In the morning there are pitches from 15 start-ups.

  • — Combination of blockchain and IoT to create smart locks, using smart contracts developed for the Ethereum public chain. (Berlin based)
  • NRGcoin — A mechanism to boost clean energy production and make the consumption of it cheaper. (Brussels based)
  • Power Ledger — Peer-to-peer energy trading system for local communities, using their own Eco-chain technology and smart energy meters. (Australia/New-Zealand based)
  • LO3 Energy — Developing decentralised micro-grids & p2p-markets to improve the environment and lower grid-reliance and blackoutsS. “They’re your electrons”. (New York based)
  • DAISEE — An open research network building data commons using blockchain technology. (Lyon based)
  • Ledger — Building hardware based security devices and oracles; a trusted middle-layer to feed ‘correct’ data to the blockchain (Paris / San Fransisco based)
  • OneUp — Startup thinking methodology for p2p energy market. (Antwerp / Amsterdam based)
  • M-PAYG — Pay-as-you-go decentralised solar solutions for developing countries. (Copenhagen based)
  • Electron — Using blockchain technology as an energy trading platform and as collaborative environment for energy balancing. (London based)
  • — Interbit is a custom middleware blockchain technology register B2B transactions in an auditable way. (Vancouver / London based)
  • — AdptEVE is an AI-aided energy app for optimizing solar homes, she uses blockchain for bookkeeping and monetizing. (Munich based)
  • Consensys — TransActive Grid is a joint venture with LO3 Energy utilising the Ethereum platform. (New York based)
  • SolarChange —Solarcoin is a bitcoin-inspired way to incentivise solar panel owners to produce solar energy via microgrids. (based in Andorra)
  • Bankymoon —Pre-paid meters as a solution for defaults on electricity payments, using the bitcoin blockchain network. (based in South-Africa)

A view from investors

The last to panel conversations was about investments opportunities and security. What should be the focus of the energy sector as a whole? Automating there systems with blockchain or focussing on the process to decentralise power nets? The bottom line is that a lot of interesting things were said, but no one had the answer. What a surprise ;-)

I would personally like tot thank al the interesting folks I’ve met during this two-day conference. Please contact us if we can help you improve your business using blockchain technology.

Follow us on twitter @wearetheledger (blockchain consultants)