The developer of the blockchain platform Energy Web Foundation has unveiled a series of developments that include a response to the biggest challenge of energy blockchains: energy consumption.
EWF said the architecture it is developing for energy blockchain companies would use a Proof of Authority (POA) consensus validation process instead of Proof of Work, which is the dominant protocol today and is the cause of bitcoin’s massive waste of electricity.
Proof of work systems, such as Bitcoin’s Hashcash feature, allow anyone who can solve complex, power-hungry computer algorithms to validate transactions. With POA, validation will fall to a set of trusted âindustry validatorsâ, usually developers.
This feature could significantly reduce power requirements.
Jesse Morris, secretary of the EWF, told GTM that the POA would allow blockchain companies in the energy sector to accommodate millions of transactions with electricity consumption close to that of a high-rise building. mid-sized offices, rather than a mid-sized country, as is the case with bitcoin. .
However, the benefit will only be available to companies that adopt EWF’s open source energy blockchain platform, rather than those that use existing platforms such as Ethereum.
âThe blockchain community knows that energy use is an issue,â Morris said, â[but] I don’t have a good answer for the bitcoin network.
EWF’s goal is to create a technology platform specifically tailored to the needs of developers of peer-to-peer energy exchange applications. It will be like an Apple Store for energy blockchain applications, Morris said.
The foundation, a non-profit organization co-founded by the Rocky Mountain Institute and energy blockchain developer Grid Singularity, plans to make its platform fully available within the next 12 to 16 months, Morris said.
A test version of the platform, called Tobalaba, is already available for developers, although it does not allow real money transactions.
For now, developers can use “monopoly money,” Morris said. The ability to perform appropriate transactions can be implemented prior to the official launch of the platform.
In addition to proof of authority, EWF recently unveiled a number of other changes to its platform. One of them was what the EWF called âsecret transactions,â which are actually a way to encrypt certain details of energy transactions to comply with personal data regulations.
âSecret transactions can encrypt smart contracts during validation processes and therefore keep confidential and sensitive information private, while providing the necessary transparency to authorized parties, such as regulators,â EWF explained in A press release.
Another novelty was to make the blockchain platform easier to use for non-blockchain programmers. Today, most Ethereum-based smart contract jobs require knowledge of a specialized programming language called Solidity.
But EWF’s platform has been incorporated into a web standard called WebAssembly that allows developers to work on it in browsers or using more common programming languages, such as C, C ++, or Rust.
The latest adjustment unveiled this week at Event Horizon, a world summit on energy blockchain technology in Berlin, was a so-called âthin clientâ implementation of the Energy Web platform.
This lean version of the technology would allow device makers to install the platform on their devices without having to host a full copy of the Energy Web blockchain. âIf we want a scalable blockchain, you can’t have everything on every node,â Morris observed.
Along with the platform’s developments, EWF launched two open source systems at Event Horizon. One, EW Origin, records provenance and automatically tracks ownership of electricity produced from renewable sources, including location, time, type of source and carbon emissions.
The other, called the Decentralized Autonomous Area Agent, is an early proof-of-concept simulation environment for blockchain-based transaction grid operations.
Finally, EWF announced the creation of a community called EW Connect, to connect energy companies with a pre-qualified network of blockchain software development providers. More than 30 companies are already working on Tobalaba’s test network, EWF said.
The platform developer’s website lists a wide range of customers including Centrica, Duke Energy, E.ON, Electron, Eneco, Engie, Exelon, Innogy, Pacific Gas and Electric, Sempra Energy, Shell, Slock.it , Statoil, Swytch and Tokyo. Electricity company.
The Sun Exchange, a South Africa-based marketplace for solar PV equipment, is one of the companies looking to adopt elements of the EWF platform as they are deployed.
“The Sun Exchange plans to participate in a pilot project of the decentralized Energy Web Origin application,” confirmed Abraham Cambridge, founder and CEO. “We are aiming for the implementation of the pilot project in two or three of our South African projects in the summer of 2018.”
Sun Exchange hopes the pilot will help it implement a virtual transactive network by tracking where the renewable energy production originates and owns.
“It will also provide a useful contribution to EWF before the Energy Web channel, on which Origin operates, goes live in a year,” Cambridge said.