Energy Web 2021 blockchain forecast – Ledger Insights


This is an opinion piece by Walter Kok, CEO of Energy web.

Three major themes we can expect for 2021: 1) Sovereign identity for users and assets, 2) Business adoption of open source blockchain technology, and 3) Economy-wide climate action

As we collectively look back on a very unexpected year 2020, it seems entirely appropriate that blockchain has had the biggest impact in the industry where it started: in the financial markets. The financial world is changing rapidly and can no longer ignore digital cryptocurrencies. The evidence is simply overwhelming.

Many countries, from China and Singapore in Asia to Sweden and France in Europe, to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East, are exploring all centralized banking digital currency (CBDC) equivalents of their respective fiat currencies. Crypto exchanges like Kraken are taking the unprecedented step of obtain banking licenses. Decentralized exchanges overtake centralized incumbents (in August, for example, Uniswap overtook Coinbase Pro in volume of trade). And in mid-December Bitcoin reached a record level, for the first time reached a high of US $ 23,000, this time mainly driven by interest from large companies.

In the meantime, the “free data” model that has existed for years is coming to an end, and not just because of laws such as the EU GDPR and California CCPA. Consumers are battling losing control over their own data as tech giants find themselves the target of legal action. In April, a U.S. federal appeals court revived litigation that Facebook accused of violating users’ privacy rights by illegally tracking their activity on the Internet. In September, a coalition of Canadian provinces sued Google in a collective action project alleging that the internet giant was collecting data without consent. The same month, the Irish Data Protection Commission made a preliminary ruling to stop Facebook’s transatlantic data transfers.

As a result, stand-alone identities powered by decentralized user-controlled identifiers are on the increase in various industries, from the energy sector in which Energy Web operates health education.

In this context, blockchain, and decentralized digital technologies more generally, are gaining popularity as a powerful new tool to complement traditional corporate IT software. In particular, I see five emerging trends:

  1. Supplier lockout is complete. Businesses no longer want to be beholden to proprietary systems with specific software vendors and potentially high switching costs. This creates too many dependencies on a single vendor, creates accountability over customer data, and slows the pace of innovation.
  2. Open-source ‘is the new mantra. Recent analyzes have shown that open source code is present in practically all applications on the market, sometimes accounting for more than half of the code base, even in proprietary applications. Open public networks based on open source software have a future.
  3. Consortia are formed to meet customer needs. From supply chain software and banking to our own Energy Web ecosystem comprising many of the world’s most influential energy companies and grid operators, industry consortia deliver solutions together, not in a private setting but in an open public framework that involves regulators, customers, and suppliers.
  4. Blockchain has found its business niche: trust. The word ‘trust’ (and ‘no trust’) is used a lot in blockchain circles, but it’s really the killer app or golden use case that businesses are looking for. For example, in the energy sector, grid operators need to know and trust assets connected to their electricity grids, capable of providing services and participating in energy markets. The solution offered by decentralized blockchain-based infrastructures allows efficient and secure integration of these assets.
  5. Green is the new black. Corporate sustainability – from emission reduction targets to 100% renewable energy targets-are de rigueur for the world’s largest companies. This “green” mandate has spread into blockchain technology, as consensus mechanisms become increasingly environmentally friendly. It is no longer about generating profits; it is about sustainable growth for the company and its environment.

Business sustainability, especially investments in green energy and other forms of climate action, is particularly timely. Earlier this month, the Fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, historic international cooperation to fight the climate crisis. As we close the books on 2020, it remains on track to innovate because hottest year on record.

Still, I remain hopeful for the global transition to a low carbon economy … and the role of enterprise blockchain in enabling and accelerating important parts of this transition. The 2020 edition of Bloomberg New Energy Finance New energy perspectives just released, and it confirms what we believe at Energy Web over the past three years: massive investments are pouring into distributed, customer-centric, low-carbon technologies. BNEF’s deep decarbonization climate scenario provides for 78,000 to 130,000 billion dollars in new investments by 2050 in clean electricity, green hydrogen and associated technologies. Customer investment as a part of that total is expected to grow exponentially, which is why enterprise blockchain like the one we have built at Energy Web will be so important in 2021.

As customers add hundreds of millions and possibly billions of distributed energy assets to power grids (e.g. solar panels, batteries, smart thermostats, electric vehicles, heat pumps), grid operators will need to know what they are, where they are, what energy services they are able to provide and what electricity markets they participate in. And the connections must be secure. The global energy sector is in the midst of a large-scale transformation, moving from traditional centralized infrastructure to highly decentralized digital networks.

Regulatory changes this year — from FERC Order 2222 in the United States (opening up wholesale electricity markets to distributed assets) the Green New Deal and the circular economy action plan of the European Commission (calling for “battery passports”) – only further accelerate the transition. This is why I expect 2021 to see the energy sector become a defining example of enterprise blockchain adoption, as network operators around the world exploit its many benefits, including identity. sovereignty of users and assets and the decentralization of confidence in a distributed energy future.



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