Researchers Unveil New Blockchain Exchange for Energy


Researchers at a leading university in China have unveiled a new blockchain exchange, designed to allow unused power to be traded as a commodity.

According to a patent filed by researchers at Fudan University disclosed on Friday, the exchange system will allow both buyers and sellers on the network to act as nodes, while facilitating the direct trade in unused energy capacity on a peer-to-peer basis.

Leveraging the properties of the blockchain, the technology removes the need for a third party intermediary, making the trade more secure, faster and more efficient for both buyers and sellers.

Nodes will be able to broadcast particular requests across the decentralised network. Smart contracts will then match up counterparties to the transaction based on variables including price and volume demands, and then automatically fill the request, similar to the mechanisms powering any cryptocurrency or blockchain exchange.

The development is thought to be particularly significant for China, where often large energy imbalances exist between regions. This problem is exacerbated in the case of renewable energies, with household-generated solar power in particular often outstripping demand in some parts of the country.

According to the researchers, this is one of the specific use cases they had in mind when developing the platform, with the capability to help redress energy imbalances nationwide.

"Households then have no other choices but to let the unused solar power go to waste because they don't have a direct way of exchanging electricity."

The exchange will allow buyers and sellers to redress these imbalances through the decentralised market structure, which could allow greater efficiency in the domestic energy market.

The application explains that a cryptocurrency would be involved in settling transactions between parties to each trade. While there are no further details at this stage, the paper discussed using IBM’s Hyperledger framework and the ethereum blockchain.

“This idea can be achieved in either a public, private or a consortium blockchain. And in this case, the system has been developed on IBM's Hyperledger platform as well as the ethereum blockchain, to make electricity tradeable and shareable within a community.”

Goldman Sachs Considers New Crypto Custody Service

Goldman Sachs is this week reported to be considering their next move in the cryptocurrency space - a cryptocurrency custody service, which would safeguard their clients holdings in crypto.

The reports follow on from the investment bank’s decision to launch bitcoin futures back in May, and comes just a matter of weeks on from a similar move by crypto wallet and exchange giant Coinbase.

The Coinbase service opened up to institutions securing over $10 million in crypto assets in July, joining other firms like BitGo in reaching out to the institutional market for crypto security.

The service would offer investors in cryptocurrency secure storage for their assets, to prevent the risks of hacking and theft. While there is no formal confirmation of the plans as at the time of writing, anonymous sources have said the bank is considering launching the service in the near future.

Speaking to Bloomberg, representatives from Goldman were reluctant to confirm any firm plans, instead saying they were exploring “various digital products” ahead of deciding how to proceed.

However, according to sources close to the bank, the move is being seen as a potential precursor to offering more services in cryptocurrency, including ultimately the launch of a Goldman Sachs cryptocurrency exchange.

The move marks the latest step towards mainstream acceptance of cryptocurrency as an asset class. Previously shunned by the mainstream financial world, increase support from banks like Goldman Sachs is helping bolster the reputation of cryptocurrency amongst serious investors, ahead of what many analysts predict to be the ultimate inflows of institutional money.

For many cryptocurrency investors, such inflows would represent a key development in the life-cycle of the cryptocurrency sector, and could lead to the mass retail adoption of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and bitcoin cash.

The developments come as part of a U-turn from Goldman Sachs on cryptocurrency, having previously sounded a cautious note about the sector. Labelling cryptocurrencies as “a bubble” as recently as January of this year, the bank has now been increasing its focus on the sector, and on the services it can provide to cryptocurrency investors and clients.